Whether it’s for you or someone else, buying a motorcycle can be a bit of a daunting experience.
This is especially true if it’s for the first time or if you don’t have a license.
But yes, you can buy a motorcycle without a license.
In this article, we’ll explore buying a motorcycle without a license, whether it’s possible, and your buying options.
Do You Need A License To Buy A Motorcycle?
Before we delve into the answer you’re looking for, it’s worth noting that, in the United States, you can legally own a motorcycle without a license.
But riding it isn’t possible unless you have a motorcycle endorsement.
Dealerships and private sellers generally won’t ask you for your motorcycle license, but you’re legally obligated to have it before doing a riding test.
So, yes, you can buy a motorcycle without a license, but you can’t ride off into the sunset until you have the license to do so.
Being able to ride a motorcycle is a matter of getting a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, which entails you passing both a written test and a riding competency test.
In some U.S. states, it’s possible to get a motorcycle endorsement without taking either of the aforementioned tests and using a regular driver’s license.
You can confirm the local laws with the appropriate DMV office.
The Process Of Buying A Motorcycle
As we said, for some people buying a motorcycle can be somewhat unnerving, but this is only the case if you don’t have the requisite knowledge surrounding the process.
Here are the processes surrounding buying a motorcycle from a dealership and from a private seller.
Buying a motorcycle from a dealership
The first step is always identifying the motorcycle you’re interested in.
If you don’t already have one in mind, you can look online or visit a dealership where a salesperson can provide you with some guidance.
After you’ve settled on the bike you want, you’ll need to negotiate the price with the dealer and proceed with the purchase once satisfied.
After the sale has been completed, the dealer will give you a bill of sale and title, after which you’ll be responsible for registering the vehicle in the relevant name and settling any applicable taxes.
You’ll also have to take out motorcycle insurance.
This can be done either through an insurance company or through the dealer.
Buying a motorcycle from a private seller
As you might expect, buying a motorcycle from a private seller, is a slightly different experience from buying from motorcycle dealers.
After you know which bike you have your heart set on, you simply need to negotiate a price and complete the sale.
Private sellers generally might not have a formal process, but they should provide you with a bill of sale, after which you can register the vehicle and pay the applicable taxes.
Will I Need Proof of Insurance?
You don’t need a motorcycle license to buy a motorcycle.
But, you most likely need motorcycle insurance.
If you pay cash for the cycle and are not driving it off the lot, you might not need to show proof of insurance.
However, if you are paying with a loan, the lender will require proof of insurance.
Can I Drive a Motorcycle Without a License?
Without a valid motorcycle license, you can get into legal trouble if you drive one.
A typical driver’s license is only valid for driving passenger cars or trucks. If you drive a motorcycle without a license and get caught, you could face hefty fines.
Along with fines, you could also face lawsuits for driving without a license.
If you get into an accident while driving without a license, the accident victims could sue you.
Therefore, if you buy a motorcycle without a license, you should figure out a legal way to get the cycle home.
Do You Need A Different License For Mopeds and Scooters?
Luckily, once you’ve obtained a valid motorcycle license, you won’t need to have a different license to drive a moped or scooter, as they’re in the same vehicle classification as motorcycles.
However, if you have a license from another country, you’ll need to get yourself an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).
If you’re planning on operating your motorcycle in a different state, always bear in mind that different states have different rules when it comes to motorcycle licenses and purchasing, so always check them before riding or getting an endorsement.
How To Get A Motorcycle Endorsement
The first step to getting your full motorcycle permit is obtaining a motorcycle learner’s permit.
To get a learner’s permit, you’ll need to pass the written exam, which covers motorcycle safety and basic operational aspects such as signaling, turning, and stopping.
The best way to pass the test the first time around is by referring to practice tests online.
After obtaining your learner’s permit, you’ll then have to do a riding test.
The aim of this test is to evaluate your ability to ride safely in various situations.
You must be 16 years old to take the riding exam.
But as we said earlier, you may get an endorsement without having to jump through all these hoops if you already have a regular driver’s license, but this largely depends on state laws.
How Do I Insure the Motorcycle?
Most states require that motorcycles have insurance.
Even if you are not planning on driving the bike, you probably should insure it to protect yourself and anyone who might drive the cycle.
Buying insurance without a motorcycle license can prove challenging.
Insurance companies look at driving records and credit scores to determine rates. If you do not have a license, some companies might not be willing to give you a policy.
Rather than trying to buy insurance online, you should call a local company.
An insurance representative will guide you through the process of buying motorcycle insurance without a license.
Remember that insurance companies will need to see your ID before they issue a policy, so you will need to show them your driver’s license or another form of identification.
Before an insurance company issues a policy, you might need to have a primary driver.
You might also need to exclude yourself from the coverage until you get a legal motorcycle license.
Be prepared to accept the possibility that you cannot insure the cycle until you get your license.
Some insurance companies charge more for policies if you have a lapse in coverage.
Useful Tips For Getting Your Motorcycle License
Practice before your tests
In order to make the process of getting your motorcycle license stress-free, it’s important to get some practice in before taking both the written exam and the riding test.
For the written test, you can easily find practice tests online or at the DMV itself.
For the riding test, the best way to practice would be enlisting the services of an instructor or, if that’s not in your budget, watching YouTube videos to give you some guidance.
Do a motorcycle safety course
An experienced rider will tell you exactly this, do a motorcycle safety course.
Beyond it being a good way to prepare you for a motorcycle license test, doing a safety course can, in some states, exempt you from taking a road test and can even make you eligible for a discount on your motorcycle insurance.
Get all your paperwork together
Before you embark on the journey of getting your license, make sure you have all the necessary documents together.
These documents typically include your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and a completed application form.
Trust us when we say that having the documents on standby can make the whole process a lot smoother.
Related Motorcycle Buying Facts
How do I get an international driver’s permit?
For permanent residents of the United States with driver’s licenses, getting an IDP is a simple matter of completing the AAA IDP application and following the outlined steps.
Do note there is a $20 fee that is payable as of late 2022.
Can you buy a motorcycle with a learner’s permit?
You can indeed buy a motorcycle with a learner’s permit, but it still isn’t necessary to make the actual purchase.
Do I need a license to get a loan for a motorcycle?
This may depend on a creditor’s policies, as you usually won’t need a license for a loan.
Some lenders may require you to have a license before giving you a loan.