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My girlfriend has a motorcycle that she bought a few months ago with a loan (she put down $2k and now her payments are ~$82 a month).

A few months later, she realized that she cannot keep the bike for very long due to her financial situation. She is the sole name on her loan: I am not on this loan or currently connected to the motorcycle in any way.

At the same time, my car completely died, and the engine is completely gone, so I won’t have a car for quite a while and I don’t have enough to put down on something new.

I would love to just get my own insurance plan for myself and her motorcycle and then I can make her payments and use the bike as my mode of transportation, and I know that it is common to insure vehicles you don’t own, but does the loan in this situation complicate anything?

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    If you have the cash or can take on a loan yourself then buy the bike from her, she can pay off her loan, raise her credit score, and you can put it on your insurance. BF/GF stuff is too volatile to not have a clear sense of who owns what. – MonkeyZeus Nov 3 '16 at 20:23
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I think you have two options here:

1) Buy the bike from her. This way the bike is yours and not hers. You pay your insurance, you make the loan payment, and own it if the loan ever gets paid off. I like this because if you two split up it is clear who owns this asset.

If you decide not to do this, the problem comes up with the lender. What are their insurance requirements? More than likely the will allow you to be on her insurance policy.

2) So this way she pays the insurance, she pays the loan. In order to use the bike you give her some money towards the usage. This can be $20 or 100% of the insurance and loan payment. You two choose.

Again if you two break up, or you are no longer interested in "renting" the bike, the division of this asset is clear, it is hers.

The parent in me would like to warn you of the up coming weather. Even in Florida using a motorcycle to commute can be tricky. In the summers we deal with rain, in the winter it can be surprisingly cold to ride. And also there is dealing with the drivers that are texting instead of driving.

Rubber side down my friend.

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    Yup this all makes sense, and I've been around here enough to know that doing things with a significant other without being married is pretty much always frowned upon because of exactly your reasons. And I am aware of the weather and general motorcycle concerns, I've actually been looking to get my own bike soon anyway, so this would solve just another problem :) – Brian Leishman Nov 3 '16 at 13:33
  • "it can be surprisingly cold to ride" is that the same Florida? – njzk2 Nov 3 '16 at 21:31
  • @njzk2 only if you don't have the proper gear. A 60+mph headwind is cold regardless of air temp – Leliel Nov 3 '16 at 23:01
  • @njzk2 I am actually in Orlando, FL, so it's still 90 even right now mid day – Brian Leishman Nov 4 '16 at 0:07
  • ”Surprisingly cold to drive”... I thought most people stops driving when there is too much ice on the road... :-) – Smar Nov 4 '16 at 9:48
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Former P&C insurance agent here. Bottom line to keep in mind, is that you cannot insure something you do not own, and liability coverage follows you but physical damage coverage is vehicle-specific. So, to add to what Pete B. said you have to either:

  1. Buy the bike from her, so that her loan and obligation is paid off, and the title (and perhaps loan) is now clearly in your name (even if, it still has a loan company as lienholder) and you can insure it properly under your name.

  2. She keeps the bike, in her name, but she adds you as a driver on the insurance policy, and you come up with some arrangement in terms of driving and paying for it. Note that this requires quite a bit of trust and a very stable relationship. If it goes sour, and you have (no contract or purchase-lease agreement for this bike) even if you have paid for more than 50% of bike and bike insurance, the bike is hers legally.

You want to make sure that the bike is properly covered and that the insurance policy is properly written in case of an accident. Last thing you want is a totaled bike and an outstanding debt for a totaled bike because it wasn't properly insured. If the actual cash value of the bike is less than the outstanding loan, you should look into GAP insurance.

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    People insure cars they don't own all the time. Any time you lease a car it is not owned by you (you may be included as a registered owner, but as a lessee). For insurance, what is permitted will depend on the insurance company and jurisdiction in which you live. The exact terms and requirements depend on your insurance company. The key is to accurately disclose the entire situation to the company. They should be able to tell you what they can and are willing to do. You should double check what is actually in the written contract (once you have it). – Makyen Nov 3 '16 at 23:07
  • If the cash value is less than the loan, he will probably not be able to get a new loan for enough to pay off the old loan with the bike as collateral. – Random832 Nov 4 '16 at 5:08
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    Comment from the other side of the Atlantic (Germany): Here you can easily buy insurance for a vehicle owned and/or registered by someone else. However, you should ask beforehand whether and how no-claims bonus can be transfered later if needed. Here, owner, the one who the vehicle is registered on, tax payer, insurance holder, the one who pays the insurance fee and possibly the person(s) who are registered as drivers with the insurance can all be different. – cbeleites Nov 4 '16 at 10:49
  • @Makyen People insure cars they don't fully own all the time, since lienholders and mortagees are considered part of the definition of the word "insured" in an insurance contract/policy. Big difference. – unknownprotocol Nov 5 '16 at 23:36

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