Before taking your cycle on the road, you must meet the minimum financial responsibility requirements requested by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). You must show the state that you can deal with the possible expenses your ride might cause should an accident happen. Vehicle liability insurance is what most riders choose to meet this requirement.

Two-Wheeled Vehicles

See how Wisconsin defines two-wheeled vehicles:

  • Every motor vehicle that has a power source as an integral part of the vehicle, can travel over 30 mph, has two wheels in tandem, and is built for one rider is defined as type 1 motorcycle.
  • A motor vehicle designed to have at least three wheels, and that weighs less than 1,500 pounds (such as a golf cart) is defined as type 2 motorcycle.
  • Every bicycle with a power unit added that can’t reach speeds of 30 mph is a motorbike.
  • A vehicle that has a seat for the operator, a power source as an integral part of the vehicle, and can’t travel at over 30 mph is defined as a moped.

For more complete definitions check out the state’s Motorcyclists’ Handbook.
And remember, you can always call WisDOT at (608) 266-2353 if you need any help with this.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Here are the minimum coverage amounts you must have in the state of Wisconsin:

  • $10,000 of property damage coverage for damages occurring in a single accident.
  • $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or death to one person in a single accident.
  • $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or deaths to more than one person in a single accident.

You can also purchase coverage for your cycle, and save on motorcycle insurance for the future, by using the form at the top of the page.

Helmet Requirements

Riders younger than 18 and those who only have an instruction permit, must wear a helmet when riding.

Financial Responsibility

The state gives you three options to prove to WisDOT that you’re financially responsible to ride your motorcycle throughout the state:

  • Posting a bond issued by an insurance company.
  • Carrying a liability policy that includes bodily injury and property damage coverage.
  • Placing a cash deposit of $60,000 with WisDOT.

Proof of Insurance

Some insurance companies will send your insurance information electronically to the WisDOT. Others will simply give you a completed SR-22 form, which you need to show upon request.


If you don’t have proof of insurance to show, when pulled over for a traffic violation, or when involved in an accident, you’ll get a chance later to prove, that you were insured at the time of the incident.

In case you cannot provide such proof, your license and registration might be suspended. If that happens, you’ll need to provide proof of current insurance (and do so for the next three years), and pay at least $50 in reinstatement fees to get your license and registration back.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.