• Tom Fowler

Can I Let a Friend Borrow My Motorcycle?

If someone asks you if they can borrow your motorcycle, it's only natural to take time to think about it. No matter how close you are to your friend or relative, you need to know what will happen if you give them your permission and they end up in an accident.

Who will cover the costs, your or their insurance company? Do they even have motorcycle insurance? Is it legal for them to ride your motorcycle?

Can Someone Else Ride Your Motorcycle?

Can Someone Else Ride Your Motorcycle?

In general, it's not a problem if you give your friend permission to ride your motorbike. Verbal consent also counts as permission. Likewise, if it's an occasional or one-time use, typically, you will be covered in case of an accident.

Two Important Factors: Your Insurance and Your Friend's License

Hopefully, your friend will have a smooth ride. But what if they cause a collision?

What Can You Expect From Your Insurance?

If your friend borrows your motorcycle and crashes it, your insurance will cover the damage in most instances. That is because insurance follows your bike, not you. In case the damages exceed the policy limits, you can also use your friend's motorbike insurance to cover what's left.

However, the situation can change depending on the type of insurance your friend has. For example, your friend's policy could cover only their injuries but not the damage your bike suffered. So, it is essential to ask your friend what kind of insurance they have before you let them borrow your motorcycle.

Also, coverage rules might be different if the driver is part of your household and should be listed as a named insured on your policy but, for some reason, isn't. The situation can also be more complex if they are listed on your policy as excluded. In that case, you will probably need to talk to your insurance agent to see what can be done.

But what to do if you learn your friend doesn't have motorcycle insurance? It is also up to you to decide whether you will lend them your bike or not. Just keep in mind that if they cause a collision, your insurance will probably not cover all the damages. That means you will have to pay for the difference out of your own pocket.


There are chances of surviving a motorcycle accident, but it's rather unlikely to avoid having to deal with expenses. Having insurance keeps you financially secure, it can even cover motorcycle theft.

What About Your Friend's License?

Usually, when a friend asks you to lend your motorbike, you don't even think about asking whether they have a license or not. Most people just assume their friends have a license since they asked to ride a bike. However, it's always important to check if your friend is legally allowed to operate a motorcycle before you make that decision.

The reason behind this is to make sure you don't suffer any repercussions if your friend gets into an accident while driving your bike. In case your friend doesn't have a license, the insurance company can use that to lower their payment. Because the driver was operating the motorcycle illegally, the insurance company can significantly reduce or deny your claim altogether. Also, there's a risk of your bike getting impounded.

Furthermore, if your friend damaged someone's property or injured someone while illegally riding your bike, neither your nor your friend's insurance will cover it. So, you or both of you will be personally liable for all the damage.

What to Do If You Want to Let Someone Use Your Bike Regularly?

The state laws and policy terms can greatly vary. So, make sure to check with your insurance company before lending your bike. That is especially important when you often plan to loan it to your friend.

If you have a deal with your friend to be an additional regular rider of your motorcycle, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Since an accident can happen at any time, it would be best to see if you can add your friend to your policy.

Final Thoughts

Relying on your judgment and your friend's common sense is not enough when it comes to lending your motorcycle. You should be fully aware of the liability you may be opening yourself up to before handing over the keys. No matter how close you are to your friend, make sure they have a valid license and that their insurance will cover some costs in case of an accident. Remember, any crash they cause could end up on your insurance record.

For any legal questions about lending your motorcycle to someone, contact motorcycle accident lawyers in Des Moines at Tom Fowler Law. We will help you get all the facts and make the right decision.

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