Do I Need a Motorcycle License to Finance a Motorcycle?

If you want to buy a new or used motorcycle by financing it, you may be wondering if you need a valid motorcycle license first. This is an important question to answer, especially in Florida where motorcycle riding is popular year-round.

While you typically do need either a motorcycle license or permit to legally ride your bike on public roads, the requirements around financing and purchasing a motorcycle are a bit different.

Do You Need a Motorcycle License in Florida?

In the state of Florida, you need some form of motorcycle endorsement or certification to legally ride your bike on any public streets, highways or interstates. The state offers three levels of licensing:

  • Learner’s permit – Allows you to ride during daylight hours if you wear a helmet and are accompanied by a licensed rider over 21 years old. No night riding allowed.
  • Restricted license – Allows you to ride alone during daylight hours only with a helmet if you’re under 21.
  • Unrestricted full license – Allows you full riding privileges if you’re over 21, pass additional tests.

So while you don’t necessarily need a full unrestricted motorcycle license in order to buy and Plus Finance a new motorbike, you do need either a learner’s permit or restricted license to legally ride it off private property during certain times of day.

Buying a Motorcycle Without a License

Buying a Motorcycle Without a License

When it comes to purchasing and financing a motorcycle in the state of Florida, it is actually possible to buy one without having any kind of motorcycle license or endorsement yet. This means you can own the bike, but wouldn’t yet be able to legally ride it except on private closed courses or trails.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about buying a motorcycle without a valid license in Florida:

  • You can purchase a motorcycle from a private seller or dealer without having your motorcycle endorsement. No license required just to buy it and transfer the title.
  • You can get approved for financing from a bank or lender to buy the bike without a valid license. This will just be based on your creditworthiness.
  • You won’t be able to legally ride the motorcycle off private property without a learner’s permit or license. Only legal riding would be off-road trails or closed courses where licensure may not be required.
  • You can buy insurance coverage for your new bike before getting fully licensed, which can protect against theft or damage. But liability coverage typically requires a valid license first. More details on insurance below.

So in summary – yes you can buy, own and finance a motorcycle in Florida without having a motorcycle license or endorsement yet. You just wouldn’t legally be able to ride it on public roads until taking the required tests and getting properly licensed.

Getting a Loan From the Bank

If you plan to buy a motorcycle from a dealership, they will most likely be able to offer financing options right at the dealership to get a loan for your bike purchase. Often dealers have relationships with lenders that specialize in power sports vehicle loans. These lenders understand the collateral value in motorcycles, ATVs and other recreational vehicles.

But even if you’re buying privately from an individual seller, you still have good options for getting a personal loan from your bank or credit union to fund the purchase.

Banks will approve motorcycle loans for credit-qualified applicants regardless of whether they have their valid motorcycle license and endorsement yet. All they care about is whether you meet their income, credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements to get approved for the loan amount needed.

Just be prepared to show proof of valid insurance coverage meeting state minimum requirements before they’ll release loan funds – which usually does mean having your motorcycle permit or license first before getting insured.

Should I Wait Until I Get My License to Buy a Motorcycle?

If you’re set on getting your first motorcycle or upgrading to a nicer bike, you may be tempted to just go ahead and buy it now rather than wait until after you complete your written test and skills testing for your full endorsement. But there are good reasons to wait:

You can’t legally ride it yet – By waiting until after you have your motorcycle license, you’ll be able to immediately start riding and enjoying your new bike on public roads legally. No need to wait or just ride trails.

Easier to get insurance – In most states, you need to carry a minimum level of liability insurance before you can legally ride. By waiting until you’re licensed, it’s faster and easier to get fully insured.

No rush for financing deals – Motorcycle loan rates and terms aren’t going to drastically change overnight. The same good financing offers will still be there in a few weeks or months after you get fully licensed.

You can test ride bikes – Dealerships will only allow you to do test rides once you show you have your endorsed motorcycle license. Waiting is worth being able to try before you buy!

No risk of penalties – In some states, riding without proper licensing can result in heavy fines or even impound fees if you’re caught riding illegally. Get licensed first to avoid penalties!

The bottom line is that while you don’t have to wait to buy until you’re licensed, it often makes the most financial and legal sense to get your motorcycle endorsement first – then start shopping for your dream bike!

Buying Motorcycle Insurance in Florida

Purchasing motorcycle insurance is mandatory in nearly every state, including Florida, for anyone riding a motorcycle on public roads and highways. But what about if you just purchased a new bike and haven’t gotten your license or endorsement yet?

The good news is that Florida does make it possible to buy some basic motorcycle insurance coverage even before you are a licensed rider. Let’s look at what types of policies are available and how the process works:

How to Buy Insurance for a Motorcycle

In Florida, the minimum liability insurance requirements for riding a motorcycle are:

  • $10,000 bodily injury per person
  • $20,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 property damage per accident

Additionally, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of $10,000 is mandatory to cover medical expenses, lost wages and death benefits after an accident.

Once you purchase a motorcycle in Florida, insurance companies will allow you to purchase physical damage coverage for theft and damage protection right away, before getting fully licensed. This covers damage to your own bike.

However, they typically will not sell liability or PIP coverage until you provide proof you hold at least a motorcycle learner’s permit. So while you can get theft and collision insurance initially, you’ll likely need to wait on liability insurance required to legally ride on roads.

Motorcycle Accidents in Florida

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents happen all too often on Florida’s busy highways and streets. In 2020 alone, over 9,000 motorcyclists were injured in crashes across the state. Common causes include:

  • Drivers failing to detect approaching motorcycles
  • Drivers turning left into the path of an oncoming motorcycle
  • Speeding around curves or on straightaways
  • Impaired riding due to alcohol or drugs
  • Losing control and laying bikes down
  • Mechanical failures like tire blowouts

The injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes are often serious if not fatal, due to the lack of protection compared to passenger vehicles. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, organ damage, broken bones, and severe road rash are all common.

What The Fran Haasch Law Group Can Do For You

If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their life in a preventable motorcycle accident on Florida’s streets and highways, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. The Fran Haasch Law Group has helped hundreds of injured riders and passengers get the compensation they desperately need and rightfully deserve after crashes caused by negligent drivers or other parties.

We handle all aspects of building a strong claim for damages – from gathering police reports, medical records and witness statements to negotiating aggressively with insurance carriers. If a settlement can’t be reached, we won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit to take your case to trial.

The Fran Haasch Law Group takes motorcycle cases on a contingency fee basis – you pay no upfront attorney fees or case expenses. We only collect if we achieve a financial award or settlement for you. That’s our no risk, no cost promise to injury victims.

Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

Don’t delay – contact our Florida motorcycle accident attorneys today for a free, no obligation consultation on your case. Call 855-209-7660 or fill out our simple online form and a member of our team will get back to you right away. The deadline for filing injury claims is limited after an accident, so time is often of the essence. Let our decades of experience fighting for injured motorcyclists go to work for you.

Can You Get a Motorcycle Loan Without a License?

We covered earlier that most banks and lenders are willing to approve a motorcycle loan without requiring that you have your motorcycle endorsement or license yet. The key factor is meeting their approval criteria based on:

  • Your credit score and history
  • Income level
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Down payment amount

In fact, some lenders actually specialize in loans for financing power sports vehicles like motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles for buyers who don’t even have their license yet.

These lenders understand that many first-time motorcycle buyers first pick out the bike they want, set up financing, then go through training courses to get fully licensed before they can ride. That’s why they are comfortable approving loans without a license in-hand.

Just be aware that the lender may require proof of a minimum level of insurance coverage on the motorcycle before releasing the loan funds to complete purchase. This usually means needing at least a learner’s permit to get basic liability insurance before picking up your new ride.

Buying a Motorcycle with a Learner’s Permit

Another option to consider is going ahead and getting your motorcycle learner’s permit in Florida before purchasing a bike.

With a learner’s permit, you can legally purchase, own and register a motorcycle while you practice riding and gain skills before taking your endorsement test. Here are some key advantages:

  • You’ll be able to legally ride your motorcycle during daylight hours as long as you wear a helmet and ride with a licensed escort over 21 years old
  • Allows you time to slowly gain confidence and skills on your own bike before having to pass the on-cycle skill test
  • Getting a learner’s permit is as simple as taking a 20 question written test at your local DMV office – no need to schedule riding skill test yet
  • Carrying a learner’s permit qualifies you to purchase basic liability insurance needed to finance and register the motorcycle while you practice

One thing to note is that Florida requires anyone under 21 to complete a motorcycle safety course before qualifying for the license. So after buying your bike with a permit, sign up for a nearby training class when convenient to get fully licensed.

Registering a Motorcycle Without a License

You might be wondering if you can legally register a motorcycle in Florida if you don’t yet have a license or endorsement. The answer is yes – with some limitations.

If you only have a regular non-commercial driver license, you can still register a motorcycle in your name. However, this would only allow you to ride it on private closed courses or trails where licensure may not be required. You could transport it on a trailer as well.

To legally ride your registered motorcycle on any public roads, highways or interstates in Florida, you would still need to have either a:

  • Motorcycle learner’s permit
  • Restricted motorcycle license
  • Unrestricted motorcycle license

So while you don’t need a motorcycle license just for ownership and registration purposes, you do need one to legally ride on public streets. Consider getting at least the simple motorcycle learner’s permit even before purchasing so you can start practicing on your new bike.

Should You Wait to Buy a Motorcycle?

Should You Wait to Buy a Motorcycle?

You may feel impatient to buy a motorcycle right away and get riding. But as we covered earlier, there are some good reasons to consider waiting until after getting your proper license, endorsement or permit:

  • Allows you to legally ride on public roads instead of just trails/tracks
  • Makes it easier to get the required insurance coverage at better rates
  • Means you can test ride different bikes before deciding
  • Avoids any penalties for riding without a license

However, one option to consider is going ahead and buying a used motorcycle to practice riding – then selling it once you upgrade to a nicer new bike later after getting fully licensed. This lets you get some experience while waiting to invest in your dream machine.

Just be sure to complete a safety training course and pass your exams promptly so you aren’t tempted to illegally ride your motorcycle without proper credentials. Taking some safety courses before buying your first bike can also be a wise move.

5 Considerations When Buying a Motorcycle without a License

If you do decide to purchase a motorcycle before getting fully licensed and endorsed to ride in Florida, here are 5 key factors to keep in mind:

1. You Can’t Ride a Motorcycle Without A License or Permit

Don’t take the risk of penalties and legal troubles – only ride on closed private courses until properly credentialed.

2. You Usually Can’t Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License

May need to initially rely just on theft and damage coverage before getting riding privileges.

3. Getting a Decent Motorcycle Loan May Be Difficult

Lenders willing to work with pre-license buyers typically charge higher interest rates.

4. You May Not Be Able to Title & Register the Bike

Can be registered in your name, but full titling may require license proof.

5. You Won’t Be Able to Test Ride the Motorcycle

No license means most dealers won’t allow test rides before buying.

How to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle Without Buying a Motorcycle

If you’re not quite ready to purchase your first motorcycle but want to start gaining riding experience, consider these options that don’t require you to buy a bike yet:

  • Enroll in a motorcycle safety foundation course – Most states offer license waiver courses for completing hands-on training on a provided bike without needing your own. This lets you try riding while working towards your license.
  • Rent a motorcycle to practice – Some rental shops and dealerships offer bike rentals by the hour/day once you obtain a learner’s permit or license. This is a more affordable way to gain seat time and experience before buying.
  • Borrow a friend’s or family member’s motorcycle – If you know an experienced, licensed rider who has an extra bike, ask if you can practice riding theirs in parking lots or closed courses under their supervision.

The key is not putting pressure on yourself to purchase a motorcycle too early. Take your time gaining skills and confidence on a borrowed or rented bike first. Pass all your licensing exams at your own pace – then start shopping for the perfect motorcycle for you!


Buying a motorcycle before getting your motorcycle license or endorsement can be tempting. However, it’s best to have the proper credentials first for several reasons. Waiting allows you to legally ride your bike on roads, makes getting insurance easier, lets you test models at dealerships, and avoids fines for riding without a license.

If you simply can’t wait, focus just on buying a used bike for practicing on closed courses. Don’t finance an expensive new motorcycle until after finishing your safety training and exams to get fully licensed. Ride safely and responsibly once you have the proper motorcycle credentials. Then you can enjoy your new bike to the fullest!


Can you ride a motorcycle in PA without a license?

No, you cannot legally operate a motorcycle on public roads in Pennsylvania without having a valid motorcycle license or learner’s permit. All riders must pass written and on-cycle skill tests to obtain their PA motorcycle endorsement before riding on streets and highways. Riding without a license can lead to fines, impound fees, and license suspension.

Do I need a motorcycle license to drive a motorcycle in Texas?

Yes,Texas state law requires all motorcyclists to have a Class M license endorsement to legally ride a motorcycle on any public roadway. You must be at least 15 years old, pass a written knowledge test, and demonstrate riding proficiency in a skills evaluation to earn your Class M. Riding without the proper endorsement could result in citations or bike impoundment.

Do you need a driver’s license to get a motorcycle license in Maryland?

In most cases yes, having a valid automobile driver’s license is required before you can apply for a Maryland motorcycle license. You typically need to hold your auto license for at least 18 months before becoming eligible for the motorcycle skills and written tests.

How old do you have to be to buy a motorcycle in California?

The minimum age to legally purchase a motorcycle in the state of California is 18 years old. Minors under age 18 are prohibited from owning a motorcycle. 16 and 17 year olds may apply for a learner’s permit or provisional license for riding purposes, but cannot complete a sales transaction or sign financing contracts to officially buy and own a bike.

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