Anyone who rides a motorcycle in Texas must be covered by motorcycle insurance, which is different from a personal auto insurance policy and carries different laws and coverage amounts than regular auto insurance. One such law is the Texas helmet law, which states that riders must wear a helmet while riding; however, there are exclusions to this law. Rider safety and how insurance companies handle such policies can differ based on motorcycle helmet use.

Helmet Laws in Texas

According to Texas Motorcycle Law, all riders and passengers of motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters of any age must wear an approved safety helmet while riding. Texas does allow for exceptions to this law and some riders can operate a motorcycle without a helmet after meeting certain requirements.

To legally ride without a helmet, a rider must be at least 21 years of age, complete a TxDOT-approved motorcycle operator training course, and have proof of sufficient health insurance to cover them in the event of an accident. The law formerly established that the rider must have a minimum of $10,000 in medical coverage. More recently, this dollar amount has been replaced by a stipulation that the rider must provide proof of coverage by a standard health insurance plan.

Motorcycle Insurance and Texas Helmet Laws

The helmet exemption that many riders exercise was designed to give riders freedom of choice as to whether or not they wish to wear a helmet. Despite the overwhelming evidence that motorcycle helmets save lives and reduce injuries, many riders still want to ride without a helmet. For those that qualify, this exemption protects motorcycle insurance companies from the cost of claims that typically involve expensive medical claims. A rider is basically stating that they have other health coverage and are personally responsible for the risk of serious injury.

Helmet exemptions used to be noted with an exemption sticker. Since the law on health insurance requirements has changed, the helmet exemption sticker was removed at that time. Now, any rider wishing to ride without a helmet must provide proof of appropriate health insurance to the agency that is providing their motorcycle insurance. An insurance card will be issued that includes the statement “MOTORCYCLE HEALTH” or a similar phrase citing that the rider is exempt from the helmet law.

It is unlawful for a motorcycle rider to be stopped by police solely because they are not wearing a helmet, to determine if they have completed a motorcycle operator training course, or to meet helmet exemption qualifications. Insurance agencies that offer personal auto insurance and motorcycle insurance strongly recommend that riders of motorcycles and similar vehicles use approved protective helmets. No matter who ends up financially responsible for injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident, helmets prevent serious brain injuries and help save lives. Even though a helmet exemption exists, riders can only be as safe as possible by wearing a helmet!

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