You must have proof of motorcycle insurance before driving a newly purchased bike off the lot when the transaction occurs at a dealership. Grace periods of up to 72 hours are available in some states, but you typically need existing coverage for another vehicle to qualify for it.
The immediate requirement is due to the expense of the transaction and the rapid loss in depreciation once you become the owner of a new motorcycle. You’ll need full coverage on a leased or financed bike, including liability, collision, and comprehensive policies.
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The insurance rules could differ if you buy a motorcycle without financing or purchase a used bike.
Remember, never ride a motorcycle on the road after the grace period, as you might be charged with hefty fines and even license suspension for riding without insurance.
Insurance Companies Set a Grace Period for Some Transactions
The grace period for adding a new-to-you motorcycle to an insurance policy varies by the insurer. If you purchase the bike from a private party or a dealership, you typically have between two to 30 days to get the information to your agent or broker.
Nationwide has one of the shorter grace periods for adding a used motorcycle to an insurance policy at ten days. Companies like GEICO, Farmers, and Progressive allow up to 30 days (depending on state and local laws) to get insurance on the bike.
Some smaller insurance agencies and companies might offer a different grace period. Dealerships could be required to see proof of insurance before driving away, but a private seller is less likely to do so.
Before purchasing a used motorcycle, it helps to contact your insurance company to know what to expect with its grace period. Then check the local regulations to see if a shorter time is mandated by law.
What If I Am Transferring My Insurance?
In most situations, an insurance company will transfer the insurance information from an old motorcycle to the new one. That means your coverage continues without needing to begin another six- or 12-month policy.
Since the insurance information for the new bike will be different, you might see changes to your monthly premium. It can rise or fall based on your current coverage needs.
Except for Florida, all states require motorcycle insurance to operate a bike on public roads legally. Even with a grace period, it is in a rider’s best interests to obtain a policy that meets the minimum requirements as soon as possible.
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