Michigan Motorcycle Insurance

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Many states give riders several options to show proof of financial responsibility, but Michigan’s Secretary of State requires that riders show proof of a minimum liability insurance policy before they can register a motorcycle. The state also requires that all riders have proof of insurance when asked during a traffic stop or after an accident.

Michigan is a ”no fault” insurance state, which can be confusing.  So let’s have a look at Michigan’s motorcycle insurance issues, how the state defines a motorcycle for law enforcement and insurance purposes, some of the required equipment to make your bike street legal, as well as the coverage levels and types you may need.

Michigan Motorcycle Laws

To many, it seems obvious what a motorcycle is, but every state must clearly define one for law enforcement and insurance purposes. In Michigan, a motorcycle is:

“A vehicle having a saddle or seat for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, which is equipped with a motor that exceeds 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement. The wheels on any attachment to the vehicle shall not be considered as wheels in contact with the ground.”

Street-Legal Motorcycle Requirements in Michigan

The Great Lakes State is a beautiful, wide open place to commune with the wind. Granted, the wind is a bit chilly at most times of the year, but a true rider doesn’t care. With such wide ope riding it is easy to forget the world around you. Still, you and your bike must have certain equipment in order to be considered street legal in Michigan. That equipment includes:

  • Eye protection: required by law unless equipped with windscreen and at speeds in excess of 35 mph.
  • Handlebar height: maximum of 15 inches above the seat.
  • Helmet: MCL 257.658 says a helmet is, ”required for all motorcycle operators and passengers under 21 years of age.
  • Helmets are optional for riders at least 21 years of age with at least $20,000 in first party payable medical benefits, and 2 years riding experience or successful completion of a motorcycle safety course.”
  • Mirrors: only one side mirror is required.
  • Turn Signals: not required.
  • Passenger Seat/Footrest: both are required if carrying a passenger. No age restrictions for passengers.
  • Headlight: required, modulating daytime headlight approved.
  • Muffler: required, but no cutouts permitted. Acoustical requirements are: Maximum allowable A-weighed sound levels as measured from 50 feet: 86dBA at speeds over 35mph; 82dBA at speeds less than 35mph; 95dBA under stationary run-up test at 75 inches.
  • Safety Inspection: random periodic inspections required by law.

Motorcycle Insurance for Michigan Riders

Motorcycle insurance regulations in Michigan require that owners have a liability policy with minimum coverages equal to:

$20,000 for death or bodily injury to one person;
$40,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons; and
$10,000 for damage or destruction of property.

The minimum liability amounts required by Michigan are better than those in some states, but they leave too many gaps in coverage. That is why you should always carry additional coverage.

Collision coverage: this protection covers your bike in an accident under nearly every circumstance. It may or may not include uninsured/under-insured coverage.

Uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage: at any given time 21 percent of the drivers in Michigan do not have car or motorcycle insurance, one of the highest rates in the country. With that many uninsured drivers you can see why you need this type of coverage. As if worrying about uninsured drivers isn’t enough, you must also be aware of under-insured drivers. An uninsured/under-insured motorist policy protects you in either case.

Comprehensive coverage: this protection covers items like fire, wind, water, theft, and vandalism.

Bodily injury coverage: this protection covers certain costs if you injure or kill someone in an at-fault accident. It also protects your passenger.

Medical payment coverage: this covers items such as prescription drug payments; dental care; medical co-payments and deductibles from other health coverage policies; home nursing care, or funeral expenses.

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