Question: In Rhode Island, do you need insurance for a 50cc scooter/moped?
Answer: The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) states that motorcycles and mopeds must be registered with the DMV. Registration renewal fee is $27.50 for two years. Mopeds do not require a special license, but you must have a RI driver's license to operate one. Mopeds are not permitted on Interstate highways.
Since March 2006, operators of motor scooters with engines smaller than 50 cubic centimeters and that do not exceed 30 mph are only required to have a valid driver's license. But operators of motor scooters that exceed 30 miles per hour and are over 50 cubic centimeters must still take a course and a test to get a motorcycle license.
Rhode Island General Law 31-19.1-1 concerns the license required to operate varies vehicles. Here it notes that no person shall operate a motorized bicycle or motor scooter upon a highway in this state unless the person has a valid license as an operator under the provisions of chapter 10 of this title and shall be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
Rhode Island General Laws 31-3-2.2 is titled Registration of motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and motorized tricycles. Here it states under subsection (a) Every motorcycle, motorized bicycle, and motorized tricycle owned by a resident of this state shall be subject to the registration provisions of chapters 3 - 9 of this title whether the motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motorized tricycle is operated or drawn upon a highway within this state or upon private property.
Since registration of motor scooters, moped is required they must also have insurance on them. As the RI registration form states on it that "the undersigned swears that, in compliance with Title 31, Chapter 47 of the General Laws, Motor and Other Vehicles, known as the Motor Vehicles Reparations Act, he/she will not operate or allow to be operated the motor vehicle described in the registration nor other motor vehicle unless all such motor vehicles are covered for financial security.
You must show proof of insurance when you register your moped or motor scooter. Rhode Island state law requires minimum liability insurance of $25,000 per injured person up to a total of $50,000 per accident, and property damage liability coverage with a minimum limit of $25,000. This basic coverage is often referred to as 25/50/25 coverage with 25/50 UM limits.
Rhode Island state law requires a minimum uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person up to a total of $50,000 per accident for any bodily injury caused by the uninsured and/or underinsured driver.
Part of the Rhode Island law (31-47-2) defines motor vehicle as every vehicle required to display registration plates for operation upon public highways of this state. Thus, a moped, motor scooter or motorized bicycle would count as a motor vehicle that was required to be registered and insured.
You should check what your category your vehicle falls under as well. The RI DMV should help you determine the right category if you cannot so you know what to register it as and to determine if you can drive it with just a normal driver's license or if you will need a motorcycle license. These definitions given under RI General Law 31-1-3 may help you:
(j) "Motorcycle" means only those motor vehicles having not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground and a saddle on which the driver sits astride, except bicycles with helper motors as defined in subsection ( l ) of this section.
(k) "Motor-driven cycle" means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor of no greater than five (5) horsepower, except bicycles with helper motors as defined in subsection ( l ) of this section.
(l) "Motorized bicycles" means two (2) wheel vehicles which may be propelled by human power or helper power, or by both, with a motor rated not more than four and nine-tenths (4.9) horsepower and not greater than fifty (50) cubic centimeters, which are capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour.
(ee) "Motor scooter" means a motor-driven cycle with a motor rated not more than four and nine-tenths (4.9) horsepower and not greater than fifty (50) cubic centimeters, which is capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour.