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. (Our lawyers do not focus on this but GEICO is said to offer the lowest rates in Maryland.) 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 drivers 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 costs 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 that 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.

More Things to Keep in Mind

Here are some key aspects of motorcycle insurance:

1. Liability Coverage: Liability insurance is required in Maryland and covers the costs associated with bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to others in an accident. It does not cover your own injuries or bike damage. There may not be uninsured motorist coverage in your policy. So you need to think about what happens if you get in an accident that is not your fault with a driver with little or no car insurance.

2. Collision Coverage: Collision coverage pays for repairs to your motorcycle in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. If your bike is damaged beyond repair, this coverage can help replace it.

3. Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive insurance covers non-collision-related damage to your motorcycle, such as theft, vandalism, natural disasters, or hitting an animal. It is often required if you have a loan or lease on your motorcycle. It is optional.

4. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage protects you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage to pay for your injuries and damages. This is a big deal. Our lawyers have had wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases where the coverage was only $30,000.

5. Medical Payments (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP): These coverages pay for your medical expenses and sometimes lost wages if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, regardless of fault. You don’t have PIP as “automatically” as you do with car insurance in Maryland.

6. Accessories and Custom Parts Coverage: You can purchase additional coverage for custom parts, accessories, and modifications to your motorcycle, ensuring they are protected in case of damage or theft.

7. Guest Passenger Liability: This coverage extends liability protection to passengers on your motorcycle.

8. Roadside Assistance: Many insurance providers offer optional roadside assistance coverage, which can help with towing, battery jumps, flat tire repairs, and other emergency services.

9. Total Loss Replacement: If your motorcycle is declared a total loss, this coverage can help replace it with a brand-new equivalent model, rather than receiving its depreciated value. Does this cost more? Of course it does.

10. Discounts: Insurance companies often offer discounts to policyholders who meet certain criteria, such as completing motorcycle safety courses, having a clean driving record, or bundling motorcycle insurance with other policies like auto or home insurance.