North Carolina Motorcycle Insurance

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According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, all riders must have motorcycle insurance. The policy must meet minimum liability coverage limits as well as have an uninsured motorist policy attached to it. Riders must carry proof of insurance while riding or face penalties.

Another issue that complicates North Carolina’s insurance laws is that the state uses an ”at fault” system when determining the cause of an accident. If you are found at fault after an accident, you can face fines, penalties, license suspension, and potential jail time on top of being liable for all medical and property bills associated with the accident.

NC Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

The legislature in North Carolina has set the minimum motorcycle insurance coverages at:

  • $30,000 for death or bodily injury to one person
  • $60,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons
  • $25,000 for damage or destruction of property

The minimum coverage limits in North Carolina are fairly high when compared to other states, but an accident that results in a serious injury could quickly reach those limits. If you are fault and your policy falls short, you will be responsible for all additional costs, potentially draining your life savings. Even if you are not at fault, but the other motorist is uninsured, the minimum coverages may not be sufficient.

Recommended Coverage in North Carolina

Some policy types that you should consider are:

  • Collision protects your bike in a collision, whether it be with a car, another bike, or a stationary object.
  • Uninsured/Under-insured motorist coverage. North Carolina requires an uninsured motorist policy because more than 9 percent of the motorists in the state are uninsured on any given day. The under-insured aspect of the policy protects you in case the other driver is from a state with lower minimum requirements or the injuries exceed the policy caps of an at fault motorist.
  • Comprehensive covers non-collision mishaps like fire, wind, water, theft, and vandalism.
  • Bodily injury covers certain costs if you injure or kill someone in an at-fault accident. It also protects your passenger.
  • Accessories coverage protects items such as saddlebags/panniers, backrests, seats, and chrome pieces, but not helmets. Some insurers require that you have comprehensive or collision coverage in force in order to have an accessories policy.

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North Carolina Street-Legal Motorcycle Requirements

North Carolina uses a very broad definition of a motorcycle: “any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel with no more than three wheels in contact with the ground.”  The state’s laws go on to say that the engine must have a displacement larger than 50 cc and the vehicle must be able to travel in excess of 30 mph.

The Tar Heel State can be a wondrous place to ride. All you need to do is leave the crowded urban areas around cities like Raleigh and you can find wide open spaces or cruise the Atlantic coast. Whether you are competing with congested traffic or feeling the salty air, your bike needs to be street legal at all times. In North Carolina, the equipment you and your bike must have includes:

  • Eye protection: not required.
  • Handlebar height: no restrictions.
  • Helmet: required for all riders.
  • Mirrors: one required.
  • Turn Signals: not required.
  • Passenger Seat and Passenger Footrests: required if carrying a passenger. No restrictions on a passenger’s age.
  • Headlight: required; a modulating daytime headlight is approved.
  • Muffler: required, not cutouts allowed, no acoustical requirements.
  • Safety Inspection: periodic inspections required.

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