Every state in the U.S. requires motorists to carry a certain level of insurance. If you do not meet these insurance requirements, you risk getting a ticket. You also risk not having proper coverage to pay for expensive injuries and damage from accidents.
Read on to learn the Washington motorcycle insurance requirements you must meet.
Are Motorcyclists Exempt from the Mandatory Auto Insurance Law?
Until 2019, Washington motorcyclists did not have to comply with the Washington mandatory auto insurance law. However, as of July 28, 2019, motorcyclists must carry liability coverage and show proof that they have insurance. Failure to meet these guidelines can result in a traffic violation.
Motorcycle Liability Insurance Limits
Washington law requires motorcyclists to carry the same amount of liability insurance as drivers of motor vehicles. To comply with Washington motorcycle insurance requirements, you must meet one of the following conditions:
- Carry liability insurance of at least $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,0000 bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 property damage per accident
- Apply for a certificate of deposit to cover your liability insurance through the Department of Licensing
- Self-insure if you have at least 26 vehicles
- Have a liability bond of at least $60,000 filed by an authorized surety bond company
If you’re confused about any of these requirements, you can contact the Washington Department of Licensing for clarity.
Giving Proof of Insurance
When you start or renew an insurance policy for your motorcycle, your insurer will send you a card with information about your coverage. This card is your proof of insurance; you may need to show it in a few instances.
For example, if an officer ever pulls you over, you must show proof of insurance to demonstrate that you are compliant with the mandatory auto insurance law. Additionally, if you are ever involved in an accident, you can use it to show the other driver your insurance information.
Exceptions to the Mandatory Auto Insurance Law
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner gives a few exceptions to the mandatory auto insurance law. This policy does not apply to any of the following registered vehicles:
- State or publicly-owned vehicles
- Certain horseless carriage vehicles at least 40 years old
- Motor scooters
- Contract carriers through the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
However, the Insurance Commission notes that even though auto insurance is not legally required for these vehicles, drivers still may be financially liable for damages to other motorists due to their own negligence.
Optional Insurance Coverage to Consider
The Washington government only requires drivers to hold liability insurance, which can cover injuries and physical damages to other drivers in accidents in which they are at fault. However, purchasing different types of insurance coverage can provide further protection, preventing you from needing to pay medical bills and repair costs out of pocket in a range of circumstances.
Here are a few other types of insurance coverage you may want to consider:
- Collision coverage: Covers physical damage to your motorcycle after a collision with another vehicle or an object
- Comprehensive coverage: Covers damage to your motorcycle not caused by a collision, such as due to vandalism, theft, flooding, or fire
- Medical payments coverage: Covers medical costs for you and your passengers after an at-fault accident
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage: Covers medical bills from an accident that is the fault of another driver who does not have adequate liability insurance
Understanding the Washington motorcycle insurance requirements can keep you legally compliant and protected on your bike. If you ever become a motorcycle accident victim, contact our Law Tigers team at 1-888-863-7216 for assistance.