Alabama, known as the “Heart of Dixie,” offers motorcycle enthusiasts a rich tapestry of landscapes, from the Appalachian foothills to the white-sand beaches of the Gulf Coast.
As a motorcycle owner residing in this culturally diverse state, it’s vital to understand the insurance requirements and options before cruising down Alabama’s scenic byways.
These requirements help protect riders and other parties involved in accidents or collisions, ensuring financial responsibility for damages and injuries.
Alabama Motorcycle Insurance (Minimum Requirements)
To satisfy Alabama’s motorcycle insurance requirements, your policy must include the following coverage limits:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability
This is commonly referred to as a 25/50/25 plan.
However, many people opt to buy additional protection for peace of mind – as the minimum requirements are sometimes not sufficient.
Note: Minimum coverage requirements may be subject to future change. Insurance companies typically inform motorcyclists if there is a law change that requires an increased amount of coverage.
Motorcycles & Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined in Alabama
Alabama requires motorcycles & motor-driven cycles meet specific criteria to be legally operated.
In Alabama, the legal definition of a “motorcycle” can be found in Alabama Code Section 32-1-1.1, which defines a motorcycle as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
Similarly, a “motor-driven cycle” is defined in Alabama Code Section 32-1-1.1 as a motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, with an engine displacement of no more than 149 cubic centimeters (cc).
Non-car vehicles requiring insurance in Alabama
- Motorcycles: All motorcycles, including those with three wheels or more, must be insured in Alabama.
- Motor-driven cycles: Motor-driven cycles, which are defined as motor vehicles with a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels with an engine displacement of no more than 149cc, must also be insured in Alabama.
- Scooters and mopeds: Scooters and mopeds with engines larger than 50cc are considered motorcycles in Alabama and are subject to the same insurance requirements.
- ATVs and UTVs: Off-road vehicles such as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and UTVs (utility task vehicles) must also be insured if they are used on public lands in Alabama.
- Snowmobiles: Snowmobiles used on public lands in Alabama are also required to have liability insurance coverage.
Additional Motorcycle Coverage in Alabama
While Alabama law mandates minimum insurance coverage, riders should consider additional coverage for enhanced protection, as the standard coverage is often limited.
Additional coverage to consider:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage protects you in case of an accident with a driver who has insufficient or no insurance.
- Collision Coverage: This coverage helps pay for repairs or replacement of your motorcycle if it’s damaged in an accident, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage provides protection against theft, vandalism, fire, and weather-related damages to your motorcycle.
- Medical Payments Coverage: This coverage assists with medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of fault, after an accident.
- Accessory Coverage: Accessory coverage helps protect any added accessories or customizations on your motorcycle, such as saddlebags, custom paint, or aftermarket parts.
Common Motorcycle Laws in Alabama
In addition to insurance requirements, Alabama has specific laws and regulations for motorcycle riders:
- Lane Splitting: Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is illegal in Alabama. Motorcyclists must follow the same traffic rules as other vehicles on the road.
- Helmets: Helmets are required for all riders and passengers, regardless of age. Alabama is one of 19 states with a universal helmet law – meaning nobody is exempt.
- Eye Protection: All riders are required to wear eye protection, such as goggles or a face shield, unless their motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen.
- Passenger Requirements: Passengers must be seated on a permanent and regular seat designed for two persons or on a separate seat securely fastened to the motorcycle behind the rider. Passengers must also have footrests and a handhold if they are not seated in a sidecar.
- Mirrors & Lighting: Motorcycles must have a rear-view mirror on the left side and be equipped with a headlight, taillight, brake light, and turn signals. Reflectors are also required on both sides of the motorcycle.
- Exhaust System: All motorcycles must have an exhaust system in good working order that meets Alabama’s noise regulations. Modifications that increase noise levels above legal limits are prohibited.
- Motorcycle Endorsement: Riders must obtain a Class M motorcycle license or endorsement to legally operate a motorcycle in Alabama. This requires passing a written test, a skills test, or completing an approved motorcycle safety course.
Proof of Insurance & Penalties
Always carry your proof of insurance card when operating your motorcycle.
Proof of insurance can be in the form of an insurance card or other documentation that shows the minimum liability insurance coverage required by law.
This card contains your policy and insurance company information, which you must present in the following situations:
- A police officer requests proof of insurance during a traffic stop.
- You’re involved in an accident causing damages.
Failure to provide proof of insurance can result in fines & license suspension.
Penalties for riding without insurance in Alabama can be severe.
Motorcyclists caught riding without the required insurance coverage may face fines, suspension of their driver’s license, and impoundment of their motorcycle.
Additionally, if an uninsured motorcyclist is involved in an accident, they may be held personally liable for any damages or injuries caused.
FAQs: Motorcycle Insurance in Alabama
Below are some commonly asked questions about motorcycle insurance in Alabama that you may want to browse prior to purchasing a plan.
What are the penalties for riding without motorcycle insurance in Alabama?
Riding without the legally-mandated insurance minimums can result in fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even impoundment of your motorcycle.
Additionally, if you’re involved in an accident without insurance, you could be subject to substantial legal and financial ramifications.
Do I need to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in Alabama?
Alabama law requires all riders and passengers, regardless of age, to wear a helmet for their safety.
Are there any unique considerations for insuring a motorcycle in Alabama?
Alabama’s humid climate and the increased likelihood of encountering wildlife on the road may make comprehensive and collision coverage more appealing.
These forms of coverage can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing your motorcycle due to weather-related damage or a collision with an animal.
Do I need to register my motorcycle in Alabama?
Yes, all motorcycles must be registered with the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR).
You’ll need to provide proof of insurance during the registration process.
What factors affect motorcycle insurance rates in Alabama?
Several factors can influence your insurance premiums, such as your age, driving history, the type of motorcycle you own, and where you live in Alabama.
In general, if you live in a larger city with more traffic – there’s an increased risk of accidents, so insurance usually costs more.
Can I still ride my motorcycle if I don’t have the required insurance in AL?
No, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle without the proper insurance coverage in Alabama.
Riding without insurance can lead to fines, license suspension, and impoundment of your motorcycle.
Is lane splitting legal in Alabama?
Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is illegal in Alabama.
Motorcyclists must follow the same traffic rules as other vehicles on the road.
Getting insurance for your motorcycle in Alabama
Finding a motorcycle insurer in Alabama may be somewhat challenging, but there are a variety of tools to help you get the coverage you need at a low rate.
You can use the motorcycle insurance quote tool on this website by entering your Zip Code and clicking “Start!” to generate a list of providers offering the best deals in Alabama.
These insurers are familiar with the state’s requirements and can help you decide what coverage plan suits your specific needs.