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How to stay legal while riding your motorcycle on Washington roads

Added July 17, 2019
motorcycle

Download the Washington motorcycle insurance law changes infographic

New law requires minimum liability coverage levels

Olympia, Wash. – If you’re planning on taking your motorcycle out on Washington roadways, you’ll want to talk to your insurance agent soon. That’s because on July 28, 2019, you must have liability coverage to legally ride state roads—and be able to prove you have the required insurance.

Why the law was created

Having the proper insurance coverage is as important as having the right riding gear to help protect yourself and those around you from the expense of accidents. Prior to the law, Washington was one of only a few states that didn’t have these requirements.

Lawmakers took up the issue with the goal of helping shield riders and accident victims from medical and property damage costs. As a result, they passed HB1014 earlier this year and it was signed into law by the governor.

What coverages are required

While the law doesn't require personal injury coverage, it does require the following coverage and minimums:

  • $50,000 bodily injury or death of any two or more people in any one accident
  • $25,000 bodily injury or death of another person in any one accident
  • $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident

How to prove you’re insured

Under the new law, you’ll need to make sure you have proof of insurance to show you’re in compliance. Your insurance company will send you a proof-of-insurance card when you start or renew your motorcycle policy. The card shows that either you or your motorcycle are covered by liability insurance. That way, if you're stopped by law enforcement, you can show you have the coverage that meets Washington’s mandatory minimum requirements. If you don't have proof, you can be ticketed.

How to ride smart

While the new law means an extra expense for motorcyclists, coverage doesn’t have to cost a lot. “Minimum coverage can be quite affordable for experienced riders with clean records,” says Brent Newport, Washington State Manager for Dairyland® insurance. “Even inexperienced operators and riders with accidents or violations can usually find cost-effective coverage.” 

Newport also points out that while HB1014 sets minimum coverage levels, those amounts might not cover all the costs of an accident you’re involved in. A serious injury could quickly exceed your coverage limits. Add to that, if you’re at fault and damages exceed your policy limits, you could end up paying for all additional costs—which could bankrupt you. Even if you’re not at-fault, but the at-fault motorist is uninsured, your minimum coverages may not be enough.

What needs to be insured

The law applies to traditional motorcycles, as well as bikes like trikes and autocycles. No insurance is required for mopeds or scooters that aren’t designed to go faster than 30 mph, antique and collector vehicles, or wheeled all-terrain vehicles.

The hope is by requiring minimum liability insurance, the new law will help better protect both motorcyclists and everyone around them by providing a little more assurance that if an accident were to happen, the cost won’t be as damaging as it could be.

About Dairyland

Dairyland provides affordable rates on auto and motorcycle insurance with multiple coverage options, money-saving discounts, and outstanding customer service. For more information, visit dairylandinsurance.com.