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How to register your new motorcycle

Bring your title, proof of insurance and payment for a quick registration process.

Getting registered involves a few key documents to prove ownership, insurance and the safety of your bike. Most provinces and territories require you to have minimum insurance coverage before registering — so prepare to show proof of insurance at the Ministry of Transportation.

How do I register my motorcycle during the coronavirus?

In many provinces, vehicle license expiry dates have been extended in light of the coronavirus lockdown. If you have a registration extension, you can find that info on your Ministry of Transportation website. In addition, you can renew your bike’s registration online in most provinces and territories. Online renewals may require only your bike’s vehicle identification number (VIN), your driver’s license number and a credit card payment.

However, each province and territory differs in how it’s handling new vehicle registrations. Your best bet is to visit your local Ministry of Transportation website to see how it deals with new registrations at this time. Look for a coronavirus statement or FAQ section linked on the homepage. Examples of what is being done include:

  • Online or mail-in registrations. In some cases, you can send your registration information in by email, mail or by uploading it to your provincial government website. But, before you submit any forms, verify which methods of submission are acceptable.
  • Appointments only. Offices may be open by appointment only. Such locations may be limited to services that require an office visit like new registrations.

How do I register my motorcycle?

You can get your bike registered for the road with these 5 steps:

  1. Get a bike safety inspection, if applicable. If you’re registering a salvage bike or if you’re in a province that requires emissions inspections — you’ll have to let the required provincial agency approve your bike’s roadworthiness.
  2. Insure your bike. Double-check whether your province has different insurance requirements fro motorcycles versus cars.
  3. Visit the registration office. Visit your Ministry of Transportation or government service centre (such as Service Ontario or Service Alberta) and bring the necessary documents for registration. Customer service will help you register. Note there may be some equipment requirements you’ll have to meet like a minimum seat height, minimum/maximum speeds or a minimum wheel-rim diametre.
  4. Pay the applicable fee. Registration and other fees may differ from your car’s registration, especially if it’s based on your vehicle’s weight or value. The cost of registration (including all components such as license plates and stickers) could vary from around $50 to over $150 depending on the province or territory in which you live.
  5. Display your license plate and tags. You’ll receive current tags and a license plate to display on your bike before cruising the streets.

What do I need to register my motorcycle?

If you just purchased a new ride or you’ve moved to a new province or territory, you’ll need to register your motorcycle and will likely need these documents:

  • Motorcycle title. Prove that you’re the proud owner with a motorcycle title that displays your name.
  • Proof of residence. You may need a utility bill, bank statement or pay stub with your address.
  • Insurance. Most provinces and territories have minimum insurance requirements that you must meet before registering your bike.
  • Safety or emissions inspection certificate. You may need a certificate proving your bike’s safety, especially if it’s a salvage motorcycle.
  • Payment for registration fees. You’ll have to pay for the registration and other applicable fees. Check your Ministry of Transportation’s website beforehand to verify which payment methods are acceptable.

Do I need insurance to register my motorcycle?

Yes, most provinces require you to have bike insurance or proof of financial responsibility before registering. You can provide proof by showing your motorcycle insurance card, which includes your name, policy number, bike description and VIN. While you might get an online card from your insurer, some provinces require a hard copy for registration.

For a first-time bike purchase, you’ll need to start a new policy and receive your proof of insurance card by mail or by printing it from your online account.

If you’re switching bikes and already have motorcycle insurance, your policy may cover the new bike for a specified period, possibly up to 30 days. In that case, you should have enough proof to register your motorcycle, but you should update your insurance with the new motorcycle’s details.

Where do I register my motorcycle?

Typically, you can register your motorcycle at a local provincial Service centre or motor vehicle office. Every province and territory has its own government website with the appropriate contact information. While most offices take walk-ins, you may be able to set up an appointment for quicker processing.

How much does it cost to register a motorcycle?

Registration costs vary by state but can range from $50 to $150 or more. You may also pay a title fee or title transfer fee that usually costs anywhere from $10 to $50 if you’re moving between provinces or retitling the bike in your name. If you purchased a vehicle in a different province from the one in which you live, you may be required to pay retail sales tax on the purchase price.

How long do I have to register my motorcycle?

The length of time to register varies by province and territory but is often between 60 and 90 days. In Alberta, for example, the length of time is 90 days, while in Ontario, you have 60 days.

If you bought your motorcycle from a dealership, the dealer may register the vehicle for you, but they aren’t required to do so. Note that there may be a shorter time frame for registering a motorcycle purchased from a private seller — for example, 7 days in Alberta or 14 days in Manitoba.

How do I register without the title or bill of sale?

Your province or territory needs some proof that you own the bike, such as an official bill of sale or car registration documents. If you bought a bike that doesn’t come with a title, you’ll most likely be able to use a bill of sale.

You can get a blank bill of sale and title application from your local provincial Service centre or Ministry of Transportation website. These forms will list any additional information you need to get the proper title. If you have a motorcycle loan, you should list the lienholder’s information on the title application, and the details of both the length and amount of your loan.

If you need to title your bike first, you can bring your completed title application along with you, which requires personal and loan details as well as your bike’s VIN to verify the sale.

How to get a VIN check on a used vehicle

What should I watch out for?

By registering right away, you can avoid several common mistakes:

  • Not registering an unused bike. To drive or even just park an unused motorcycle on public roads, it needs to be registered.
  • Forgetting to update insurance. You might receive penalties for riding uninsured if you don’t apply for or update a current policy with your new motorcycle information.
  • Late registration. Failing to register on time could mean hefty late registration fees and other penalties, depending on how late you are.

Bottom line

Registering your bike requires paperwork and documentation, which looks different in every province and territory. But on the bright side, registering your bike gets you one step closer to the open road and may even be the last step in your state.

Need insurance first? Find the best motorcycle provider to protect your new ride.

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