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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
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Old 2 Sep 2009
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Just a tourist in California & bike insurance?

It turns out that in exchange to returning the favor later on in Europe, which I´d be happy to do, I´d now have a chance to loan a friend´s bike for about 6 weeks, as he is working overseas. He lives near LA, and the bike has California plates.

I have an international drivers license, which should be valid in the US.

But the hard part seems to be the insurance. If I´ve understood it all correctly - which I doubt a little myself, too - the insurance in California seems to go by the person, not by the vehicle - or are there exceptions? In my home country, as well as most of the EU, insurance is taken for a vehicle, and anyone who fills the requirements, and has a valid license, can ride/drive it.

For the US, I believe I will have to take at least some liability insurance, before I ride, in order to cover the injuries to people (and possibly their vehicles), that I have caused. The voluntary insurance to cover the bike´s damage, if I crash it, or its stolen, would be extra, but not an absolute requirement. I can afford to pay for the bike, if it is totalled, will naturally try to avoid any incidents of course. My own injuries will be covered by my travel insurance from Finland. But a Finnish travel insurance will not cover other peoples injuries, and there´s no such extension available, either (I already asked).

When I´m in the country as just an occasional tourist, without a residence, and the bike is not owned by me, how do I do this?

I would like to get an insurance that covers all of continental US, or at least the western part of it. But just getting something that fills the requirements of law, and allows one to ride in California, would be very nice for starters! So far all insurance companies that I´ve contacted, have said they´re unable to help, because the vehicle is not mine. The AAA said they might be able to come up with something, if I had a residence, which I dont.

Maybe I´ve just fully misunderstood something here?? I believe a lot of people go from Europe and elsewhere to the US, where they have friends and relatives, whose vehicles they may sometimes want to borrow, so I would think there would have to be some way to do it legally? The owner of the bike will not be present when/if I ride this bike, so he will just leave me an authorization letter.

Pardon me for asking dumb questions, but I havent much experience of self-drive/ride in America, so it seems a little puzzling right now.

Last edited by pecha72; 2 Sep 2009 at 12:23. Reason: typo
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Old 2 Sep 2009
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Well in the USA the bike and rider is insured so it may be that your frend may be able to alow you to ride the bike and cover the bike on his insurance, or add you to his insurance.

He can alow you ride his bike and you can get insurance on it.

The insurance is good for all the USA and Canada.
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Old 3 Sep 2009
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Thank you for this. Yes, I also heard from somewhere else, that listing me as an additional rider to his bike insurance could be the way to go.

But his insurance company has said, that it is ´rare´ for them to accept foreigners as additional riders. But we havent tried it yet, so maybe I should ask him about this again. I´ll probably need to get a no-claims certificate from my insurance company first.
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