I am about to buy a motorcycle so I filled out a financing application with my dad as the co-signer (I'am 19 and have no credit history). However, the dealership informed me the only way they could give me the bike was if they put the title under his name (so I guess they forwent the whole co-signing thing but whatever).

I'm not too fond of the idea of going to jail and want to avoid an illegal straw purchase. Is it

  1. Legal
  2. Possible to have the motorcycle with him as the owner and I as the primary user and have only me pay insurance?
  • You might ask your Dad to push back--he wants you to be on the loan so that you can improve your credit rating. Shop for a loan--bank or credit union, or better yet, check out a different dealership.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 11:28
  • lol, you won't go to jail over purchase of a motorcycle....
    – quid
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


There is nothing illegal about a vehicle being in one person's name and someone else using it. An illegal straw purchase usually applies to something where, for example, the purchaser is trying to avoid a background check (as with firearms) or is trying to hide assets, so they use someone else to make the purchase on their behalf to shield real ownership.
As for insurance, there's no requirement for you to own a vehicle in order to buy insurance so that you can drive someone else's vehicle. In other words, you can buy liability coverage that applies to any vehicle you're operating. The long and short of it here is that you're not doing anything illegal or otherwise improper,but I give you credit for having the good morals for wanting to make sure you're doing the right thing.

  • 1
    "... liability coverage that applies to any vehicle you're operating ..." This is true for US, not true for some other geographies
    – Dheer
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 10:49
  • True, Dheer, and I should have noted that in my reply since the OP didn't indicate the country they are in. Upvote for catching me short! (smile) Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 11:25

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