Motorcycle Helmet Law and Insurance Coverage | Armstrong Insurance

The 2000 legislative session resulted in legislation passing that exempts certain motorcycle riders from wearing a helmet, effective July 1, 2000. The statutory language states:

316.211 (b) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.  

The question has already been asked of FAIA staff, "What specific insurance is required?" As the statute states, the only requirement is that the "insurance policy" must provide benefits for injuries sustained while operating or riding a motorcycle. Since motorcycles aren't protected by PIP coverage the only "motorcycle policy" type coverage to satisfy the statutory requirement is medical payments coverage. Some companies who do write motorcycles may not offer that much coverage, and even when it is available it's far from inexpensive.

Two FAIA member agencies supplied us with quotes from a major carrier that does write $10,000 of medical payments coverage on their motorcycle policies. For a 40-year-old male with a good driving and credit rating the cost varied from $113 to $225 per year for a typical non-high performance cycle.

Effective July 1, 2000 the Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association (FAJUA) provides $10,000 of medical payments coverage for motorcycle policies. The insured must first purchase both bodily injury liability ad property damage liability in order to also purchase the medical payments coverage. Rates range from a minimum of $209 for a small motorcycle, owned by a person who is not a single male under age 30—to a whopping $1510 per year for a large motorcycle (unladen weight over 300 pounds) owned by a single male under age 30. 

UM on motorcycles.

The most common question from your client will likely be, "Will my health insurance policy satisfy the insurance requirement?" Most health insurance policies coordinate with coverage provided by auto and motorcycle policies so in many cases there likely will be coverage. However, if your agency does not write the health policy for the client the best answer is to have them call the health insurance company for an interpretation of coverage since some policies will not respond for injuries sustained on a motorcycle. The Florida Department of Highway Safety of Motor Vehicles HSMV previously stated that health policies would meet the statutory requirements. 

Remember too that Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is not available on a motorcycle policy and any PIP coverage under a Personal Auto Policy WILL NOT provide benefits for those injured while occupying a motorcycle. Also, while it seems almost completely unnecessary to say, homeowners medical payments coverage will not respond for those injured while riding a motorcycle.

As far as enforcement is concerned, the HSMV stated that police officers are allowed to request proof of "helmet" insurance from a motorcycle rider. They state that a copy of a group or individual health insurance ID card or policy would be adequate proof. A copy of a motorcycle policy showing $10,000 coverage would also be adequate proof. 

So for all you motorcycle riders out there who want to ride without a helmet (that's you H. Allen Sale, Jr.) make sure your insurance is in place and be careful! 

Make sure to contact your local Armstrong Insurance agent to obtain a quote on auto, home or commercial insurance policies anywhere in Florida.