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Insurance Requirements For Motorcycles in California

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Insurance Requirements For Motorcycles in California

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney. State law mandates that operators of motorcycles on public roadways carry basic liability coverage. Below is an overview of some of the insurance requirements for motorcycles in California.

Rules of the Road

In order to comply with the law in California, your policy of motorcycle insurance should have liability coverage. This insurance coverage will pay for damage to property as well as bodily injury that another person may suffer in a crash that occurred because of you. The minimum limits for liability coverage required by the state include:

  • $15,000 for a single person’s death or injury
  • $30,000 for combined death or injury in case more than one persons are injured in an accident
  • $5,000 for damages caused to another’s property

Purchasing a Motorcycle Insurance Policy

It is a judicious idea to shop around and compare different offers when looking for a motorcycle insurance policy. All insurers are not going to offer identical rates and benefits.

While you are evaluating what kind of policy you may be able to afford and what is most appropriate for your needs, you may also consider buying a policy for higher than the minimum amount. To make the best decision, spend time to research various types of insurance coverage, such as comprehensive and collision, while you receive quotes for motorcycle insurance.

It is crucial to note that liability coverage for your motorcycle will not include any coverage for your own injury or damage to property. Upon your purchase of your insurance policy, the provider will hand over a document or an identification card. You should retain this insurance proof securely with you each time you ride your motorcycle. You will be required to present this proof if you get involved in a traffic accident or when you are pulled over.

Helmet Requirement and your Insurance Coverage

While a few states allow motorcycle riders to get away with not wearing a helmet, provided they have a specific amount of motorcycle insurance coverage, California does not allow this much to the dismay of Jay Leno. The state laws require every motorcycle rider as well as the passengers to wear a helmet of approved safety standards at all times. This requirements remains in force irrespective of whether you are riding a motorcycle, a motorized scooter, a motorized bicycle, or a motor-driven cycle.

Electronic Reporting

When you have purchase motorcycle insurance coverage, the insurer will provide an electronic report which dictates the relevant information on your liability policy to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California. This procedure works automatically. Therefore, in case you allow your coverage to lapse, your registration will be automatically suspended by the state because of your failure to bear financial responsibility.

Financial Responsibility: Acceptable Proof

Once you have signed up for a liability policy, the insurance agent will report it to the DMV electronically. But in some situations, the DMV in California may also require you to:

  • Provide an identification card or a document from your insurance provider that confirms that you have sufficient coverage. All such documentation that you may submit will not be returned by this state agency.
  • Provide an authorization letter to the DMV in case you are self-insured or if you have made a deposit in cash.
  • Provide a Proof of Insurance (SR22 Certificate) to the DMV for either an owner’s policy or broad coverage. If it has already been determined by the state that you are required to provide an SR22 Certificate, just providing a document of an operator’s policy will not suffice.

Motorcycle Insurance Violation: Penalties

In case of a violation of the insurance laws, your motorcycle registration could come under suspension for these reasons:

  1. You fail to replace the policy of liability insurance within 45 days of its cancelation.
  2. Your insurance agency fails to provide proof of insurance electronically within a period of 30 days after the issuance of a registration card from the state on a motorcycle that was never before registered in the state of California.
  3. You provide a false proof of insurance.

It is also necessary to note that in the event of getting pulled over by a law enforcement officer, if you fail to provide proof of financial responsibility for your motorcycle, you could get a traffic ticket. Violation of the California insurance laws could also result in your motorcycle getting impounded and you getting fined which is not something you want to experience.

For more information about insurance coverage, call and speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Sacramento today.

Related Articles by Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney, Ed Smith;

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Sacramento. If you or your loved one was injured as a result of an accident caused by another person’s negligence, I can help. Please reach out to me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free and friendly advice. I can also be reached online at

I have been servicing the Sacramento and Northern California community since 1982, helping families with personal injury and wrongful death cases. I encourage you to read reviews about my practice on: Avvo, Yelp and Google.

As a member of the Million Dollar Forum, I have been nationally recognized for my work in securing million-dollar awards and settlements for my clients.

You can find some of my past Settlements and Verdicts posted in summary to my website.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Schuco Sport by Paulus. CC BY-SA 3.0

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