Rhode Island - Companies will not insure!


New Member
Local time
1:06 AM
Jul 6, 2008
Rhode Island
Hi there,

Have been looking at a Staton friction drive Robin four stroke system. After three weeks of research, this is the one that fits both my budget and my needs. Before the purchase, I spent four hours on the phone with "representatives" from both RI DMV and my insurance company in an attempt to do the right thing before purchasing, installing, and driving my gas/enviroment saving, carbon footprint reducing, car wear & tear stopping, money in the bank motorized bicycle.

In speaking with the "Inforcement" department of the RI DMV (they called back four times after digging thru the laws), motor assisted bicycles in RI are classified as Mopeds. Mopeds in RI need to be registered. $27.50 for two years - no problem. In order to register however, the "moped" needs to be insured. Called my insurance company (AAA) for a quote. Keep in mind, I have my Corolla, Tundra, Miata, RV, and home owners on their policy.

After 45 minutes of providing details, they quoted me $187 per year for a $110K/$300K policy which ends up at $15 per month. Sweet, add in registration and thats $16 per month to have it all legal, or like 4 gals of gas in the gas cars - no brainer.

The insurance company then calls back to say the manager has reviewed the quote and determined they will not issue a policy on such a kit. Same story for three other insurance companies. Real moped - yes. Motor installed on a bicycle - nope.

So how's that. Attemping to do the right thing in the right way only to have the door shut. I'm not about to make issues with my local boys in blue, and have too much to loose to disregard the laws hoping not to get caught.

Anyone have success insuring their rig? If so, with whom?

Best regards, Jeff the bike peddler & car driver
Hi Jeff --- well, even here in Calif (known for tight laws) no insurance needed.. You might want to try a motor cycle insurance co.. Letting them know your small cc count -- should't cost very much. Doesn't seem right - that it should be so hard !!! Mountainman
Did DMV mention anything about a VIN for the bike. Since bicycles don't have a VIN. They would either have to make one up; use the serial no.; or forget it. I would keep after them and try to get different reps. each time. OR, ask for that person's supervisor. Then try with their's and so on till you get a REAL answer from Mr. Big or Mr. Bigger. Also, nothing verbal or over the phone is worth a poop. Get it in writing and signed by a higher up if need be. Even if you have to go there in person. Insurancewise, check with RI state ins. commisioner's office for their input/requirements.
OR go stealth, pay attention, and try to stay under the radar.
Oh! BTW. If you feel you absolutely HAVE to go "legal", there are a few other factors in registering. Now you'll most likely have to have all the Federal DOT equipment. I.E. mirrors, front and rear turn signals, brake lights, front and rear lighting, horn, blah, blah, blah,. Sickitating, ain't it?
Most states have procedures to get a VIN created/assigned to a vehicle. (Kit cars, for instance, are built by the owners, one at a time.) The same process would apply.
As I have said before - its a pushbike - the only difference between an MB and a normal bikes performance is that both can make the same speed you just have to be ultra fit to do it on the non-MB.

So why on earth would you want to insure it?

I have no other transport than my bike - I *should* have it insured and gods know what else. But I am not gonna go through the rigmarole (that would cost £££) to change fixtures and fittings and add all sorts just because it has an engine.

I have ridden for two years without issue. And more to the point, who are you gonna hit? A pedestrian with half a brain will both see and hear you coming - and if you collide with a car its pretty academic since the driver will be insured and it'll most likely be their fault.

Personally, I would just build and ride and keep to the rules of the road. This insurance lark is another case of gouge the consumer and the health and safety thing gone mad..

anyways, rant over lol - happy riding

Jemma xx
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Thanks for the feedback gang,

After talking to one of the big companies, they suggested I contact an insurance broker. Found a guy here in state. Gave all the detail I could including the bicycle make/model, engine size, and the VIN stamped to the bike. He called back later that day telling me no dice on a motorized bike.

Well, same broker called back this morning and found a policy. He said the company (Northern Insurance Co - Progressive Drive) was willing to take the 13 digit VIN and add four ones to the end giving them the 17 digits they needed. The broker told me they would then put the "actual" 13 digit VIN in the comments section of the policy. The cc's had to be rounded up from 33.5 to 34 as well.

It's a 100/300 pollicy with uninsured motorist coverage and a $200 deductable for $141 per year.

So I'm back in game and ordering my kit today. Nice start to the weekend! Now on to the DMV...

In anyone needs this brokers phone number, please feel free to send me a PM.

Thanks. Jeff
I'm with Jemma on this one. Sucks to the establishment!
Whoa, there's that '60s feeling again.
Well I'm from Rhode Island also, I just hope the cops wont pull me over because I'm 15 and its not registered either. For something to be registered as a moped doesnt it have to have turning signals, headlight breaklight horn all the stuff?
jboisclair -- I think that it depends on where you live --- I am thinking that I wish for my MB to be treated as a bicycle -- so except for the engine -- license plate ordered -- I am not adding anything... All sounds good - until - the pooolice say different !!! Then I guess I am off to visit the judge !!! I got pulled over when I was around your age -- many years ago - on a 50cc -- first time - under age - no drivers license - what can the courts really do ? Judge I was on a motorized (very small engine) bicycle -- top speed ? HAVE MERCY !!! Happy Riding from - Mountainman