Motorcycle insurance and licensing are so related that most people believe they need one to get the other. But given that state laws differ, can you get motorcycle insurance without a license?
Technically, you can get motorcycle insurance without a license, provided you are not planning to drive the bike. For instance, you can get insurance unlicensed if your motorcycle is vintage/garaged or when buying the bike for someone else.
Other cases include when you have a suspended driver’s license, an international driving permit (IDP), or a disability that prevents you from obtaining the license.
Note that you may need a motorcycle permit before you can get insurance. But overall, having a motorcycle license can help you obtain a lower-premium package. If you ride the motorcycle, it’ll cover you against the risks and avoid expensive penalties.
Let’s dig deeper to understand when you don’t need a license to get motorcycle insurance, how to get motorcycle insurance with a license, and the cost of doing it, among other information.
When Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License?
While a motorcycle license is highly advisable when getting motorcycle insurance, it’s not mandatory in every situation. Here are some exceptions:
1. When Buying a Motorcycle for Someone Else
A license is essential when you are the one going to ride a motorcycle. You don’t need a license if you are getting the bike for a friend, colleague, or family member.
After all, insurance covers the rider against potential risks. Accordingly, it’s the recipient who should take the initiative of getting a permit and license if they plan to ride immediately.
2. When You Have a Vintage Motorcycle
Vintage motorcycles are rarely ridden. They are often seen as statement pieces or collectibles.
You don’t need a license to obtain insurance coverage for your antique bike. However, it is advisable to insure them against vandalism, theft, fire, and other storage-related risks.
3. When Your Motorcycle is Always Garaged
Like it is for vintage motorcycles, you don’t need a license to insure a garaged bike. After all, the chances are that the motorbike is garaged because you no longer ride it.
You’ll need car-park insurance to protect it against vandalism, theft, falling objects, rodent damage, and theft.
4. When You Have an International Driving Permit
Foreign drivers typically have an International Driving Permit (IDP) that exempts them from obtaining a motorcycle license before getting insurance. IDP also goes by the name International Driving License (IDL).
Note, however, that not every state recognizes IDLs. In others, you need to exchange an IDP for a local driver’s license.
5. When a Disability Prevents You from Driving
If you have a physical disability that prevents you from driving a car, then the chances are that you cannot drive a motorcycle.
As a result, you don’t need to provide a license before getting insurance for a motorcycle.
It doesn’t make sense to take a cover that won’t protect you. In that case, the insurance policy will cover the person you name as the driver.
When is a Motorcycle License Necessary for Obtaining Insurance?
As for insurance companies, a license represents a lower risk. You are likely to pay a lower premium than an unlicensed motorcycle owner.
Insurance companies see unlicensed riders as a higher risk, which means they may reject your insurance policy application or slap you with a high-premium package.
Risks of Riding an Unlicensed Motorcycle
You may also lose your motorcycle or have to get a new one, which can be expensive. And since it’s illegal to ride a motorbike on public roads without insurance, you may be prosecuted, heavily fined, and even jailed.
How Much is Motorcycle Insurance?
The cost of obtaining motorcycle insurance in the US differs from state to state. Usually, it can range between $14 and $100 monthly or even more if you have no license.
For example, in Arkansas and Alabama, monthly insurance premiums cost about $14.97, which is about $179.62 annually.
How to Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License
Essentially, it takes the steps below to get motorcycle insurance without a license.
Step 1: Contact insurance companies: It starts with identifying a few motorcycle insurance providers to study their offers.
Step 2: Compare their rates: Take time to analyze their rates and packages to see what suits you.
Step 3: Take advantage of discounts: If there are any discounts, take advantage of them to save on your premiums.
Step 4: Choose one provider: Once you find an insurance provider you like and they have reasonable rates, settle on them. It’s, however, essential to exclude yourself when naming the primary driver when taking the insurance policy and name someone else, preferably one with a valid motorcycle license.
Types of Coverage to Get Without a License
Here are some notable coverages you may need when applying for motorcycle insurance:
- Property-Damage Liability: It covers damage caused by your motorcycle to people’s property.
- Comprehensive Cover: It covers your bike against non-collision risks, such as theft and vandalism.
- Collision Cover: It covers your motorcycle from out-of-pocket repairs.
- Bodily Injury Cover: It covers the rider and passenger’s medical bills.
You must have a permit, an endorsement, or a valid motorcycle license to obtain motorcycle insurance before riding because the law doesn’t allow you to ride an uninsured motorbike.
If it’s for any other reason that does not name you as the primary rider, then the license is not mandatory for the insurance. But again, you can negotiate better premiums with a license than without it.
People Also Ask
After looking at when you need or may not need a license to obtain motorcycle insurance, we gathered the following top questions.
Can I Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License in California?
Yes, you can get motorcycle insurance without a license in California. However, not all insurance companies allow you to do that. You may have to contact them individually and explain your case.
Can I Ride a Motorcycle with Car Insurance?
You can only use your car license to ride a motorcycle off-road or a 125cc scooter on the road. Other than that, you’ll need a motorcycle-specific license to ride a motorcycle.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Motorcycle License?
It takes at least six months to obtain a motorcycle-only license in most cases.
The process is a bit lengthy as you must get a motorcycle permit and retain it for three months if you are over 21 and for six months if you are below 21 years old. The wait time to take the full-motorcycle license test is only 20 days in some states.
Despite the holding time required for the permit, even before the waiting period is over, you can take the motorcycle safety course in about two days and obtain your course-completion card and motorcycle safety certificate.
The safety certificate is valid for up to two years, during which your permit will have matured, and you should have obtained your motorcycle-only driver’s license.
The good thing here is that in most states, the local Department of Motor Vehicles recognizes the MSF course and tests, meaning you’ll be exempted from the state’s motorcycle riding skills test required to obtain a motorbike license. This saves you some time.