WA’s Mandatory Auto Insurance & Motorcycle Riders

Washington State’s mandatory auto insurance laws requires that anyone who drives a motor vehicle in the state to have one of the three options below:

1. $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
$50,000 for injuries or death to all other people
$10,000 in damage to another person’s property

2. Pay a deposit to the Washington State Treasurer, or

3. Have a liability bond of at least $60,000.

Under this law, however, a motorcycle is not considered an “auto” or “motor vehicle” in Washington, those who drive motorcycles are not required to have motorcycle insurance. Coverage is available to motorcycle riders in Washington through your insurance company, but beware that motorcycles are not typically covered under the traditional auto insurance plans and you must specifically ask for motorcycle coverage.

If you cause a collision and do damage to another’s property and/or cause bodily injury to another, you could be making yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit and potential judgment against you. You may also end up with a suspended license unless you follow requirements laid out in Washington’s Financial Responsibility Law which you can find on the Washington State Department of Licensing website. Finally, you will be responsible for the damage to your motorcycle if you are found at fault.

On the flip side, if you’re injured on your motorcycle due to another driver’s negligence, and you do not have insurance coverage for your motorcycle specifically, you may be left with damage to your motorcycle, significant medical bills and pain and suffering that may not be adequately compensated depending on any insurance coverage the potential defendant driver might have had at the time of the collision. Some insurance companies may have additional coverage, besides liability, to protect you on your motorcycle, including underinsured/uninsured coverage and personal injury protection. The best practice is to know your insurance and know what is covered to protect yourself in the unfortunate possibility of an accident.