Are motorcyclists required to have insurance in Washington State?

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After a motorcycle accident, who’s responsible for paying for medical expenses and other bills might be the last thing on an injured victim’s mind. But when it’s time to open a legal case to seek compensation for all those damages, this issue will be vital to your claim.

It’s best to familiarize yourself with the insurance implications of motorcycle accidents before you’re in a crash. Insurance cannot be purchased retroactively to cover an accident, so even if you’re reading this book just because you’re curious and not because you’ve been injured, pay attention to what you need to do to protect yourself in case of a severe injury.

In Washington State, motorcycle insurance does not work exactly like car insurance does. If you only ride a motorcycle and do not own a car, there are certain types of coverage that insurance companies are not required to offer you.   It is very important that you understand that most automobile insurance carriers will exclude coverage for motorcycles.  In fact, to obtain adequate motorcycle insurance coverage you will usually have to purchase a separate motorcycle policy.


Every person that owns a motorcycle should contact his or her insurance agent and request UM/UIM coverage.  If there’s one important message of this book for motorcycle riders to remember, it is this:  Many motorcycle riders do not have UM/UIM coverage, or if they do, it is woefully inadequate.  Even minor collisions involving motorcyclists can cause catastrophic injury or death.  Many injured motorcyclists that we represent do not have this coverage or it is too low and the result is that they will have to pay for thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of dollars for their own medical treatment as a result of an accident they did not cause.  Please buy at least $500,000 worth of UM/UIM coverage (but preferably $1 Million), which in most cases will cost you less than a few hundred dollars per year.

Chris Davis
Attorney Chris Davis is the founder of Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S.