Owning a motorcycle is a major financial commitment. Buying to motorcycle is just the start of the financial obligations you have with a motorcycle. You will also need to pay for separate motorcycle insurance even if you already have auto insurance.

Motorcycle Insurance is Required in Maryland

Under Maryland law all motorcycles must be properly registered and covered with the mandatory minimums for motorcycle liability insurance. Under the law, any 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle powered by an an engine larger than 70 ccs is classified as a “motorcycle.”

Maryland law makes a clear distinction between motorcycles and mopeds or scooters.  Aside from the engine size specifications, the law describes motorcycles as vehicles designed to travel at “speeds exceeding 35 miles per hour” and is “of a type required to comply with all motor vehicle safety standards applicable to motorcycles under federal law.” Md. Transp. Art. § 11-136(a)

Minimum Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Maryland

In Maryland, the mandatory minimum levels of liability insurance for motorcycles is:

  • $30,000 bodily injury for an individual 
  • $60,000 bodily injury for 2 or more people
  • $15,000 for property damage

All major auto insurance companies (e.g., GEICO, State Farm, Nationwide) offer motorcycle insurance coverage. The underwriter terms for motorcycle insurance are very similar to those for auto insurance. Motorcycle policies are usually a lot cheaper than auto policies, mainly because when motorcycles get in accidents, they tend to cause less damage to the other vehicles.

PIP is NOT Required for Motorcycles

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a special component of car insurance coverage that applies on a no-fault basis. It gives insured driver first-party coverage for lost wages and medical expenses resulting from an accident regardless of who was at fault. Maryland law requires auto insurance policies to offer $2,500 of PIP coverage to all insureds, although it can be waived or declined.

Declining the additional PIP coverage for an auto policy in Maryland requires a special waiver form. As a result, most auto policies in Maryland are issued with the minimum PIP included. The PIP rules in Maryland are different for motorcycle insurance. PIP coverage is not required for motorcycle policies. As a result, it is almost never offered or included in most motorcycle insurance policies in Maryland.

Requesting PIP coverage on your motorcycle is strongly recommended. PIP gives you some level of protection from injuries in a motorcycle accident even when the accident is your own fault. Moreover, adding PIP coverage cost very little and that small investment can give you major returns in the event of an accident.

Motorcycle owners in Maryland tend to be underinsured because they are too often focused on reducing upfront costs.  But getting additional coverage, such as PIP, can end up saving significant money down the road.

How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost?

The actual rates for motorcycle liability coverage are somewhat higher than auto insurance. However, the actual overall cost to insure a motorcycle is much lower than the overall cost to insure a car. In fact, insurance for a motorcycle will probably cost 1/3 of the overall annual cost of your auto insurance.

Cost of insurance by vehicle type

The reason the underwriting rates for motorcycle coverage are higher is because the accident and injury rates for motorcycles are way higher than for cars and trucks. The overall cost will still be lower compared to car insurance because most people don’t use their motorcycle as a primary transportation vehicle. Moreover, when they do get in accidents the damage to 3rd party vehicles is usually much less than with a full-size car or truck.  Many motorcycle insurance policies also have single rider limitations which help reduce exposure for the insurance company and keep costs down.

Rate increases for motorcycle insurance policies are generally based on the same factors as car insurance – driving history, location, etc. However, with motorcycle insurance the type of bike can have a very noticeable impact on insurance rates. The slower, safer types of motorcycles are cheaper to insure compared to the racing bikes.