Bikes that are more than 15 to 20 years old are typically considered classics, but definitions can vary between insurers. For example, one might only offer classic bike insurance for motorcycles that are at least 25 years old, while another might offer it for rides that are at least 15 years old but only used recreationally or for special occasions.
However, bikes that are not quite 20 years old may be viewed as a “modern classic” or “future classic” bike and still be insured under classic motorbike insurance. Remember to do your research to find the insurers that are willing to cover you and your classic bike.
What makes classic, vintage and veteran motorcycle insurance different?
Some of the features that apply to standard motorcycle insurance might not be available with classic bike coverage. For example, you might not be able to get a rental car while your bike is out of commission. Naturally, you won’t find a new replacement option if your bike is totaled, either.
Things that make a vintage bike policy unique include:
Comprehensive coverage. You generally cannot get lower levels of coverage, such as liability only insurance, with a vintage bike policy. This generally protects your bike against all accident damage, theft, vandalism, fire, flooding and more.
Agreed value. Because of differences in valuation and the impossibility of applying the usual rules of depreciation to vintage motorcycles, coverage for classic bikes is usually based on an agreed value.
Lay-up and low usage. Lay-up coverage is for bikes that stay in the garage and aren’t ridden. If you ride your bike, but not often, low usage coverage is what you want.
Modifications coverage. If you increase the value of your bike by making modifications, that can be factored into the agreed value in case something happens to it.
Choice of repairer. This option may be more likely to be available with classic bike coverage.
Salvage rights. In the event of a total loss, where a vehicle is written off, standard vehicle insurance policies will typically give the insurer salvage rights. However, classic motorcycle insurance policies will often let you retain salvage rights. It may be important to check for this in particular.
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What options should I look for in a motorcycle policy?
Consider how often you ride and how far you tend to ride per year, and look for a policy that matches your usage. If you have distinct lay-up periods (such as never riding it in the winter) or usually only ride it once or twice a month, then it can be well worth specifically looking for lay-up options or limited-use discounts.
Other particularly useful benefits and options to look for motorcycle insurance include:
Riding gear coverage. Helmets and other riding gear can be expensive. Motorcycle insurance will often cover riding gear separately from other belongings and have a higher limit.
Emergency accommodation. This can be useful if you’re riding a long way from home.
Emergency repairs. This can cover you for a set amount of unauthorized emergency repairs, such as for minor breakdowns.
Storage and towing. Cover for the cost of safely transporting and storing your bike if it’s damaged.
Roadside assistance. Some insurers will offer a roadside assistance network with comprehensive coverage. Knowing who to call in the event of an accident or breakdown can be important.
Passenger and sidecar coverage. If you’ll be carrying passengers at all, it’s worth checking how they might be covered.
Exclusions to be aware of
Some of the main exclusions to watch out for include:
Wear and tear, rust, corrosion or deterioration
Riding a non-roadworthy or non-street legal bike
Faulty or unapproved repairs
Tire damage caused by road punctures
Classic motorcycle insurance rates
While the average cost of standard bike insurance is around $500 to $1,000, you might be paying closer to $1,000 to $2,000 to insure your classic bike. Your premiums are generally affected by the following factors.
Age and gender. Riders under 25 can expect higher premiums. Some insurers will also offer lower premiums for women, who are statistically at lower risk of accidents than men.
The value of your bike. The agreed value at which you’ve insured your motorcycle directly affects premiums, especially if you have comprehensive coverage.
Your riding history. If you have a history of accidents or tickets, expect a higher premium.
How you use your vehicle. If you have limited-use discounts, specific lay-up periods or generally only ride occasionally, you can often get lower premiums.
Your deductible. You can decrease your premium by agreeing to pay a higher deductible. While it can be tempting to drive your premium down as low as possible, don’t agree to a deductible you can’t afford to pay if your bike gets damaged.
Where your vehicle is kept when not in use. You can get lower premiums by keeping your motorcycle in an enclosed and secure place when not in use.
Most insurers will give you the option to pay annually, every six months or every month. You can usually save money by choosing to pay a lump sum once a year.
Possibly, but rules about who can borrow your bike and when vary from policy to policy. If you plan to let someone else ride your bike regularly, you should add them to your policy. If you just want to know if you can let a friend test drive it once, contact your insurer to be safe.
Andrew Munro is the cryptocurrency editor at Finder. He was initially writing about insurance, when he accidentally fell in love with digital currency and distributed ledger technology (aka “the blockchain”). Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, and has written guides about everything from industrial pigments to cosmetic surgery.
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