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Do I need motorbike insurance?
Motorbike insurance is a legal requirement for anyone riding on public roads in the UK. Motorbike insurance policies are designed to protect you against liability if you are involved in an accident that causes damage to another vehicle or injury to another person. A motorcycle insurance policy also offers cover if your bike is stolen, vandalised or damaged in a fire.
If your motorbike is declared off-road through a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), you won’t have to insure or tax it. A SORN tells the Driving Licensing and Vehicles Association (DVLA) that your motorbike is no longer in use. This means you can’t ride or park it on a public road.
You could face a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points if you’re caught driving a motorbike without the right insurance. If your case goes to court, you may get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving. The police also have the power to destroy or seize a vehicle that is being driven uninsured.
What types of motorbike insurance are available?
Motorbike insurance companies offer three main types of policies; third party, third party, fire and theft, and comprehensive insurance.
Some insurers also offer specialist policies for particular types of bikes, for example, classic bikes, mopeds/scooters and quad bikes.
What does motorbike insurance cover?
Most motorbike insurance includes cover for the following for each policy level:
- Third party: The minimum level of insurance needed by law, it includes damage to other vehicles and people but doesn’t cover you or your motorbike.
- Third party, fire and theft: Covers everything in a third party policy and also includes the cost of repairing or replacing your bike if it is stolen, damaged or destroyed in a fire.
- Comprehensive: The highest level of insurance a driver can get, it includes cover for everything in third party, fire and theft as well as protecting you and your motorbike. It also covers medical expenses if you suffer injury in an accident.
What isn’t covered by motorbike insurance?
Motorbike insurance policies may not cover the following as standard:
- Protective clothing: Helmets, gloves, boots and other protective clothing can be expensive. So it may be worth adding it to your policy in case they’re damaged in an accident.
- Passengers: If you plan on carrying passengers on your motorbike, you’ll need to have pillion insurance cover added to your policy by law.
- Legal expenses: This may help you to recover losses if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured person. For example, claiming for a loss of earnings, vehicle repairs or personal injury.
- Roadside assistance: Covers the cost of recovering your motorbike if you break down. Some companies offer standalone breakdown cover, which may be cheaper than adding it to your insurance policy.
- Modifications: It’s important to declare any motorbike modifications to your insurer as they may not be covered and could void your insurance policy. Also let the DVLA know about these changes.
It may be possible to add some of these cover features to a standard motorbike insurance policy for an additional charge. Be sure to check the terms of a policy before purchasing cover and if anything is unclear, get in touch with the provider to find out more.
How to get cheaper motorbike insurance quotes
The price you’re offered for bike insurance often comes down to how likely an insurer thinks you’ll make a claim. As a general rule, you can get cheaper motorbike insurance quotes if there is less risk that you’ll be involved in an accident.
You can demonstrate this to insurers by driving safely and building up a no-claims bonus. Increasing the safety of your motorbike could also help you get cheaper quotes. For example, fitting your bike with alarms, chains and identity systems to reduce the risk of theft.
Shopping around can also help you find the cheapest motorbike insurance deals. Price comparison websites are a great place to start because they allow you to compare lots of deals quickly. We have partnered with Quotezone.co.uk, which compares 20-plus motorbike insurance providers.
Motorbike Insurance FAQs
How much is motorbike insurance?
The cost of motorbike insurance varies depending on the type of bike you’d like to insure, your personal circumstances and whether you add optional extras to your policy.
Can you insure a motorbike for 6 months?
It is possible to insure a motorbike for six months. Some specialist insurers offer temporary motorbike insurance for up to three months. After this time you’ll have to renew the policy to get cover for the remaining three months. However, it’s important to note that your motorbike must be insured unless it’s declared off-road using a SORN. Otherwise, you could face a penalty, legal action and disqualification from driving.
What will affect my premium?
Your motorbike insurance premium may be affected by your:
- claims history
- no-claims bonus
- bike model
What might be excluded?
The incidents excluded from a motorbike insurance policy vary between providers. Typically, motorbike insurance doesn’t include cover for damage to protective clothing, roadside assistance and legal expenses as standard. So it’s important to read the terms and conditions of a policy before signing up to avoid being caught out if you ever have to claim.
Do I need to insure my vehicle for the whole year?
It is possible to insure a motorbike for less than a year using short-term bike cover. However, your motorbike must be insured at all times unless it is declared off-road using a SORN. You could face legal action and be banned from riding if you’re caught without the right insurance or properly declaring your bike as off-road.
Can taking a course help?
Yes – taking an advanced motorcycle training course can sometimes lower costs.
Does my car no-claims discount (NCD) affect my motorbike insurance and vice versa?
Your NCD can’t be transferred between different types of vehicles. This means that it’s not possible to use an NCD you’ve built up driving a car to a motorbike insurance policy. But you can transfer it from a motorbike to another motorbike.
What else do I need to know?
- Paying for a policy annually is usually cheaper than paying monthly.
- Premiums tend to be lower for less powerful bikes.
- Increasing the voluntary excess on your policy could make it cheaper – but make sure you can afford the higher excess if you were to make a claim.
How can I get a cheaper quote?
By using a comparison website you may be able to compare quotes from more insurance providers than you would otherwise have been able to by going directly to each. This could make it more likely that you find a cheaper quote. We have partnered with Quotezone.co.uk, which compares 20-plus motorbike insurance providers and is 100% independent, meaning it is not owned or has investment from any insurance company.
Are there any other additional motorbike covers I should look into?
It’s important to work out exactly what cover you need under a motorbike insurance policy. For example, if you plan on travelling with a passenger, you’ll need to add pillion insurance to your policy. Or, if you’re likely to ride your motorbike in Europe, it may be worth considering European breakdown cover too.