Whether you ride to work every day or only go dirt biking on the weekend, you can find a motorcycle insurance policy to suit your needs.
We break down what to look for in a motorcycle insurance policy; how to get a quote; how to make a claim and how a premium works.
What do you want to learn?
Like car insurance, motorcycle insurance usually comes in three forms: Comprehensive; third party fire and theft and third party property. The appropriate motorcycle insurance policy for you depends on how you use your bike.
Each policy typically covers the following, but this may differ between insurers:
|Storm or flood|
|Emergency accommodation, transport and repairs|
|Locks and keys|
|Personalised registration plates|
What else should I look for in a policy?
Consider the cost of a policy and the cover offered, as well as the various extras and options available. Some of the extras you may find include:
- Helmet and riding gear cover. Your riding leathers, helmet and other gear can be expensive. Some policies cover the theft or damage of helmets and riding gear.
- Personal effects cover. Often found separate to riding gear cover, you may discover policies that allow you to insure personal effects carried on or in the bike.
- Agreed or market value. If the market value isn’t a fair reflection of your bike’s real worth, for example, if you need insurance for a modified motorcycle, you might want to look for a policy that offers agreed value as an option, rather than just insuring it at market value.
- Flexible excess. It may be worth looking for an insurer that lets you set the standard excess, to tailor your costs further.
- New replacement. If a relatively new motorcycle is written off following an insured event, you might get a brand new equivalent replacement. Usually, a time limit, often two years, applies to this cover type.
- Temporary replacement vehicle. If you need your bike to get around, it might be worth looking for a policy that provides a hire vehicle following a theft.
- Personal items. You can get cover for the theft or damage of personal items and trailers.
- Keys and locks. Cover for the cost of re-keying or re-coding locks if someone steals your keys.
- Windscreen damage. You may be able to find an option for excess-free windscreen and broken glass claims.
- Protected no claims bonus. Policies that offer no claims discounts may also provide an extra-cost option that lets you make at-fault claims without losing your discount.
- Tools and trailer cover. If you use your bike to tow a trailer or use it to transport trade tools, then cover for these can often be found as a separate option.
I’m new to owning a motorcycle – what insurance options do I have?
As a young or inexperienced driver, it’s an unfortunate reality that you have to pay a higher price for your premium. However, there are ways to help reduce it. Choose a bike with a less powerful engine, as ones with a larger and more powerful engine are more expensive to insure.
If you keep your bike in a garage and have proper security measures in place, the insurance provider may reduce your premium because it reduces the likelihood of your bike sustaining damage. If you can, try to avoid accidents to build up a no-claims history.
How much will it cost?
Consider the example below to get an idea of how drastically the cost of insurance can change depending on your age and the type of vehicle. Insurers often categorise motorcycles by engine capacity range, for example, a “300cc to 600cc” group.
Age is often categorised similarly, such as a “30 to 40 year” age group, which means you might find your premium changing dramatically as you move groups, You might also find entirely different costs depending on the exact categories used by an insurer. For example, if you have a 250cc bike, one insurer might place it in the safest group, while another might put it in the second-safest.
You need to get a quote to find out how much your motorcycle insurance will cost.
What affects motorcycle insurance premiums?
- The value of your bike. Newer, more expensive and more powerful bikes are usually dearer to insure than older, cheaper and less powerful models. Consider how much your bike will cost to insure before you lay down your hard-earned cash to buy motorcycle insurance.
- Your claim history. The longer you have a policy without making a claim, the higher the no claims discount you receive from your motorcycle insurance provider, which can help you save on your premium.
- Your age. Riders under the age of 25 cost more to insure than older drivers. If you’re over 25, you may wish to consider whether it’s worth adding an under 25 rider to your motorcycle insurance policy. Specifying that no one under 25 will ride your bike might save you a lot of money.
- Modifications. In some cases, changes to your bike can help you save on the premium, eg if you add a security system to deter thieves. However, if your bike undergoes performance enhancements to make it faster or more powerful, you can expect your premium to go up.
- Where you keep your bike. Keeping your bike in a secure, locked garage (or car hold) when you’re not riding it will lower your premium. If your bike is left parked on the street, you can expect to pay more for your insurance.
- Your level of cover. If you need cover for more risk, with a comprehensive policy, your premium will be higher.
- Engine capacity. More powerful engines typically come with a higher premium because accidents at higher speeds often cause more damage. Riders may be more likely to lose control of powerful motorcycles, and these motorbikes might statistically be more likely to be ridden in an unsafe way.
- Your excess option. You can opt to pay a higher excess in return for a lower premium.
Can you lower your insurance premium?
If you can adjust the factors that affect your premium, you may be able to pay less. Can you:
- Keep your motorcycle in a different place overnight? You can often receive a lower premium if you keep it in a secure garage rather than out in the open.
- Re-assess the value of your bike? For example, if you insure a brand new motorcycle at the agreed value, then it might be over-insured two years later, and you might be paying too much for cover.
- Pay the premium annually? Many insurers charge less overall for a premium paid annually rather than monthly.
- Get discounts? You may be entitled to a range of discounts, including loyalty bonuses; no claims bonuses; discounts for signing up online; multi-policy discounts etc.
- Adjust your cover? You might be paying extra for policy options about which you don’t feel strongly.
What excess do I have to pay for motorcycle insurance?
The excess is the amount you need to contribute towards a claim. The exact amount often depends on the type of claim; the insurer; the policy and your chosen options. Sometimes there is more than one excess payable, including:
- Basic excess – Also known as the “standard excess”, this applies to most types of claims. When you can choose your excess for a higher or lower premium, you’re typically adjusting the basic excess.
- Age excess – Under 25s often have to pay an additional age excess when claiming.
- Undisclosed rider excess – If you don’t list the driver as a user on the policy, you may need to pay an additional excess in the event of a claim.
- Licence or experience excess – Inexperienced riders, who have held their motorcycle licence for less than two years, may need to pay an inexperienced rider excess. Sometimes this only applies to over 25s.
- Special excess – Special excesses may apply for individual circumstances. For example, if you have a history of traffic infringements, then an insurer might only agree to cover you if there is a special excess. Often this excess applies to certain types of claim, for example, there might be a “theft excess” with some policies.
How much should I choose for my basic excess?
The ideal amount depends on your circumstances and the policy. It may be worth opting for a higher excess to reduce your premium, especially if you’re a particularly safe rider, or only intend to claim in the event of a total loss.
However, it’s a good idea to make sure the excess is affordable, so you can more easily make a claim if needed.
How are bike insurance premiums calculated?
Different insurers may use various factors when determining a premium. Insurance providers may consider these factors to determine a motorbike insurance quote:
- What is the condition of your claims history? If you’ve claimed on your motorcycle insurance in the past, insurers classify you as posing an increased risk of making a future claim, and this will drive your premiums up. On the flip-side, a no claims bonus can significantly lower the cost of cover.
- Who rides your bike? If you’re an experienced rider, with an unblemished claims history, and you’re the only person riding your bike, the cost of cover should stay low. However, if you also want your insurance policy to cover a 22-year-old rider with a speeding conviction and several previous insurance claims, expect your premium to skyrocket.
- Do you have a clean riding history? If you’ve got a long string of speeding and traffic offences, insurers see you as posing a high level of risk and will increase your motorcycle insurance premium.
- Where do you live? If you live in a high crime area, the likelihood of your bike being stolen increases and this is reflected in the cost of your motorbike insurance, as will whether or not you keep your bike safely garaged overnight.
- Are there any security systems installed on your bike? Bikes with alarm systems or immobilisers are less likely to be stolen, which means you can save on your insurance premium.
- What kind of bike do you ride? If your bike is expensive and/or high powered, expect it to cost more to insure than cheaper, less powerful models.
- How much do you ride? The fewer kilometres you ride, the lower your motorcycle insurance premium may be.
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