Motorbike insurance guide

Motorbike  insurance can cover you if you're involved in an accident or your bike is  stolen or damaged. Individual policies can vary depending on the insurer and  the type of insurance taken out.

Do I need motorbike insurance?

Valid  insurance is a legal requirement to ride a motorbike on a road or any other  public space in the UK. Any rider must have at least third party insurance  cover.

What is third party insurance?

Third  party motorbike insurance only covers injury to people or damage to their  property resulting from an accident for which you were to blame. If you are  injured or your bike is damaged in an accident that was not your fault and you  only have third party insurance, you must pursue your claim through the other  party's insurer. Third party insurance does not cover your bike against theft  or vandalism.

What is third party, fire and theft insurance?

Third  party, fire and theft motorbike  insurance is basically an upgraded version of third party cover. It gives  all the same protection as third party only insurance but will also cover your  costs if your bike is stolen or set on fire.

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive  motorbike insurance offers all the benefits of third party, fire and theft  insurance but it will also cover you for damage or injury in an accident that  was your fault. Some policies may also offer additional benefits, such as  breakdown assistance and legal expenses cover. There may also be 'bolt ons'  such as insurance for your helmet and leathers. These will generally be  optional extras that will give you additional cover for an extra cost.

What is an excess?

For  most insurance claims you make, you will have to pay the first part of the  cost. This is known as the excess. The amount of excess payable will vary  between different insurance providers and individual policies. It is sometimes  possible to raise the amount of excess you pay (known as a voluntary excess) in  exchange for a lower overall premium.

Can I ride my bike abroad?

Some  policies will automatically cover you if you take your bike abroad but others  will not. If you have a comprehensive policy in the UK it may offer a reduced  level of cover abroad. A minimum level of insurance is compulsory in all  European countries and almost all countries worldwide. If your existing policy  does not cover you abroad, it may be possible to get temporary cover for the  duration of your trip.

Will motorbike insurance cover a pillion passenger?

Pillion  passengers used to be routinely covered by the rider's motorbike insurance.  Nowadays this is not always the case. Many insurers will give applicants the  option of whether to purchase cover for pillion passengers or not. Not doing so  will reduce the cost of the premium but it is illegal to carry an uninsured  passenger.

What factors will affect my premium?

There  are many factors that can affect the cost of your premium. These can include  your age, occupation and the specifications of your bike. Insurers assess the  risk of providing cover and young riders on fast powerful bikes are considered  to be relatively high risk.

The  value of the bike may also be important as it will obviously cost an insurer  more to replace an expensive bike that is written off in an accident than a  cheaper one. Expensive bikes can also be more attractive to thieves. The area  in which you live can also affect your premium, depending on whether it's  considered a high or low risk area when it comes to crime.

Classic  motorcycles may sometimes be cheaper to ensure than their modern counterparts.  Many ensurers recognise the fact that classic bikes can be difficult to sell on  and are therefore less attractive to thieves. Classic bike owners are also  statistically less likely to be involved in an accident and are often classed  as 'light' users who are more likely to be taking their bike to a convention or  for the occasional spin rather than using it every day on motorways or city  traffic.

Many  insurers will offer a discount to riders who complete the Driving Standards  Agency's enhanced rider scheme and earn a DSA certificate of competence. Most  will also offer a no claims discount to riders who have been riding for a given  time period without making a claim.

What is a no claims discount?

A  no claims discount, also known as a no claims bonus, is a discount applied to  your motorbike insurance premium based on your recent claims history. The exact  details of a no claims discount can vary between insurers and individual  policies but you will generally earn one year of no claims discount for every  year you have motorbike insurance without making a claim. There will usually be  a maximum number of years allowed for the discount.

No  claims discounts can sometimes be protected. Many policies include an optional  extra premium that protects your no claims discount even if you do make a  claim. Even if you have no claims discount protection, there is usually a limit  on how many claims you can make in a given time period and still keep your no claims  discount.

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