Temporary motorbike insurance

Find out what short term motorbike insurance includes, who it's best for and whether it can save you money.

It’s illegal to drive any vehicle without valid insurance on UK roads. But what should you do if you only need cover for one day, week or month? This is where short term insurance comes in. We’ve looked at whether temporary bike insurance is better value than getting an annual policy and what options you have for your cover.

What is temporary motorbike insurance?

Temporary motorbike insurance is motor insurance for a bike that is offered on a temporary basis – usually between 1 day and 30 days.

What options do I have when it comes to motorbike insurance?

Options for motorbike insurance are similar to those on offer with car insurance – you can get an annual policy (which you pay for either in one lump sum or in monthly instalments), or temporary cover, which is usually valid for between one day and one month.

When might temporary motorcycle insurance be the best option?

It’s illegal to keep a vehicle uninsured, unless you declare it as SORN. This means you won’t be able to use temporary insurance for your own bike so you can use it only when you wish to.

However, this type of cover can come in handy in the following circumstances:

  • If you’re borrowing a bike from a friend or family member. You could add yourself to their insurance, but taking out your own temporary cover means their no-claims bonus won’t be affected if you have an accident.
  • If you’re test riding a bike or need to get it home from the point of purchase.
  • If you’re riding a courtesy or replacement motorcycle (though check whether your provider offers cover for this).
  • If you’re riding a motorcycle on holiday. If you’re riding abroad, make sure your policy includes cover outside the UK.

What is covered under a temporary motorcycle policy?

In most cases, you’ll be able to choose the same levels of cover on offer for annual policies:

  • Third party only. This is the minimum level of cover that all UK drivers are required to have by law. Often the cheapest option, it only protects you if you cause harm to other people or their property, and doesn’t protect your motorcycle against any type of damage.
  • Third party, fire and theft. This policy offers all the same benefits as third party cover, as well as protection for your bike against fire and theft. It can be a good option if your motorbike is old and might not be worth repairing if you have an accident.
  • Comprehensive. This is the most complete form of insurance you can get, so if you’re looking for top cover, this is the option for you. Specifications vary by provider, but comprehensive motorbike insurance covers you for most eventualities, except for those outlined in your policy exclusions.

Will I save money on a temporary motorcycle policy?

This depends on your circumstances. As short term motorbike insurance is a specialist policy, it can be more expensive when compared to an annual policy.

If you only need to use a bike for one day or one week, there is no point insuring it for the entire year, but it’s still worth checking the price to see if it might actually work out cheaper.

Your quotes will be based on your age and driving experience, as well as the details of your bike and any no-claims bonus you have. You should get prices for both short term cover and an annual policy to see which would be better for you.

Note that if you then cancel the annual policy before it expires, you might have to pay a cancellation fee and you won’t get your no-claims bonus for that year.

Frequently asked questions

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