The image of a young Peter Fonda in the movie “Easy Rider” is a thing of the past when it comes to today’s motorcycle riders. The typical biker today has aged a bit since then.
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, the majority (55%) of today’s riders are 40 or older. Back in the 1990s, less than 25% of riders were ‘middle-aged’.
Today’s older riders are also well educated with college degrees or better, with a lifetime of assets to protect. Motorcycle riding has lead to some catastrophic accidents. So, what’s the right insurance coverage for this new generation of bikers in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles requires motorcyclists to prove they are covered for the possible expenses associated with riding a motorcycle by having adequate levels of liability insurance.
By maintaining the minimum levels of coverage, NC riders meet the mandatory insurance requirements:
- $35,000 for bodily injuries or death to one person in a single accident.
- $60,000 for bodily injuries or deaths to more than one person in a single accident.
- $25,000 for property damage occurring in a single accident.
Some states give cyclists a break on their financial responsibility requirements if they wear a helmet while riding. This doesn’t apply in North Carolina, so you’ll need to wear a helmet (as required for all riders) and adhere to the insurance requirements.
What’s the Cost of Motorcycle Insurance?
Motorcycle insurance usually costs around 60% less than auto insurance. Riders have been offered discounts if they carry auto insurance, home insurance or other insurance with their motorcycle insurance provider.
For example, Safeco riders can get discounts if they do one or more of the following:
- Take a safety course sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- Belong to certain motorcycle rider groups
- Keep their bike stored in a garage
The average premium is about $450 a year but can vary based on situations like the age of the rider, their experience riding a motorcycle and the make, model and year of the bike. Rates can be even lower if a rider has four or more years of experience.
Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
What if you let your insurance lapse and have no proof of insurance? That depends on your circumstances.
Your insurance company will alert the NCDMV about your situation. That automatically triggers a Form FS 5-7 notice being sent to you. If you did have a time gap in your insurance coverage, you must reaffirm your current coverage, pay a fine, and mail the completed form to the DMV within 10 days from the date on the letter. Failing to do so likely means your plates will be suspended for 35 days.
To reinstate your plates, you’ll need to wait for the required amount of time. Then, you’ll have to pay at least a $50 fine, a $50 service fee, your license plate fee, and complete Form FS-1 indicating your current coverage.
For more information on insuring your motorcycle, go to the North Carolina Department of Insurance website for complete details.