Can You Purchase A Motorcycle Without A License?

Buying a motorcycle is unbelievably exciting and riding one is even more exciting. In order to ride a motorcycle, you’ll need more than just a regular driver’s license. You will need a motorcycle license. This usually raises some questions regarding the buying process. 

A lot of people may wonder if they need to have a motorcycle license first before they buy it. You can buy a motorcycle without a motorcycle license. You aren’t required to show a motorcycle license at the dealership or during private sales. It is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a license, though.

you can purchase a motorcycle without a license. You can even obtain a loan to purchase a motorcycle without a motorcycle license, but you have to be 18 years old. 

There are plenty of laws relating to motorcycles and riding them, so it’s no wonder that people assume there may be restrictions when buying one. However, there’s no law that requires you to prove you have a license before purchasing one. You buy as many of them as you want, but you can’t drive them on the road without a motorcycle license. 

What Do You Need To Purchase A Motorcycle?

Even though a motorcycle license isn’t required to purchase a motorcycle, there are a couple of things you will need. First, you will need the funds to make the purchase, obviously.

Next, you’ll need a photo I.D., which can be your standard driver’s license, just to verify your identity. The dealers and sellers only care about getting the money for the motorcycle, so the legality of being able to actually ride it means nothing to them. 

Can You Get A Loan?

Yes, you can get a loan as long as you’re 18 years or older. Banks generally don’t require that a person shows their motorcycle license to obtain a loan, but they will require you to have a driver’s license. Additionally, banks will require you to have motorcycle insurance because they give you the loan.

This is to protect their investment and ensure the person they loan the money to is being responsible for the motorcycle. 

Can You Register A Motorcycle Without A License?

It depends on the state you live in. Many states, such as California, do not require motorcycle buyers to have a valid motorcycle license to register their bikes. Other states won’t be so generous. 

Even states that don’t require a motorcycle license to register a bike will require proof of insurance. However, it’s rare that companies will offer coverage to riders without a motorcycle license. There are select companies that will bypass that rule, so it’s best not to rely on this as an option. 

Can You Buy Motorcycle Insurance Without A License?

Generally, no. Most insurance companies use your motorcycle license to determine your rates. You may have a tough time locating an insurance company that accepts unlicensed motorcyclists. You could try speaking with a representative to find out if they will insure you without a license. 

There are a couple of other things you can try to do to obtain coverage such as; 

  • Exclude yourself: Don’t put yourself on the policy yet. But if you do that, you won’t be insured to ride your motorcycle without a license. Once you obtain the license, you can update your policy information. 
  • Name An Alternate: If you can’t find an insurance company that doesn’t require a license first, you can choose to name a relative or friend as the primary driver of the motorcycle. 
  • Wait: We know, it sounds silly, but the best thing you can do is simply store your bike until you obtain your license, and then insure it. 

Your insurance company may see you as an increased risk if you name yourself as the main driver without a license. So you should expect to pay a hefty premium. It may even result in a 20 to 100 percent increase on your insurance policy. 

Once you are ready to get your insurance, the coverage will depend on your usage of the bike. If you have a suspended license and still want to meet your state’s requirements, you can get minimum coverage (liability). If you name another person as the main driver, then you might not have to include additional coverages such as collision, property damage liability, bodily injury liability, or non-collision. 

How to Get Your Motorcycle License

If you’re ready to get your motorcycle license or have to in order to register your bike, here’s how to do it. 

First, you have to take a road test. This will be supervised by an official from your local DMV. If you don’t have a regular license, you may have to take a written road rules exam before your test. You may not even have to take a test if you’re an adult rider who already has a motorcycle permit, as long as you pass a skills test on a closed course that’s approved by your state’s regulators. 

How Long Does It Take?

The time it takes to get your license depends on a variety of factors, such as your age and riding experience. If you’re an experienced driver who already has a permit, you can have your motorcycle license shortly after you pass the road test. 

However, it could take longer for inexperienced drivers to get their license. Riders who are under 18 are required to carry a learner’s permit before they can get their motorcycle license in many states. They will usually have to accrue a set of hours on the road, just like you would before you obtain a driver’s license. 

Here’s a breakdown of each state and its required age to obtain a motorcycle license; 

Nevada16LinkNew Hampshire16LinkNew Jersey17Link
New Mexico15LinkNew York17LinkNorth Carolina16Link
North Dakota14LinkOhio16LinkOklaho.16Link
Oregon16LinkPenn.16LinkRhode Island16Link
South Carolina15LinkSouth Dakota16LinkTenn.16Link
Virgnia16LinkWashington16LinkWest Virginia16Link

*Kentucky can be 16 with a valid driver’s license*

*New Mexico can be 13 for a junior license*

*New York can be 16 for a junior license*

How Much Is It?

Each state is different, but it could cost between $25 to over $100 for a motorcycle license. If you obtain your permit before a license, you’ll have to pay an additional application fee, which is required for a full motorcycle license. In some states, younger applicants will have to pay $30 or more for a certification. 

What Happens If You Drive Without A Motorcycle License?

In most states, driving a motorcycle without a license and getting caught will cost you fines and even jail time. If you were caught in California driving without a motorcycle license, it could result in a fine up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.

Some states are more relaxed when it comes to penalties, but it’s ultimately not a good idea to drive any vehicle without the appropriate license. Repeat offenders will find that fines and punishments will accumulate with each offense. 

Should You Wait to Buy A Motorcycle?

Now that you have a good idea of what it takes to obtain your motorcycle license in each state, you may be wondering whether or not you should wait until after you have the license to purchase a motorcycle. Even though there’s no law that states you have to wait, you should know that motorcycles aren’t cheap.

It may be considerably less stressful to invest the money into it after you have the license. If you’re still learning to ride on an expensive bike, you may be disappointed when it gets a few scratches and dings along the way from accidental dropping due to inexperience. 

There is the other option of buying a cheaper bike first and using that one to practice while you have your permit. This is the route taken most often by new motorcycle drivers. 

Bottom Line

The takeaway here is that you absolutely do not need a motorcycle license to purchase a motorcycle, but you do need one to drive it. Before you purchase a motorcycle, be sure you really want to make that decision. A lot of people choose to practice on a cheaper motorcycle and then buy a more expensive one. Remember to check with your state’s laws before you commit to purchasing a motorcycle. 

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