The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) requires motorcycle owners to prove they can handle the possible costs that their ride can cause in the case of an accident. In other words, residents must meet the state’s financial responsibility requirements by purchasing vehicle liability insurance or self-insurance.

Two-Wheeled Vehicles

Here’s how the state classifies some rides:

  • A motor vehicle with a seat/saddle for the rider, and designed to travel with no more than three wheels is defined as a motorcycle.
  • A motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a 1.5-brake horsepower or less, a cylinder capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less, an automatic transmission, and that can’t travel at more than 25 miles per hour is defined as moped. An electric motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery.
  • A motorcycle, including a motor scooter, with a five-brake horsepower engine or less is defined as motor-driven cycle.

If you still have doubts whether your vehicle is a motorcycle, call PennDOT at (800) 932-4600 to find out.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

The mandatory insurance requirements for Pennsylvania are listed below:

  • $5,000 of property damage protection for a single accident.
  • $15,000 of bodily injury protection for injuries or death occurring to one person in an accident.
  • $30,000 of bodily injury protection for injuries or deaths occurring to more than one person in an accident.
  • $5,000 of property damage protection for a single accident.

Remember you can always maximize your protection by purchasing other types of insurance. Make sure you see the form at the top of the page. You can use it to get insurance for your vehicle and it can also help to save on motorcycle insurance for the future.

Helmet Requirements

In the state of Pennsylvania, you must wear a helmet unless you’re at least 21 and have held your motorcycle license for a minimum of two years, or you’ve completed a safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Financial Responsibility

In the state of Pennsylvania you can establish financial responsibility by having adequate bodily injury and property damage liability insurance coverage, or by being self-insured. If you want to self-insure a vehicle, you must file the appropriate application, a recent balance sheet and income statement, and $50,000 of security collateral (such as treasury notes or bonds) with PennDOT. Each additional vehicle means an extra $10,000 of collateral.

Proof of Insurance

Always keep your acceptable proof of insurance in your vehicle. That can be a copy of your:

  • Insurance identification card issued by your provider.
  • Policy’s declaration page.
  • Insurance binder (valid for a maximum of 60 days, after which you’ll have to reaffirm your coverage).
  • Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan application.
  • Letter from your provider confirming your proof of financial responsibility coverage, signed by your insurance company representative.


If you are caught riding your motorcycle without proof of insurance, the penalties are as follows:

  • $300 fine for driving uninsured.
  • Three-month vehicle registration suspension.
  • Three-month driver’s license suspension.

Nonetheless, be mindful that your vehicle can’t be driven by anyone during its registration suspension. If your insurance lapsed for less than 31 days, you can prove to PennDOT that you didn’t drive your cycle during this time. Alternatively, if you file a non-operation statement, you will not face any penalties. If you want to reinstate your license and registration you will have to show proof of current insurance, and pay at least $50 in fees.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.