When you get a new vehicle, your friends and family will probably ask you a lot of questions about it: “How much was it? Where did you get it?” Inevitably, one question will always come up:
“Can I go for a ride?”
If your new vehicle is a car, you might not hesitate to throw you friend the keys and tell them to take it around the block. But if it’s a new motorcycle, you might want to take a minute and think through what they’re asking. There are two questions you need to consider if a friend asks to borrow your motorcycle:
- How does my motorcycle insurance cover other riders than myself?
- Does my friend have a motorcycle license?
Know How Your Insurance Works
If your friend borrows and crashes your car, your insurance will typically cover the damages. That’s because your insurance typically follows your car, not you. If you get injured while driving a friend’s car, your friend’s insurance will likely cover it because it was their car, not yours. Likewise, if your friend crashes your car, your insurance will cover it because it was your car that was damaged, not theirs.
Motorcycle insurance can work this way as well. Because it’s your motorcycle, your insurance may still cover the damage, even though you weren’t riding it.
Your friend’s motorcycle insurance may also be used if the damages exceed your policy limits. However, their insurance might only cover your friend’s injuries, not the damage to your bike, so make sure your friend understands how their insurance works as well before you let them borrow your motorcycle.
But what if your friend doesn’t have motorcycle insurance? Your insurance may cover some damages but not others, leaving you to cover the difference out-of-pocket.
The Importance of Having a License
Usually, if a friend asks to borrow your car, you don’t even think to ask whether or not they are licensed. Unless you’re both in high school, it’s pretty easy to assume that most of your friends are licensed to drive.
However, this isn’t the case when it comes to motorcycles. That’s why it’s so important to double-check before you ever lend your bike to a friend that they’re actually legally allowed to operate a motorcycle.
If your friend isn’t licensed, the insurance company can use that against you and reduce your claim if your friend crashes your bike. Even if your friend didn’t cause the accident, the fact that they were illegally operating your motorcycle can be used against you and allow the insurance company not to cover a significant portion of your damages. They may even deny your claim altogether.
Your friend will also likely be issued a fine for operating a motorcycle without a license, and your bike may be impounded. If your friend injures someone else or damages someone else’s property while riding your motorcycle, it’s unlikely that your insurance or your friend’s insurance will cover it, making one of you or both of you personally liable for those costs.
In Indiana, a motorcycle license is actually called a motorcycle endorsement. A person must be at least 16 years and 6 months old and hold an Indiana driver’s license in order to get a motorcycle endorsement.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll first need a motorcycle learner’s permit. You must have a valid driver’s license and pass a test in order to qualify for a permit. Permits are valid for one year only. Endorsements act just like a driver’s license and are up for renewal whenever your driver’s license is.
Help from an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Before you let a friend ride your motorcycle, make sure they’re licensed and that you understand what your insurance policy and your friend’s insurance policy will and won’t cover.
But sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents still happen. If you or a friend were injured in a motorcycle accident, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.