Purchasing a motorcycle and needing insurance but not yet having a valid license is a common situation for many riders. While most states require proof of insurance to register a motorcycle, licensing requirements vary. Fortunately, there are still options to obtain coverage even if you don’t have a license. This article outlines the best approaches to secure motorcycle insurance without a license.
Overview of Motorcycle Insurance and License Regulations
According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly all states require some form of liability insurance for motorcycles, with minimum coverage levels varying by state. At the same time, 48 states mandate motorcycle licenses to legally ride.
So while owning a bike without a license is allowed, operating one on public roads generally requires licensure. Failing to meet these regulations can result in fines, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, or even jail time if caught riding uninsured or unlicensed.
Insuring Your Motorcycle Without a License
Given the complex legal requirements, many wonder if buying motorcycle insurance without a license is possible. The answer is yes – motorcycle policies can be obtained without having a valid license in most cases.
However, approval often depends on the specific insurer’s underwriting guidelines. Some carriers view unlicensed owners as higher risk and may charge more or decline coverage. But other insurers offer more flexibility.
Here are some top options for securing coverage without a motorcycle license:
Shop Specialty Insurers
Niche motorcycle insurance providers like Dairyland and Pronto Insurance understand unlicensed owners’ needs. They reward smart decisions like taking safety courses and belonging to riding groups with policy discounts. Often more motorcycle-friendly than large national insurers, specialty carriers should be your first stop.
Seek an Experienced Agent
Independent insurance agents who specialize in motorcycle policies will know the most accommodating regional and national carriers for your situation. Leveraging their expertise and industry relationships can help find an insurer willing to underwrite an unlicensed buyer. Trusted Choice connects with top local agents.
Insure Under an Existing Policy
If you live with a licensed rider, consider adding the motorcycle to their insurance policy temporarily. This satisfies proof of insurance requirements for registration while buying you time to obtain a license. Just ensure the primary driver has the skill and experience to safely operate the new motorcycle make and model.
Explore Liability-Only Coverage
Comprehensive and collision insurance can be costlier for unlicensed owners. But basic liability insurance only covers damage you cause to others. This pared-down coverage costs less, satisfies state minimums, and may be easier to qualify for. Just understand it won’t pay for repairs to your own bike.
Key Factors That Impact Motorcycle Insurance Rates
Insurers weigh several criteria when pricing motorcycle policies, especially for unlicensed owners. Being aware of these rating factors can help secure the best rate:
- Driving and credit history: Insurers often review auto driving records and credit scores even for motorcycle policies. Poor histories flag higher risk.
- Motorcycle type: Sport bikes and superbikes have higher accident rates than cruisers and trigger increased premiums.
- Intended use: Policies for recreational pleasure riding cost less than motorcycle commuting use policies.
- Coverage limits and deductibles: Lower liability limits and higher deductibles reduce premium costs. Consider state minimums and budget to optimize value.
- Discounts: Take motorcycle safety courses, buy multiple bikes, or join a riding association to qualify for many discounts.
Getting Licensed After Buying Insurance
For riders purchasing a motorcycle before completing licensing requirements, most states oblige getting licensed within 10-30 days. Failing to fulfill this expectation can prompt policy cancellation.
Once ready to get licensed, riders must pass written and on-cycle tests. Some states mandate completing motorcycle safety courses beforehand. Visit your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website for license application and testing steps.
Acquiring motorcycle insurance without holding a valid license is achievable through specialty insurers, agents, existing policies, limited coverage, and factor optimization. While licensing delays are permitted, completing state testing and approval requirements in a timely manner is critical for continuing coverage and legal riding. Review your state’s regulations and seek an experienced professional’s advice to ensure adequate protection.