Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

By: Mary Steeb, CISR, CPIW

Mary loves to explain insurance in terms that her customers can understand so that they can make informed decisions about their coverage.

massachusetts motorcycle insuranceMassachusetts is home to more than 160,000 registered motorcycles, according to 2019 data from the Federal Highway Administration. In 2020, amidst the isolation caused by the pandemic, motorcycle sales actually climbed. And the average age of riders is creeping upward, too–believe it or not–from age 45 in 2012, to age 50 in 2018. What do all these numbers mean?

From our perspective, they mean that more folks are newly looking for Massachusetts motorcycle insurance. So we’ve gathered the following info to help with the process.

How much does motorcycle insurance cost?

It’s very difficult to give a price–or even a price range–without having details for a specific rider. There are many factors (known as “rating factors”) that go into determining motorcycle insurance costs. These factors are specific to you. For example:

  • How long you’ve been riding (also whether you have a motorcyclist permit versus a license)
  • Any history of accidents or traffic violations (including incidents that occurred while driving your car)
  • Where you live (including whether the bike is garaged or parked outside, on the street, etc.)
  • The type of bike you own (Bikes with fancy/custom features that are expensive to repair will add to insurance costs)

While costs are highly variable, we can say that Massachusetts motorcycle insurance is typically less expensive than the average auto insurance policy. We should also note that contrary to what you might read elsewhere, MA motorcycle insurance applications do not ask about where you ride or how often.

What are the Massachusetts motorcycle insurance requirements?

The state of Massachusetts requires the following motorcycle insurance minimums:

  • Bodily injury to others: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Damage to someone else’s property: $5,000 for property damage
  • Bodily injury caused by an uninsured motorist: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident

However, given that more than 80% of motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death, we often recommend that riders go beyond these minimum coverage requirements.

NOTE: Massachusetts motorcycle insurance policies exclude Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This is a protection that all insured MA auto drivers do carry, and it provides coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, even funeral costs for you (the driver and your passengers), regardless of fault. Because motorcycle policies exclude PIP, we recommend adding the optional “Medical Payments” coverage to your policy. More on this below.

Any other recommended types of insurance for motorcyclists?

Yes! Beyond the state’s minimum required coverages and limits, we typically recommend higher limits, “Comprehensive Coverage” (for theft, vandalism, a tree that falls on your bike, and other non-collision types of damage), plus “Medical Payments” coverage.

As noted above, Medical Payments coverage is a limited substitute for Personal Injury Protection. It can step in to address medical bills for you or a passenger if an accident ever occurred. (And in Massachusetts, according to 2020 data, only 20% of all motorcycles accidents (342) involved property damage only. The other 1,264 incidents did involve some type of significant injury.)

Finally, Gap Coverage is often a good idea for motorcycle owners who finance the purchase of their bikes with a loan. If your bike is ever totaled, gap coverage steps in to address the “gap” between what you owe the lender and what your bike is actually worth at the time of the accident. These figures can be very far apart, and many owners aren’t financially prepared to make up the difference. NOTE: Bike dealers sometimes offer to sell you gap coverage along with your bike, but their rates are MUCH higher than what you’ll get by bundling it into your overall insurance plan.

How can I qualify for discounts on motorcycle insurance in MA?

In Massachusetts, all riders under age 18 (junior operators) are required to complete a basic rider course in order to obtain a Class M motorcycle license. If you are over 18, and you opt to attend a Mass Rider Education Program voluntarily, you may qualify for an insurance discount. Some carriers will offer 5% – 10% deductions off your premium.

Where can I find motorcycle safety courses in MA?

The MA RMV recognizes 13 motorcycle training schools, with 26 different locations throughout the state. These schools are part of the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP). You can find more information on their locations, websites, contact info and course offerings at the RMV page for Mass Rider Education.

What if I still have questions about MA motorcycle insurance?

Give us a call (508.339.2951) to see what makes for you. We may be able to help you secure a better rate. We can also advise you on MA motorcycle insurance discounts—including rider training program discounts offered by certain carriers.

What do I need to know about motorcycle safety?

Statistics from the National Safety Council show that motorcycles are involved in a disproportionate number of collisions—accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities and 88,000 injuries each year. But stats also show that when motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it’s usually because a car/truck driver violates the motorcycle’s right of way…

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation provides an incredible library of resources and tip sheets for current riders, as well as anyone who’s considering a motorcycle purchase. Information for car and truck drivers is also available on the MSF site; this may be valuable content to review with any teen drivers in your household. (Most new drivers aren’t programmed to look for motorcycles when changing lanes and making turns.) Happy reading! Ride and drive safely, Massachusetts!

6 Factors that Affect Builders Insurance

You have more control over your insurance rates than you may realize. Here’s a closer look at what goes into builders’ insurance premiums and successful programs overall.

Get Informed