Louisiana Motorcycle Insurance
The State of Louisiana requires that a motorcycle owner/operator establish financial responsibility and the only way to do that in this state is to carry motorcycle insurance coverage. The insurance carrier must be licensed to do business in the State of Louisiana. If you have a moped, the moped is also required to have insurance.
What is the Difference Between a Moped and a Scooter?
Scooters do not have to be insured. A moped, which must be insured, is a motorized bicycle that has a motor with no more than 1.5 brake horsepower and can go up to 25 miles per hour. It also has an engine that is no more than 50 cc.
Scooters have less than 1.5 brake horsepower and cannot go as fast as a moped. Its engine is also smaller than a moped engine and it does not have the safety equipment that a moped has. You cannot drive a scooter on any public roadway or shoulder of a public roadway. If you are not sure whether your motorized bicycle is classified as a moped or a scooter, contact the Office of Motor Vehicles and they will help you determine whether it needs to be registered and insured.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
The State of Louisiana requires you to carry a minimum of motorcycle insurance coverage. The minimum is on the low side, so you may want to carry more than the minimum. You must have at least $15,000 per person for death or bodily injury, $30,000 per accident for death or bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage. Often, if there is a death or serious injury involved and you are the cause of the accident, hospital bills and compensation for someone’s lost loved one is going to cost more than $30,000.
The State of Louisiana also requires insurance companies to report — via electronic means — to the Office of Motor Vehicles when a person cancels his or her insurance or when a policy lapses no matter the reason. The insurance company must also report any changes to insurance coverage. If you need to take your bike off the road for an extended time and do not want to keep it insured, notify your insurance company of this. Do not just let the policy lapse. This could cost you extra fees when you re-register and insure your bike.
If you do need to cancel your insurance, you won’t face penalties if you turn your plates into the Office of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of canceling the insurance. If you do not, you must show proof of insurance within those 10 days. The penalties for failure to show proof of insurance if you don’t turn your plates in are hefty: 11 to 30 days nets you a $50 fine; 31 to 90 days nets you a $125 fine; and, 91 or more days nets you a $225 fine.
Penalties for Failure to Maintain Coverage
If you fail to maintain insurance coverage and get caught driving without insurance, you may face penalties, including confiscation of your license plates. The police may also impound your motorcycle on the spot. If this happens, but you do have insurance, you must bring the proof of insurance to the Office of Motor Vehicles within three days. If you cannot provide proof within three days of the citation, you will have to reregister the bike and get it insured again, which means you will also have to purchase new plates.
Louisiana requires all owner/operators and riders to wear a helmet. There are no restrictions on helmet speakers. Eye protection is also required, unless you have a windscreen. Even if you have a windscreen, it is advisable to wear eye protection as dust, rocks and bugs can get past a windscreen, especially a lower one. If you want to carry a passenger, you must have a passenger seat and foot pegs for the passenger. The bike must also have at least one mirror; and, the handlebars cannot be higher than 15 inches above the seat.