New Law Regarding Scooters


Effective January 1st, 2015, new guidelines went in to effect for scooter riders. As ABATE members, you may already be aware of the changes and have taken the necessary steps to be compliant. If you have not, let this serve as a reminder! Many riders garage their scooters during the winter months and may not have ventured to the license branch yet. There is a 30 day grace period to register, apply for license plate and apply for any necessary driving credentials.

Scooters and mopeds are now referred to as MDCs, or “motor driven cycles.” They are classified as MDC-A or MDC-B based on the engine. A motor vehicle with an engine that produces no more than 5-brake horsepower is considered MDC-A. A motor vehicle with an engine displacement that does not exceed 50ccs is classified as MDC-B. If you do not know the engine size, it is displayed on the engine or it is also in your vehicle identification number. You will need this information when you go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  Be sure to bring along proof of ownership for class A and class B vehicles. Class A requires proof of insurance; class B does not. Your general homeowner insurance will cover neither MDC-A nor MDC-B vehicles. Property coverage, as well as liability, for these types of vehicle, to be covered under a separate policy.

A driver holding a valid Indiana driver license with an unrestricted motorcycle endorsement, can operate all classes of MDCs. MDC-A  drivers must hold a valid Indiana driver license with a motorcycle A restriction or valid Indiana motorcycle learner permit. MDC-B requires that a driver be at least 15 years old, have an unexpired Indiana Identification Card with MDC-B endorsement or any valid driving credential.  New this year, Class B drivers will need to pass a road sign test. If your license is suspended or revoked, you will need to obtain a valid Indiana Identification card with MDC-B endorsement to drive a class B scooter.

Class A license plates are white with blue lettering, and Class B plates are white with red lettering. Many MDCs look alike and are difficult to differentiate. Hopefully, registering scooters and mopeds will make it easier to track them when they are lost or stolen. The statistics on stolen MDCs are staggering.

Class A cycles may have passengers if they do not obstruct the driver’s view and ride in the proper passenger seat. Class B cycles mat NOT carry passengers. The speed at which class B cycles may be driven, has been increased from 30 m.p.h. to 35 m.p.h.

The Indiana BMV has a customer service call center should you have questions regarding the new changes. That telephone number is (888) 692-6841.

Stay safe and warm this winter!

– Cynthia Bir

Are You a Snowbird About To Leave The Nest?

12twelve5Many of us, in the Midwest, head south to warm-up this time of year. Some snowbirds fly south at the first sign of snow (Halloween, this year!) or when temperatures dip below freezing. Others stay through the holiday season and migrate after the New Year begins. Either situation can lead to an extended amount of time when “nobody is home”. In the world of insurance, this is referred to as a “non-occupied’ home. A non-occupied home has appliances and at least basic furnishings so that if someone were there, they could comfortably live and reside. This differs from a vacant home. In insurance terms, a “vacant” home is pretty much empty and does not have enough of the basic furnishings to really live there. Homes that are for sale may contain appliances, but little or no furniture. These would be considered vacant properties.

Insurance companies do not insure an unoccupied home and a vacant home at the same price or coverage level. Vacant homes require a special policy and are typically more expensive than a common homeowner policy. Insurance companies view vacant homes as being a higher risk for vandalism as well as plumbing problems such as frozen pipes. Both of these types of claims can be extremely expensive!

Insurance carriers often limit the length of the policy period they may offer coverage for vacant property; often 3-6 months, maximum. Some policies offer reduced coverage if a property has been vacant or non-occupied for a designated length of time, often 90 days.

The opposite is also true! Be certain your insurance agent knows if a “winter nest” or vacation home you are insuring is a secondary or seasonal residence. The same policy provisions and/or exclusions will likely apply during the “off season” or while non-occupied. We suggest that an insured have someone designated to check the property frequently and that a minimum of 55 degrees is maintained in the property at all times.

The best advice, before you fly south, is to read over your homeowner policy and be certain you understand the provisions and exclusions. Coming home in the Spring to find out a frozen pipe claim is not covered or coverage is reduced, since the home has been non-occupied for the winter, or has not met other provisions set forth in the policy, would certainly cause any snowbird to squawk!

Protect your property and stay safe out there!

Written By: Cynthia Bir