We can understand how you may be confused on the matter since the laws in Arkansas regarding insurance for vehicles can be hard to interpret. We contacted different various Arkansas government sources to determine if you are required to have insurance on your 49cc scooter. Here is the information we received and some information we found in the AR laws which hopefully will help you determine if you need insurance in your situation or not. We would advise you though to go into a branch of the Arkansas DMV with your scooter paperwork and get a definite answer there in person.
We first contacted the Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) to clarify whether insurance is required or not for your scooter. The response from the OMV was that motor driven cycles with 50cc's or less with automatic transmission are exempt from registration.
The representative then went on to say that you are required to carry insurance on any vehicle, scooter, etc. that is registered. Therefore if your scooter is not registered you are not required to have insurance on your scooter. You can call the main office of the OMV at 501-682-4692 to seek more clarification on your situation and particular scooter.
We also contacted Arkansas Department of Insurance, since on their site they note that Arkansas law requires that every person operating a motor vehicle on the streets and highways have liability insurance coverage. The minimum requirements are 25/50/25 of liability coverage which pays for any claims when you are at fault in an accident. The minimum liability limits break down to $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 to cover property damage to other's property.
The representative that we spoke to stated that under Arkansas Law any vehicle that can be licensed for road use must carry insurance. She then cited under the Arkansas Annotated Code 27-22-104 where it states that any motorized vehicle regardless of size must have liability insurance to be operated legally on Arkansas roads. Her take on the law thus is if your scooter will be used on the roadway then you must carry insurance in the minimum amounts we listed above.
The AR DOI representative may have assumed that your scooter was registered but that was her take on the law. This is why we would advise you to go in person to the OMV and find someone that knows for certain if your motor scooter is required to be insured. If you are going to register the scooter then it appears the answer is a definite yes, however if you do not plan on registering it then you need to seek clarification from the OMV.
Here is other information we received from the OMV and DOI regarding a motor scooter (and motor vehicles in general) which we hope can help you understand the AR laws better.
Arkansas distinguishes "automobile" policies from "motor vehicle" policies. Under Arkansas law, the definition of an "automobile" includes a car, and the definition of a "motor vehicle" includes a motorcycle. The law addresses optional coverages which must be offered to purchasers of automobile liability policies. The law does not address any legal requirements as to what optional coverages insurance companies must offer to motorcyclists. This does not mean, however, that a motorcycle owner cannot purchase optional insurance.
When determining where a moped or scooter falls under Arkansas law, it basically comes down to engine displacement as you can read in Section 27-20-101 of the Arkansas Code.
If a vehicle has an engine displacement of 250 cubic centimeters (cc) or greater, has a seat or saddle meant for riding, and is designed to travel with three or fewer vehicles on the ground, it is considered a motorcycle. If it has less than 250 cc, but fits the other criteria, it's considered a motor-driven cycle.
The law requires the AR Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) to have a system for the registration of motorcycles and motor-driven cycles.
If a vehicle it has less than 50 cc, and has an automatic transmission, it is classified as a motorized bicycle. So it would appear that your 49 cc vehicle would be categorized as a motorized bicycle by AR laws.
Section 27-20-111 gives the regulations for operating a motorized bicycle. Here it states that the operators of motorized bicycles shall be subject to all state and local traffic laws, ordinances, and regulations and that it is unlawful for any person to operate a motorized bicycle upon interstate highways, limited access highways, or sidewalks.
To operate a motorized bicycle, you'll need to be at least 10 years old and have a Motorized Bicycle Certificate. You do not however need to have this certificate if you already have a Class A, B, C, D, M, or MD license, or an Intermediate or Learner's permit.
To obtain this restricted certificate, you will need to pass the vision, knowledge, and skills test. If you have passed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Riders Course within 90 days of your MD license application, you will need to take the skills test. Without the proper certificate, operators are subject to misdemeanor penalties, and the scooter may be impounded.
If you determine that insurance is needed in your particular situation, we recommend that you purchase it, get a quote for insurance for your motor scooter here with us.