Classic motorbike insurance

If you own a classic motorbike, find out your insurance options and get your investment the protection it deserves.

Classic motorbike insurance can offer you and your classic motorbike the specialist protection it needs. What’s more, the insurance premiums can be competitive and often lower than traditional motorbike cover. Read our guide to discover how classic motorbike insurance works, and see how you could save money on your premiums.

What is classic motorbike insurance?

The features and benefits of classic motorbike insurance and traditional motorbike insurance are very similar. However, insurers that offer classic motorbike insurance generally make some different assumptions about owners of classic bikes. For instance, a rider might take extra special care of the motorbike to keep it in good condition. They might ride their classic bike much less than a standard motorbike and at less busier times therefore covering fewer miles a year. All these factors can mean that a classic motorbike insurance policy results in a lower premium than a traditional motorbike insurance policy for a modern bike.

There is one significant difference between classic motorbike insurance and a traditional policy – working out the motorbike’s true value.

Working out how much a classic bike is worth can be extremely difficult compared with figuring out the worth of a modern bike. Insurers offering traditional policies will generally only pay you what the bike is currently worth known as the “market value” if your bike is stolen or written off. This can typically be much less than what you actually paid for your bike as the bike depreciates over time.

This might not suit classic motorbikes that have had a lot of time and money spent on them to keep them maintained. Some classic bikes can also increase in value over time. This is why many insurers that offer classic motorbike insurance will allow the driver to agree on the value of the bike and decide on the sum that would be paid out in the event of it being stolen or written off. This tends to increase the insurance premiums but the owner may have added peace of mind that they’ll receive the agreed amount rather than the market value if something bad happens.

Some insurers may also allow owners to review this agreed value at a later date to ensure their classic bike is accurately valued in the future.

When does a motorbike become a classic?

Each insurer will have its own definition of what a classic motorbike is so it’s worth shopping around to see if you and your bike will be covered under a classic insurance policy.

Classic bikes are typically old, at least between 20 and 30 years’ old. However, bikes that are not quite this 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 does classic motorbike insurance generally cover?

While classic cover is broadly the same as standard motorbike cover, some features do vary. Some of these include:

  • Agreed value cover. An insurer will guarantee paying you the agreed value of the motorbike’s worth that you set if your bike is stolen or written off.
  • Limited mileage. An insurer may specify that a certain annual mileage must not be exceeded such as 5,000 miles.
  • Salvage retention. If you are involved in an accident and your insurer deems the repair too costly, you have the option of either selling your bike to your insurer for the agreed value or keeping your damaged bike and receiving a percentage of the agreed value.
  • Cover during road rallies or festivals. Cover during public events where your bike may take part in a rally or be on temporary display.
  • EU cover. For use while you take your classic bike on road trips around Europe.
  • Laid up cover. For classic motorbikes, any spare parts and accessories that are temporarily off the road, in storage, being transported, on display or being restored.

It’s a good idea to shop around for quotes and compare the cover benefits as some cover may be included as standard while other insurers may charge you extra for additional protection.

How much does classic motorbike insurance cost?

The cost of classic motorbike insurance varies from insurer to insurer just as traditional policies do. Classic cover can sometimes work out cheaper, for example, if the bike is only used for a few months of the year and securely stored in a locked garage the rest of the time. Classic cover might also work out more expensive, for example, if the bike is worth a great deal of money and the agreed value is set high to take this into consideration. It’s best to shop around and compare quotes against the cover benefits, as the cheapest cover might not necessarily be the best cover for your needs.

How can I lower the cost of my classic motorbike insurance?

  • Increase security. If your bike is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
    Have a secure location to park your bike. Bikes kept in a locked garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Limit your mileage. Letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance, especially if your classic bike is only used during certain times of the year.
  • Increase excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.
  • Limit optional extras if you don’t need them. Think carefully about which optional extras you really want as adding extra protection to your policy will generally push the price up too.
  • Avoid paying monthly. If you can, try to pay for your premium in one go as you’ll pay interest if the premium is spread out over the year.
  • Limit modifications. Any modifications made to your bike to make it look or ride better are likely to increase your premiums so think carefully before making any changes.
  • Consider specialist policies. Insurers tend to assume that as a classic motorbike owner, you’re unlikely to ride it during busy times of the day or commute to work on it, and that you’ll cover fewer miles. Choosing a specialist policy may work out cheaper through added discounts.
  • Shop around. Don’t simply choose to renew your motorbike insurance when it’s up for renewal as you could end up paying more than you need. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal.

Frequently asked questions

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Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of 1032 Brits, December 2023
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*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, (Mar ’24). 51% of car insurance customers could save £539.54

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