Can you get motorcycle insurance without a license

January 2, 2024
By Michael Padway

Short answer: Yes. Keep reading to know how.

Although it may surprise some, it is possible to secure motorcycle insurance without a license in the United States. In all areas of the country, though, it is required to have a motorcycle endorsement – Class M – on a valid driver’s license to ride a bike on public streets.

Riders operating a motorcycle without a Class M endorsement are referred to as “riding dirty” by those in the motorcycling industry. Without an endorsement, all riders need to know that there are many influencing the rates they will be quoted for coverage.

FACT: According to data from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, in 2018, unlicensed riders accounted for 46% of rider fatalities in that state — and more than half of those crashes didn’t even involve a collision with another vehicle. It’s statistics of this nature influence how insurance companies establish their rates for motorcyclists.

In 2019, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) surveyed motorcyclists in Texas to investigate why they chose not to get their Class M. To quote a post published on on January 3rd, 2020.

The survey was part of a larger project funded by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The project aimed to promote rider knowledge, skill, and safety by encouraging riders to complete motorcycle safety training.

Now, It’s important to keep in mind several things, for example, the fact that most insurance policies require a license in exchange for better fees and that certain states demand a license in all cases.

Credit to

Need Motorcycle Insurance?

Enjoy your ride while feeling safe with the best insurance coverage.


Although riding a motorbike might be thrilling, it is also a responsibility that carries risks. For this reason, it’s crucial to get a motorcycle license before you drive. A motorcycle license is an endorsement allowing you to operate a motorcycle legally.

The prerequisites for acquiring a motorcycle license vary by state in the United States. The process often entails passing a written exam, a skills test, and motorcycle safety training. In addition, the age at which you can receive a motorbike license varies from state to state, and some demand additional exams or training.

Getting a motorcycle license is essential for several reasons: 

  • Every state has made it a legal requirement.
  • If you drive a motorcycle without a license, you risk paying fines, having your motorcycle impounded, and even going to jail.
  • A motorcycle license ensures you possess the knowledge and abilities to ride securely.
  • It demonstrates your driving responsibility, having a motorbike license can help you to obtain motorcycle insurance at a discounted rate.


If you do not meet the requirements or choose not to obtain a motorcycle license, it is still important to consider obtaining insurance for your motorcycle. Accidents can happen to even the most experienced riders, making insurance a crucial safety net for unexpected events. 

It can be more difficult to obtain motorbike insurance without a license than a license, but it is still possible. Here are some options to consider:

  • Insure the motorcycle, not the rider: Several insurance providers offer motorcycle policies instead of insuring the rider, which means that regardless of who is riding it, the insurance will pay for damage to the motorcycle in the event of an accident. But, if the rider causes an accident, this kind of policy might not cover liability.
  • Find a specialty insurer: Several specialty insurers cater to riders with difficulty finding insurance. It’s important to consider that these policies may come with higher premiums.
  • Get a named driver policy: You may purchase coverage that covers a particular identified person as the motorcycle’s rider. This means the insurance will cover nobody else who rides the motorcycle, only the individual listed on the policy. 

It is important to prioritize obtaining adequate coverage for your safety and protection. By taking the necessary steps to obtain insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are protected in the event of an accident.


Before getting insurance without a license, it’s important to keep in mind several things:

  • As mentioned before, most insurance policies require a license in exchange for better fees, and certain states demand a license in all cases.
  • The rates decrease the longer you’ve had your motorcycle license. For instance, the insurer will see that you are an experienced rider who is less likely to be involved in an accident if you have a class M license. Learn how to get the best and cheapest insurance. 
  • Before approving your application, most insurance companies will want you to provide a copy of your current motorbike license or learner permit.
  • You can designate a primary driver who is not you, and the insurance provider will base rate decisions on that driver’s driving history.
  • When purchasing your insurance, you may want to exclude yourself from the policy; this way, you won’t be considered a risk for driving without a license. 
  • If you already have insurance before approving your application through a provider, your chances of getting coverage without a license increase if you have a solid record and credit score

Who Needs Motorcycle Insurance Without License?

A license is a safest and most legal way to ride a motorcycle. However, there is a myriad of situations that will allow a rider to secure motorcycle insurance without a license, including the following:

Being a Motorcycle Collector or Owning a Vintage or Garaged Motorcycle That isn’t Ridden

Interestingly enough, there are many motorcycle owners that don’t ride their bikes due to them being vintage or simply kept in a garage.

With the vintage bikes, unless the rider plans on embarking on a Motorcycle Cannonball with a 100+-year-old bike to ride cross-country, most are “works in progress” of being restored. It’s still important to have coverage due to possible theft, vandalism, fire, etc. This type of situation recently received news coverage when an unknown person broke into the home garage of the legendary musician Billy Joel and vandalized many of his motorcycles.

With a bike being garaged, it happens more often than people realize due to riders dealing with a medical ailment that is keeping them off the road for a while or mature riders that go out and buy a bike to simply have in their possession to smile at and polish the chrome as it reminds them of their younger days.

Purchase a Motorcycle for Another Rider

Surprisingly, having a person buy a motorcycle in their name for someone else to ride is not that unusual. Every situation is unique, but frequently, when this happens, it is due to a woman purchasing a bike for her boyfriend or husband due to her credit score being much better than his.  One can only hope that his driving record is better than his credit score – and he has a Class M license – before he saddles up on that new ride because it will matter when securing good quotes on that motorcycle insurance.

Suspended License

Most states will require proof of basic liability insurance coverage before reinstating a license, provided all other requirements are met that caused the license to lapse or be revoked in the first place.

Speak to an insurance agent about securing an SR-22 form, a document from your state proving you have the minimum coverage. This form is also referred to as an SR-22 bond or Certificate of Financial Responsibility. An SR-22 is not “coverage,” but it will help a rider secure their bike insurance secure insurance for their bike.

Purchasing a Motorcycle Before Getting a License

Many riders can relate to seeing that perfect motorcycle in a showroom, which speaks to their soul. Before they realize it, they’ve signed off on the financing paperwork and are arranging for the dealership to trailer their chrome steed to its new home — your garage!

If the bike has been financed, it must have full coverage. If it’s been purchased outright, it will need to have whatever the basic legal requirements are for your state for coverage. Almost all major insurance companies offering motorcycle insurance coverage will allow you to secure a quote and purchase a policy online, even if you do not have a motorcycle endorsement on your license.

NOTE: All insurance policies will take effect at 12:01 a.m. for the day after the policy has been purchased unless requested to take effect for a later date.

Owning an International Driving License

You can drive in the US without a license if you have an international driving permit. However, you still must get insurance.

If you need to speak to a representative directly to find out if a company offers coverage without a license, click here and find the right offer for you!

Need Motorcycle Insurance?

Enjoy your ride while feeling safe with the best insurance coverage.

Michael Padway

Michael Padway uses his expertise in personal injury and motorcycle accidents to represent a broad spectrum of clients dealing with life-changing and permanent injuries for the first time. His offices are located at 235 Montgomery St., Ste 668, San Francisco, CA 94104 and at 3140 Chapman St. Oakland, CA 94601. For more information, please call (800) 928-1511.

Featured Articles

Subscribe to our newsletter

Recieved the most up-to-date motorcycle news delivered straight to your inbox!