What's the definition of a scooter? While it may vary depending on who you ask, the law has a specific definition. This is important when it comes to knowing whether you need insurance coverage for your scooter.
What Is Considered a Moped?
If your scooter has an engine that is smaller than 50 cubic centimeters and can't drive faster than 40 miles per hour, then it is likely classified as a moped. With low speeds, mopeds aren't generally meant to travel on highways.
In some states, such as Nebraska, the use of pedals along with a motor is a defining characteristic of mopeds.
Other states may have different definitions, so it's important to check the guidance of the state where you live.
What Is Considered a Scooter?
While scooters and mopeds may sometimes be classified the same for insurance purposes, there are some differences.
Scooters may have more powerful motors—up to 250 cubic centimeters. They can also reach higher speeds of up to 60 or 70 miles per hour. With higher speeds, scooters may or may not be permitted to drive on highways.
Again, it's important to check local guidance for where you live.
What Is Considered a Motorcycle?
One of the main characteristics that distinguishes motorcycles from scooters and mopeds is the bike's design.
Unlike the other two, a motorcycle's powerful engine—which may be 1,000 cubic centimeters or more—is in the front, between the rider's knees.
Of course, motorcycles can reach high speeds up to 160 miles per hour or more and can be driven on the highway.
Do I Need Insurance for My Moped, Scooter, or Motorcycle?
In general, if your scooter has an engine larger than 50 cubic centimeters, you will need to purchase insurance. In the eyes of the law, your scooter is considered a motorcycle.
The only state which doesn't abide by this definition of a motorcycle is Nebraska: If it has pedals, it's classified as a scooter rather than a motorcycle.
In almost every state, you will need motorcycle insurance to operate your scooter on public roads. Florida and Montana provide some exceptions.
Even in Florida and Montana, if you took out a loan to pay for your scooter, you'll definitely need to purchase motorcycle insurance. When you’re spending someone else’s money, you need to make sure you are protecting their asset.
If you paid for your scooter, you should still consider purchasing insurance. First of all, if your scooter is totaled, you won’t be repaid for the damage if you do not have insurance.
But more importantly, if you cause harm to someone else’s person or property, you will be on the hook for the total amount if you do not have insurance.
Where Can I Buy Scooter Insurance?
Because scooters are typically insured under motorcycle insurance policies, it shouldn't be hard to find the right policy for you and your scooter.
What Type of Scooter Insurance Coverage is Available?
In addition to property damage liability protection, most insurance options come standard with bodily injury protection as well––that is the “BI” half of Bodily injury & property damage liability (BI/PD) coverage.
You can also choose to get comprehensive and collision coverage, which will cover the costs of repairing or replacing a damaged or stolen vehicle once you have paid your deductible.
You can also elect to purchase coverage for your carried contents and belongings as well, just in case they are damaged or stolen during your time scooting around town.