Arizona Insurance for the Motorcylist

Riding a motorcycle is a fun way to get around, and Arizona’s weather means that when others up north are shivering and huddling under blankets, you can take to the highway. But before you “get your motor running,” there are factors involved in insurance requirements that you need to consider first.

Insurance Itself

First and foremost (and there’s no getting around this), if you are planning to drive on public roads and your vehicle has a motor, you need insurance. Cars, tractors, motorcycles, mopeds, even golf carts are all considered vehicles when it comes to driving on the road (and no, you can’t drive on the sidewalk to get around this restriction).

Arizona requires the same amount of coverage for the motorcycle driver as it does from the automobile driver when it comes to insurance. Namely, the minimum amounts of liability coverage are:

  • $15,000 bodily injury coverage for one person in one accident
  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident

Remember that liability coverage only covers the other people injured in an accident, and not yourself. Comprehensive and collision coverage, while not required, provide quite a bit of peace of mind. That way, you don’t have to worry if that other guy doesn’t have the right amount of insurance.

Insurance coverage is a pretty big deal. If the Motor Vehicle Division inquires about your coverage and you can’t prove you have it, not only could they suspend your motorcycle registration, they could suspend your driver’s license!  Suddenly you go from “born to be wild” to “born to take the bus everywhere,” and are facing a long line to get your registration in order, along with a $50 reinstatement fee.

Is it Actually a Motorcycle?

When looking for insurance, it’s also important to know if you are actually driving a motorcycle. According to Arizona law, not all vehicles on less than four wheels are the same, and this will affect not just your registration fees, but your insurance coverage as well.

The first, and smallest type we’re looking at is the moped, which has bicycle-like pedals and a small engine with less than 50 cc displacement. Mopeds have a maximum speed of 25 miles-per-hour, and 1.5 brake horsepower or less.

Next up, then, is the motor-driven cycle, a motorized vehicle with up to three wheels designed to go faster than 20 mph, but with engine displacement from 49 to 80 cc.  Basically this is the class where you’re going to find your motor scooters.

Anything larger than that, and you’ve got an actual motorcycle, which is any motorized vehicle with up to three wheels, and isn’t a tractor (though using a Harley as a tractor does have a certain appeal, doesn’t it?).

If you’re having difficulty determining what class your bike is, the Motor Vehicle Division of Arizona can provide more information.

Helmet Laws

The amount and type of insurance coverage you have does not have any bearing on the helmet laws of Arizona. Those laws, by the way, require a helmet for any rider or passenger under the age of eighteen. Those over the age of 18 do not have to wear a helmet, but any driver must wear goggles or some form of protection that covers the eyes. Because, let’s face it, you don’t want to take a bug to the eye at 50 mph. Ouch, and ick.

By the way, that same section of law that requires goggles also requires a rear-view mirror, a seat, footrests and handrails for a passenger, and that the driver’s hands be lower than shoulder height as he drives. So your toddler may look cute hanging from the steering bar, but that doesn’t mean he’s safe to drive.

Be safe, and happy riding!

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