Can I Buy a Motorcycle & Insurance Without a License? (Full Guide)


People tend to ask a number of questions before buying a motorcycle, some of these are usually about acquiring a motorcycle license. Many times, it is about people wondering whether it is a requirement by law for one to have a motorcycle license in the first place.

The essence of buying a motorcycle does not mean that the buyer has the intention to ride or become a regular rider. You could be just buying a bike to be used as a garage display, or perhaps as a gift to someone who has a license.

No License, You Can Still Buy a Motorcycle

There are a number of laws relating to motorcycle use on the national roads. Driving and riding are two things that are only permitted by law through state-given licenses. Perhaps this is the reason why may people wonder whether the law requires a license before you can buy a motorcycle.

However, there are no laws relating to the purchase of motorcycles. This is why vendors will never ask you about a license. Whether you will walk the bike home or have somebody ride it home on your behalf or whether you have been licensed and can ride safely home, nobody really cares.

Of course, there may be some rules when it comes to buying a motorcycle. However, having a license is not one of them.

Age restrictions keep you out of a motorcycle retail shop. This is because for instance when buying a motorcycle, you may need a National Identification Document for the paperwork.

It is worthy to note that you may not use a regular driver’s license to operate a motorcycle. If you try this and you get pulled over, you may be slapped with hefty fines. In addition, it may be very risky to cause an accident without a rider’s license as this may attract an enormous lawsuit.

Can you get a motorcycle loan without a license?

Perhaps you don’t have enough savings to make a motorcycle purchase. However, you could get a loan. The question is, does one require a motorcycle license in order to buy a motorcycle using a loan? The answer is NO. Having said that, different banks have different caveats that govern what people can buy using a loan. It is more rewarding to visit the bank and collect the right information about the use of loans.

In general, buying a motorcycle from a bank loan without a motorcycle riding license should not be a problem. Banks are business enterprises, and as much as they are compliant with the laws of the land, they do not have any policy barring buyers from acquiring loans without a license.

If anyone has a good banking history, has a strong bank statement or has presented good collateral, they will immediately qualify for a bank loan. None of the banks long paper works will ever require you to show or produce a motorcycle license before you can apply for a loan to buy a bike. You must be above the age of 18 because children are not allowed to transact with a bank by themselves. Which means you will be required to produce your national Identification Document or Passport.

On the other hand, banks are very much concerned about the investments they engage in. In this regard, they will always require that you have motorcycle insurance. As much as this gives them the assurance that their investment is secure and protected, they need to be equally sure that you will be responsible with the motorcycle.

Buying A Motorcycle Without A License

Any plans to operate the machine without a motorcycle license should be ruled out as this may lead you to serious trouble in case you are pulled over by police.

The best way to handle this scenario, especially if you are buying from a dealer, is to make arrangements with them or simply inquire earlier about their delivery services.

Motorcycles can be easily trailered or towed with a motorcycle carrier. If this option is not available to you, then you can bring along a riding friend. But be sure that your friend has adequate or superior riding experience.

Also always ensure you call to inform your insurance policy provider immediately you acquire the bike in order to acquire a policy alongside it before you ride it home.

Do I Need A Motorcycle License To Register A Motorcycle?

Apart from having enough money to complete the purchase, there are usually a number of legal requirements before you can register a motorcycle.

Just to mention, some of the requirements one may need to fulfil before you can be allowed to register a motorcycle have been discussed below:

Outstanding issues: Clearing your name before attempting to register a motorcycle will come in handy to help you secure the registration process much easily and quicker. Ensure that you don’t have any pending property taxes or insurance lapses among other things that may pull your registration process back.

Documentation: These are the key documents that one will require before any motorcycle registration can be initiated; among them are:

  1. Proof of insurance: Your insurance will include information such as your official name among other policy details.
  2. Identification: This is the detail of your name, residence, nationality, identification number among other details. These details will help the registering authority to identify the person registering the machine.
  3. Bill of sale: This will be required for motorcycles that have been recently purchased.
  4. Proof of ownership: Before you register any motorcycle, you will always be required to prove you own the machine.
  5. Payment: Motorcycle registration is charged between 133 dollars to 143 dollars, non-alien and alien respectively. You will therefore need to be prepared to remit this payment in order to process the registration.
  6. Completed registration form: You will be required to write down your details, especially your identification information.This is the form that will carry your request for registration bearing your name and other identification together with identification details of the motorcycle you are registering.

Appointment with a DMV office: With one appointment, you will be in a position to register or even perform motorcycle transfer.

Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License?

You might be interested in getting motorcycle insurance even if you don’t have a license for the following reasons:

  • If you win a vintage bike and you are not really interested in driving it. In this case, you may pick up a primary driver, which means, you will still need to insure the bike. However you do not intend to ride it.
  • Suspended license. In this scenario, you may have the bike operated by a third party who has a valid license; however, the bike still requires a valid insurance cover.
  • You have bought a motorcycle in your name but for another driver. This will most likely occur if you buy a bike for a family member as a gift or reward.
  • You bought a motorcycle before receiving your license. The motorcycle will need to get insured anyway.

If you are not licensed or do not have a driver’s license, can you still buy insurance. But getting covered without a motorcycle riding license may be complicated. This is generally because the insurance companies rely on riding records of drivers to be able to determine policy rates.

In addition, getting an insurance agency that accepts to insure a rider without a valid driving license may be difficult. However, a number of motorcycle insurance companies will still give you riding licenses without caring about your license to ride the bike.

On the other hand, it is no use to think that buying an insurance policy without a riding license permits you to ride a motorcycle without a license anyway. If you do not intend to drive or operate the vehicle, make sure the person you entrust to operate it has been licensed to ride motorcycles of the class you intend to buy. In many states, it is now a requirement that students pass both skills-based test and a written test.

For this reason, a number of insurance policy providers will ask for your motorcycle riding license before processing your insurance. This information is important to the companies especially to be able to monitor or study your riding history which helps them to determine your risk potential.

Drivers with a reckless riding history can therefore be easily identified from their license number and thus the company will be in a position to make the decision of whether to issue or decline your policy request. This is not easy without a license and therefore many insurance companies may hesitate to give you a policy.

Nevertheless, people can still navigate their way into acquiring insurance policies without a driver’s license. Here are some cases where that can be a viable path:

1. People Living With Disabilities

People with disability have unique benefits when it comes to state services. If you are one, you will be in a position to get an insurance cover for your motorcycle. However, you will have to prove that you will never be the one operating it. You will, in this regard, be required to list a primary rider who is licensed to ride a motorcycle.

In other words, you can still get driven around by a licensed rider. Which means you will need to get insurance for the bike as the owner, but get driven on it by a different person who owns a driver’s license.

Having said that, the cost of the insurance policy you will be required to pay will solely depend on the risk level of the primary driver you pick. This means, you will need to have proper assessment of the person you pick, since his or her riding history will directly impact your policy costs.

2. International Driving Permit

If you are an immigrant moving into a foreign country, you may not be in possession of a relevant driver’s license. However, as a driver, you may still get interested in buying and riding a motorcycle instead of relying on another rider all the time. This is where an International Driving Permit comes to play.

If you are moving into the country from outside as a foreigner, you will need to show your IDP. On top of this, all individuals from outside the country will be required to have an ID card.

3. Suspended License

For a number of reasons, your driving license may be suspended. If this happens, you will automatically be required by your State Department of Motor Vehicles to get insurance cover before your license can be reinstated.

In addition, insurers will still need to assess your suspended license in order to get a true picture of your risks. This means you will still need to provide your license number in the process. This will therefore inform the kind of policy you get.

If you are not within any of the three ranges, you may need to engage an insurance company representative just to get first hand information whether or not you can be assisted to get covered. For some companies, you will be required to have territorial ID or a provincial one to get yourself covered.

Let’s examine some of the ways one can increase their chances of qualifying for a policy cover even without a motorcycle riding license.

  • Wait: If your license got suspended and that is the reason why you are not in apposition to get covered, it is advisable that you wait until this is reinstated. On the other hand, if you can not be insured because you are yet to get your license, wait. It’s advisable to wait until you pass the test. Of course, you may be required to pay a little more or above the normal rates if you allow your insurance cover to delay. However, the process will be much easier with a license than without one.
  • Exclude yourself: This step works best if you really need to get a policy but your risk level is so high. It can also be used by drivers whose licenses have expired but are yet to be renewed, those whose licenses have been lost and those who are planning to engage a primary rider.
  • Pick a primary driver: Naming a primary rider means that the insurance company will use this person’s records to establish the cost of your insurance policy. It is therefore recommended that you choose a safe rider with minimal file cases and high-endriding experience.

Is Insurance Too Costly Without A License?

Considering the instances where one can get an insurance without a license, would it be too costly as a result? As mentioned already, insurance policies are greatly influenced by a number of factors. These are:

  • Your credit scores
  • Location
  • Value of the motorcycle to be insured
  • Your driving records
  • Claims history
  • Age and gender

You can therefore considerably lower the insurance rates for your motorcycle by increasing your credit scores, filing a lower number of claims, insuring a cheaper bike and practicing defensive driving.

Therefore, can you get a motorcycle insurance without a license? From the discussion above, it is very clear that the chances of getting a motorcycle insurance without a license are very slim. Most commonly, it’s not easy to get an insurance cover without a valid riding license.

As a result, many people are required to register for testing first. This is usually done through the local Department of Motor Vehicles. Once you enroll and pass the test, you will be issued with a valid driving license,after which you can be insured.

You should also note that any attempt to use someone else’s license to acquire an insurance cover is illegal and may land you into serious criminal charges. Never try to fake any personal information in order to get insured. Learn safe riding, pass the test, get licensed and get insured.

No License, What Should I Watch Out For?

If you are unlicensed, here are the few situations to watch out for:

  • Operating a motorcycle without a license: As discussed, you may acquire motorcycle insurance even without a license. However, this is not a guarantee to drive a motorcycle without a license. Remember this is an offence and may result in hefty criminal charges.
  • Getting your license: In order to get your license without delay, always contact your policy provider or company especially if you have excluded yourself.
  • Insuring underage drivers: You are not allowed to list a young driver as your primary driver. If you do this, then your policy will be charged at a higher rate. However, it is possible to keep a younger person as an alternative driver while having a legally permitted driver as key primary driver.
  • Driving even after you have excluded yourself: if you exclude yourself from an insurance policy, then you stop receiving any coverage from it. If you go ahead to ride the bike even after excluding yourself, you will be compelled to pay for the damages by yourself.

Therefore, Should I Get A Motorcycle License?

As a rule of thumb, it’s a good thing to get well prepared before you make any investment. It is advisable to acquire motorcycle insurance. However, there is no law requiring that you have a license beforehand.

On the other hand, you may have to look at the value of the investment you are making. If you are thinking about a very expensive bike, say above 10,000 dollars, then a motorcycle license is really a must have. Remember also that a number of people also choose to buy the motorcycle first. Once they have the bike, then they proceed to acquire the permit later. Just be sure to get the license sooner rather than later.

Luka Barron

Motorcycle mechanic, writer and Heineken lover. A bit like Hank Moody on a Suzuki.

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