According to figures compiled by the Motorcycle Industry Council, sales of scooters and mopeds increased from 83,000 annually in 2003 to 131,000 in 2007. Driven by growing environmentalism and high gasoline prices, more drivers are turning to one or another of these two-wheelers as either a primary or secondary “neighborhood” means of transportation. Major insurers like Nationwide and Progressive now offer coverage on this class of vehicle with a better standardization of terms and levels of protection than what was available to consumers even a year ago.
As an example, the coverage available from Nationwide includes protection for collision, theft, damage caused by uninsured and under-insured drivers, and vandalism. The latter is a necessary component of coverage for these alternative machines because they are still new enough in the American driving culture that they attract mischievous attention under the wrong circumstances and most particularly when operated by younger drivers. Additional components can be added to the Nationwide coverage including protection for custom equipment; provisions for towing; labor, and even medical payments.
As more scooters and mopeds began to appear on the roadways initially, many drivers chose to forego insurance coverage. State laws, however, have long since caught up with that reckless practice and in the majority of states, insurance is now required to legally operate the vehicle. Additionally, in many states you cannot even purchase a scooter until you have completed a riding course and obtained your license. Since finishing such a course will likely result in an insurance discount (as well as teaching you to safely operate a largely unfamiliar machine), the component of driver education is particularly important in the overall process.
Because scooters are often secondary vehicles, discounts are also available for multiple policies with one insurer. Customers can go online to get rate quotes at both the Nationwide and Progressive website as well as the homepages of other companies offering variations on scooter and moped coverage — often at deep discounts. Because these policies are relatively new insurance products, it’s important to read the fine print to make sure you are not only getting a good rate (prices vary too widely still to offer ballpark figures), but that you are also adequately protected in the event of an accident. Do not be afraid to negotiate with the company based on such factors as how often the machine will be used, where, and by whom.
Although scooters and mopeds are fun, fuel-efficient machines to own and operate, drivers should never lose sight of the fact that they are exposed to traffic dangers far removed from the familiar safety of a vehicle cockpit. Driver education and adequate insurance cover are absolutely essential for scooter and moped operators, not only in terms of peace of mind, but also in real financial assistance in the event of an accident.