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Insurance Auto Insurance

Do You Need Insurance for a Moped or Scooter?

A lot of people enjoy using a moped or scooter to get around instead of a car. Mopeds tend to be much cheaper than cars, are more mobile, and are safer than riding a motorcycle.

Like most vehicles that operate on the road, you can buy insurance to protect you and your vehicle if you own a moped or scooter. Depending on where you live, your state may require that you purchase a minimum amount of insurance before using your scooter.

Even if your state doesn’t make scooter owners carry insurance, it’s still a good idea to consider it. Insurance can protect your finances if you have an accident and provides peace of mind.

In this guide:

First, let’s make sure you have a moped or scooter and not a motorcycle in the eyes of your state

The first thing you have to do before you consider moped or scooter insurance is to figure out whether you own a moped and not a motorcycle. When it comes down to it, the two are pretty similar. Both are two-wheeled vehicles that can operate on the roads.

The primary differences between a moped/scooter and a motorcycle are its engine (measured in cubic centimeters) and its maximum speed (measured in miles per hour). The exact definition will depend on your state law. Still, the Motorcycle Legal Foundation, a California-based non-profit, offers the following distinctions.

Engine size50cc50cc – 250cc250cc or more
Wheel sizeVaries10″ – 16″16″ or larger
Top speed28 mphVariesVaries
Can you ride on the highway?NoYesYes
Motorcycle license required?VariesYesYes

This table can serve as a quick reference if you aren’t sure about the distinction but remember that each state has slightly different definitions. Similarly, some insurers may have their own definition of a moped, scooter, and motorcycle.

Always check with your state to learn about local laws that apply to you. The type of vehicle you’re using will determine your insurance requirements and how insurers will work with you. If it turns out that you need motorcycle insurance and not moped or scooter insurance, you can check out our best motorcycle insurance guide.

State insurance requirements for mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles

Each state has its own laws surrounding the insurance requirements for two-wheeled vehicles. In general, most scooter insurance policies fall under the umbrella of motorcycle insurance but are often cheaper.

Most states define a moped as a vehicle with an engine 50cc or less and a top speed of 30 mph or less. Make sure to check with your state to determine which classification your vehicle falls under.

StateMotorcycle & fast scootersMopeds & slow scooters
New HampshireNoNo
New JerseyYesYes
New MexicoYesNo
New YorkYesYes
North CarolinaYesNo
Rhode IslandYesYes
South CarolinaYesNo
South DakotaYesYes
Washington, D.C.YesYes
West VirginiaYesYes

The majority of states require insurance for people operating motorcycles and scooters, but mopeds’ requirements will vary.

In some states that don’t require insurance, there may be exceptions. For example, New Hampshire does not require insurance (even for people driving cars), but if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you’ll have to buy insurance.

How much coverage is needed if required by the state?

Where you live will determine how much coverage you need to purchase to protect your moped or scooter and your liability while you’re riding it.

For example, residents of Colorado must purchase the following coverages before they can operate a scooter or moped:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage

Residents of West Virginia must purchase at least the following coverage:

  • $25,000 for property damages
  • $25,000 for one accident, one injury/death
  • $50,000 for one accident, two injuries/deaths

Other states, like New Hampshire, have no insurance requirements at all.

>> Read More: How much does scooter insurance cost?

You may be required to insure your moped or scooter even if your state doesn’t require it

Keep in mind, even if you live in a state that doesn’t require insurance for mopeds or scooters, you might have to buy coverage anyway. If you lease your moped or get a loan to buy it, the lender or dealer leasing the vehicle to you may require insurance.

Lenders want to make sure that you’ll repay the money you borrow to buy a scooter. If you stop making payments, the lender can repossess the vehicle to recoup its lost money. If you wreck the vehicle and don’t have insurance, the lender won’t have anything worth repossessing.

Similarly, dealers want to know that people leasing or renting a moped or scooter will return it in good shape. Requiring insurance means that the dealer will get the vehicle back or get the money they can use to repair or replace it.

There are some other scenarios where you may have to purchase insurance, even if your state doesn’t typically require it. One of the most common is when you need SR-22 coverage, which happens if you’re convicted of certain driving offenses, like DUI.

Even if not required, moped and scooter insurance can be a smart financial decision

Even if you live in a state where you don’t have to buy insurance, purchasing coverage can still be a smart financial decision. Insurance is there to protect you against financial catastrophe, and coverage for mopeds and scooters is usually cheap.

There are a few different types of coverage that are worth considering.

  • Liability. This type of coverage protects you if you’re found to be at fault for causing an accident, injury, or damage. Your insurance will pay for the costs you incurred, up to the coverage limit. For example, if you crash into someone’s fence and damage it, this coverage will pay to repair it.
  • Medical payments. This coverage pays for medical expenses for you, family members, household members, and passengers on your moped if they get injured while riding.
  • Collision. This insurance coverage pays for damages to your vehicle, letting you repair or replace it, regardless of who is at fault. Often, it also covers safety gear like helmets or clothing designed for protection while riding.
  • Comprehensive. Comprehensive insurance pays for miscellaneous damage to your moped or scooter, like vandalism, theft, weather, and accidents involving wildlife.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist. Not everyone carries insurance or sufficient insurance to cover their liabilities in a car accident. If you’re in an accident caused by someone who doesn’t have sufficient insurance, this coverage reimburses you for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Where can I compare scooter and moped insurance?

Whenever you’re shopping for an insurance policy, you should take the time to shop around and compare options from multiple insurers. Some insurers offer lower premiums or more flexible coverage, so seeing what’s out there can help you find a great deal.