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Motorcycle Insurance in New York

A New York state resident must have a motorcycle operator’s license (Class M) or a motorcycle junior operator’s license (Class MJ) to drive a motorcycle. Riders between the ages of 16 and 18 receive a Class MJ license, while those above the age of 18 receive a Class M license. Applicants should study New York’s motorcycle manual, as well as its driver’s manual. They will be tested on material from both.

Motorcycle License Requirements

  • Identification
  • Proof of residence
  • Vision test
  • Written knowledge test
  • On-cycle skill test
  • Fees

To receive a permit, New York residents must complete form MV-44 and pass a written test. Permit fees vary based on your age, date of application, and whether or not you currently have a New York license (any class). The fees for a Class M or MJ permit or driver’s license range from $21 to $120, but the DMV cannot calculate your exact fee until you apply.

The DMV will waive the motorcycle road test for those who complete a rider course approved by the DMV and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). To qualify for the waiver, you must be at least 16 years old; hold a valid New York license; and hold a valid Class M or MJ permit. For more information, visit the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program’s website or call toll-free at 1-800-446-9227.

Insurance Requirements

New York State requires that all drivers carry liability insurance, which covers the cost of damages if you are ever involved in an auto accident that you are legally responsible for. The minimum requirements for liability coverage are $25,000 for bodily injury to one person; $50,000 if two or more persons are hurt; and $10,000 for property damage. In cases of death, the minimum coverage requirements are $50,000 for one person and $100,000 for two or more people. Proof of insurance coverage is required at the time of registration. If this coverage lapses, drivers may face suspension of their license and/or registration.

Insurance Rates

If you’re shopping for motorcycle insurance, check with multiple insurance providers to make sure you settle on one that best suits your needs and offers you the best rate. Motorcycle insurance rates are based on each individual’s unique circumstances, so insurance rates will vary. They depend largely on the motorcycle’s make, model, and age; how often you ride the motorcycle; your personal driving record and the driving records of all other riders; and the year the motorcycle was registered.

State Laws

Motorcycle drivers must follow the laws listed below. Failure to follow these laws may result in speeding tickets, higher insurance premiums, and even the suspension or loss of your motorcycle license. In accordance with New York law:

  • Drivers must carry proof of insurance.
  • Motorcyclists must wear a safety helmet.
  • Motorcyclists must wear eye protection.
  • Motorcyclists must use headlights during the day.
  • A passenger seat and footrest is required if motorcycle is carrying a passenger.
  • A muffler is required, and owners may not use straight pipes or modify the exhaust system in a way that increases noise beyond the noise level of the original exhaust system.
  • A-weighted sound levels must be 82 dB(A) at 35 mph or less and 86 dB(A) at more than 35 mph.
  • Handle bars or grips cannot be more than the height of the operator’s shoulders.
  • Motorcycles may ride abreast in the same lane, but lane splitting is prohibited.