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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Can You Insure a Motorcycle You Don’t Own?

Insurance is a complex matter that few people truly understand. From the rules required to insure a vehicle to its coverage, there is a lot of information clients need to take in when getting insurance. And while insurance regulations vary from state to state, they can also vary depending on the insurance company itself.

With so much confusion around insurance, it’s no wonder why people don’t know if they can get insurance for a motorcycle they don’t own. This article will take a look at the ins and outs of motorcycle insurance to find out if vehicle ownership is a must.

Motorcycle Ownership

Motorcycle Ownership

Generally speaking, insurance companies require the customer to have an insurable interest in the vehicle. In other words, insurance is only available for those that would suffer a financial loss in case of vehicle damage.

Therefore, companies believe that those who don’t own the vehicle might not have an incentive to protect it through insurance. Additionally, they fear that policyholders could purposely destroy the vehicle to collect the insurance or if they've become angry at the owner for whatever reason.

Besides the higher risk of damage, insurance companies have also encountered vehicle owners with bad driving records who would ask their friends to take out insurance on their motorcycle to keep the rates lower. So, it’s no wonder why companies avoid giving insurance to people that don’t actually own the motorcycle.

Special Circumstances

It’s important to note that people who live with the person who owns the vehicle, like a sibling or parent, can add themselves to the policy to insure the motorcycle. However, that special clause depends on the company's own policies, as not every insurer allows it.

But there is another solution for those that don’t live with the owner — Owned by Endorsement. Simply put, some insurance companies offer their services to people who have borrowed a motorcycle under a few special conditions.

Owned By Endorsement

The Owned by Endorsement clause allows someone that already owns another insurance policy, such as car insurance, to add the motorcycle to it. The way it works is pretty simple. The owner of the motorcycle gets added to the existing insurance policy. Then, if something happens to the bike, the owner will receive the proceeds of a claim.

But, to qualify for this special policy, the owner of the motorcycle needs to provide personal information to the company. They also need to be insurable, which means that they need to meet every requirement of the insurance company. So, if the owner is unable to get insurance on their own, the insurer won’t add the Owned by Endorsement clause to an existing policy.


Although Owned by Endorsement is a great way to get motorcycle insurance, its coverage is pretty narrow. In fact, some insurance companies don’t provide coverage for liability and property damage under that clause. That’s why those who want to take advantage of the Owned by Endorsement option need to check with their insurance company to determine the coverage it provides.

Temporary Motorbike Insurance

Temporary motorbike insurance is another reliable and flexible solution for riders that need coverage for a bike they don’t own. With this type of insurance, the rider is covered for the amount of time they want, up to one week.

In contrast to normal policies, temporary motorcycle insurance is more flexible, as their requirements are usually more relaxed. For instance, here are a couple of examples where temporary insurance is a good option:

When borrowing a bike. Temporary motorcycle insurance is ideal for those who borrow a motorcycle but do not meet the requirements for the Owned by Endorsement policy.

When test-driving a bike. The rider still needs to be properly insured, but it’s not really worth it to sign up for long-term cover insurance if they are only test-driving. Therefore, temporary insurance offers security during the test-drive period.

During an emergency situation. A lot of things can happen when riding a bike, forcing the rider to hop onto another one quickly. When that happens, temporary bike insurance can protect the rider in case of an accident.

When collecting a new bike. After purchasing a motorcycle, the rider will want to pick it up as soon as possible. However, in the absence of ongoing insurance, the rider won’t be able to drive away with it. Temporary insurance allows the rider to drive until they finish the procedure of getting a long-term policy.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, sharing a motorcycle is completely normal, as everybody has done it at least once in their life. But, before agreeing to use a friend’s vehicle, it is critical for the rider to contact their insurance carrier. That’s the only way to know if the existing insurance accounts for other drivers in the event of an accident. But if that’s not the case, the rider can always take advantage of the Owned by Endorsement policy. And if the rider can’t meet the policy’s requirements, temporary motorbike insurance is always a great alternative.

While insurance is a must, it’s understandable why some people would be unable to get one. However, when it comes to motorcycle accidents or legal questions related to insurance, it’s important to get in touch with motorcycle accident lawyers in Des Moines IA such as those from Tom Fowler Law. With its vast legal knowledge and experience with personal injury cases, this team can review the case and give advice tailored to any specific situation. They help with many cases such as determining the odds of surviving a motorcycle accident without a helmet or helping clients understand where motorcyclists should position themselves to be seen easier.


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