New York Motorcycle Insurance

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Mandatory motorcycle insurance laws in New York are based on the belief that accidents involving motorcycles are more likely to occur than those involving automobiles. With that in mind, all riders must show proof of insurance in order to register their bikes the first time, then they must maintain a liability policy so long as they own a bike.

Further complicating motorcycle insurance in New York is the fact that it is a ”no fault” car insurance state, but the no fault rules do not apply to motorcyclists. Let’s have a look at motorcycle insurance issues in New York, 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.

New York Motorcycle Laws

It may seem obvious what a motorcycle is, but every state must clearly define one for law enforcement and insurance purposes. In New York, a motorcycle is:

”A motorized vehicle with a seat for the driver and operating on a maximum of three wheels; a motor with more than two horsepower and more than 50 cc displacement; and runs faster than 30 mph.”

Street-Legal Motorcycle Requirements in NY

The Empire State can be a beautiful place to ride, even if you are riding in congested areas like New York City. Whether you are in congested urban sprawl or wide open country, you and your bike must have certain equipment in order to be considered street legal in the New York. That equipment includes:

  • Eye protection: required for all riders.
  • Handlebar height: handgrips at or below shoulder height.
  • Helmet: required for all riders.
  • Mirrors: only one required.
  • Turn Signals: required for all bikes manufactured after 1-1-1985.
  • Passenger Seat/Footrest: both are required if carrying a passenger. No restrictions on a passenger’s age.
  • Headlight: required, modulating daytime headlight approved.
  • Muffler: required; no straight pipes; no removal of baffles; no modification of exhaust system that increases noise beyond exhaust system originally installed. Acoustical limits include:

    A-Weighted Sound Levels at Speed: 35 mph or less, 82 dB(A); over 35 mph, 86 dB(A), measured at, or adjusted to, a distance of fifty feet from the center of the lane in which the motorcycle is traveling.

  • Safety Inspection: not required.

New York State Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

New York statutes do not require a rider to have PIP insurance as most no fault states do, but riders must have a liability policy that has the limits below:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person;
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury in the event that multiple people are hurt in the accident;
  • $10,000 for property damage;
  • $50,000 for death per person; and
  • $100,000 for death if multiple fatalities occur.

Recommended Motorcycle Insurance for New York Riders

  • Collision coverage covers your bike in a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object.
  • Comprehensive coverage picks up where collision leaves off, covering items like fire, flood, theft, vandalism.
  • Uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage: at any given time more than 5 percent of the drivers in New York do not have automobile or motorcycle insurance. 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.

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