can a Canadian resident own and insure a bike in the US?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by jon_l, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    Greater Toronto has the highest rates in Canada. It can only get better.
    #21
  2. trixterNorCal

    trixterNorCal Adventurer

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    That works in some places but in others insurance can be a problem. Some insurance companies do not insure out of state licenses from where the vehicle is registered and tagged. Insurance is also higher in many cases if you have an out of state license.

    Most (all?) of Canada and most the US both participate in the DMV network. Participation in this network means traffic violations in a foreign area are to be counted against your license as if you committed the offense at home. This means that speeding tickets in the US can affect your canadian license. If you get a traffic ticket that is not an offense back home then no penalty is assessed (usually called points, honestly I dont know how canada does that).

    Finally some US states require by law that you get a license in that state (citizenship is not required) if you reside there. Residency is defined separately by each state. dmv.org has more details on each state, although it is not an official government website it tends to be fairly accurate. California for instance requires you to transfer your license to California within 2 weeks of moving here. It becomes much harder to explain why you have a Canadian license but a locally registered vehicle in your name, and you can be cited for failure to get a license here.

    In many instances the only thing you have to do is pay about $20 and take a written test. Depending on the exact state you may also have to take a driving test which usually is only a few minutes long. The US does not require a driving school. I know in California the 2nd most failed written test is the motorcycle one with hazmat having a higher failure rate. The road test is in a parking lot only and is cake to pass. I guess what I am getting at is if you are going to register a vehicle here it doesnt seem like it is that difficult to also get a license, unless you need to keep your canadian one for some reason.
    #22
  3. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    I am pretty sure one cannot have 2 drivers licenses in Canada or US. When I moved to Ontario, I had to turn in my Massachusetts license.

    Otherwise one could rack up tickets on a "throw-away" license.
    #23
  4. bmwnewbie

    bmwnewbie Been here awhile

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    We ride our bikes to AZ in October and leave them for the winter and ride back in June.

    I have a K1200 LT which I purchased from Tucson, insured and registered in AZ, no problem, insurance is a lot less expensive. In the spring I will probably ride it back and import it int Canada, have "Vehicle Inquiry Report".

    The other bike the HD which I bring back is insured and registered with an Alberta Plate.

    One thing you should check into is the length of time you can have as a Canadian insured and registered vehicle in the US as a Non Resident, last fall the US Border Agent asked how long was I intending to leave the bike in the US , I thought about his question and answered a couple of months, he went on to say that I could only have the bike in the US for six months if I was not importing it, otherwise i may be penalized for making a false statement. I did not check further into this as I had forgotten, I may know as this post reminded me of it.

    In Arizona you have to register your out of country/state vehicle after 6 months residence.

    bmwnewbie
    #24
  5. kirbike

    kirbike Been here awhile

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    My buddy street plates his KTM EXC in NY and gets his insurance there and rides it in both Canada and US. You have to pay the tax at the border and just keep the receipt that you get with you. This allows you to go back an forth across the border with out a problem. Mind you since it's a dirt bike. when ever we cross, it's in a trailer, so I'm not sure what they do if you're riding across. He only did this because he bought an 08 five years ago and wasn't able to import it because of the stupid RIV admissible rules....only 07 and older are admissible, and I still don't think that list has been updated in five years! He's done it with two bikes since then. He also had to pay the tax on his American stepson's plated minibike in order for him to bring it into Canada to ride.

    I'll be purchasing a street legal dirt bike in California in the near future. I'll plate it and insure it there, and I'll be leaving it there. It doesn't make sense to pay $500 to ship my bike there every year. The money I'll save will buy me another plane ticket so I can go out twice.
    #25
  6. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    But I moved from Manitoba to Ontario so I could afford to insure my bikes!:D

    It was gonna cost me about $7k a year there.
    #26
  7. fastredbike

    fastredbike out riding

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    I was looking into riding my CDN registered bike to the US and leaving it for up to a couple of years, flying back and forth to ride it then bringing it back. My insurance company told me the same thing... 6 months max then they will no longer cover it so it would have to be imported to the US formally or it has to come back. FWIW
    #27
  8. 2whlrider

    2whlrider Adventurer

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    I agree. My 09 KLX250 in Manitoba is about $1100.00 for this year and my 10 KLR650 is about $1300.00. We have to pay about 90% of M/C coverage over the 5 month riding season, not evenly over the whole year. :huh

    Am looking forward to retirement in Ontario.
    #28
  9. SteveROntario

    SteveROntario Adventurer

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    My brother has been living in PA for about 5 years now and has not gotten US citizenship yet. He did get US plates and a US license shortly after moving and he does come back to Canada with his vehicles. In fact, he sold his Canadian car in the US and bought a new vehicle there because he was the only person in the whole city with rust on his car. Imagine living in a world where cars don't rust. :D

    I think he had to get letters from the manufacturers of his car and bike to state they met US safety requirements.

    Steve
    #29
  10. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    My buddy who lives here in Vancouver has owned a U.S. registered Suzuki DZR400 on Maui for 5 yrs now. Not an issue at all.
    #30
  11. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    Wow that is crazy!

    When I said highest in Canada, I meant vehicle insurance actually, not bike insurance. According to the Toronto Star, moving an hours or 2 away from Mississauga to Peterborough or Collingwood would reduce the average car insurance rate from $2k / year to less than $1,100.
    #31
  12. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    I can never figure out the rates. When I moved from a small town in Ontario, to a small city, my rates actually dropped a bit. Also, can't figure out why my Suzuki Bandit was 200 bucks less a year to insure than my KLR?

    My only concern with the American insurance, (I get a LOT of visitors from the States) is that they carry suck low liability, in a country that loves to sue people.
    #32
  13. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    That makes zero sense.

    I have a $1M umbrella policy, costs $13/month, which is supposed to kick in should the liability on my home, car, bike, etc. run out.
    #33
  14. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    As far as I can tell Jon, anything listed as "Sport Touring" has the lowest rates.

    A Wee Strom is listed as "Sport Touring" and therefore cheap. Go to a Vee Strom, and it is considered a sport bike, and the rate goes through the roof. There is no logic to any of it.
    #34
  15. Buzz363

    Buzz363 Been here awhile

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    For private vehicles it is the case.
    #35
  16. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    Many US states adhere to what's called the "Three States Rule." It's kind of perverse. Drive a car or a moto in a state in which the vehicle is plated with an out-of-state or foreign license, and you're OK. Drive the same vehicle with the same license in a state in which it's not plated, and you are breaking the law.
    #36
  17. trixterNorCal

    trixterNorCal Adventurer

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    I just want to be clear:

    If I reside in State A and thus my license is from State A but I have a summer home in State B with vehicles permanently there so licensed there and I then drive to State C while on holiday I have somehow broken a law?

    I have done this, not the summer home but license from one state, car from another driving into a 3rd. Nothing has ever come up even after traffic stops. I tried to google for it but there are a bunch of unrelated things for "three state rule".
    #37
  18. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    That's pretty much the way it works, in my experience. Never been busted for it myself, but an associate was driving a car registered in Wyoming (family residence) with a NH license while in VT was.

    There were other circumstances. He was drunk off his ass, driving an unsafe vehicle (no rear brakes) in a snowstorm on crappy tires. Not surprisingly, he went off to do some soil sampling in the deep bush. The cops threw the book at him, and among the charges were violation of this rule. I don't know where and if the rule applies, or if it still does. This was some years ago.

    #38
  19. trixterNorCal

    trixterNorCal Adventurer

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    I would be curious about the exact statute. The only thing I can find here (California) is that if you move to the state you must get a license here within 2 weeks. I have also historically seen people charged with having licenses in multiple states which is much more difficult now because of the network that links insurance companies and DMV agencies in almost every US state and Canada.

    This however could not be it if you are just traveling through a 3rd state so it must be something else.
    #39
  20. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

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    I looked into a couple yrs ago of plating and keeping a bike in Oregon, they had at the time an OK for out of state people to plate a bike, something about for part time residents. AZ probably has a similar gig, you will likely need some sort of US address, mailbox R-Us works
    oregon has mandatory insurance for MC's, Washington state doesnt. but wow is it a lot cheaper then you'se are paying. :1drink
    ya pay in other areas though...:huh
    #40