Why do I need motorbike insurance?
Motorbike insurance is a legal requirement for anyone riding a motorcycle, scooter or moped on the road. It protects you against liability you may have if your motorbike is involved in an accident and damages another vehicle or injures another person. Some types of motorbike insurance will also cover you for the loss or damage of your bike.
If you ride any kind of motorbike – what the government now calls powered two-wheelers – without the correct insurance you are breaking the law and could face a fine, points on your licence, and you could even have your bike seized by the police.
Not all motorbike insurance policies are created equal, and what’s covered will depend on the cover level you opt for. There are three different levels of motorcycle insurance available in the UK: third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive cover.
Third party insurance provides the basic motorcycle cover required by law and pays out for damage to someone else or their property if your bike is involved in an accident. However, it doesn't cover the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle.
Third party, fire and theft insurance provides the same cover for your motorcycle as third party insurance, but in addition it covers the cost of repairing or replacing your bike if it's stolen or damaged by fire.
Full comprehensive insurance provides the same cover for your motorcycle as third party fire and theft insurance, but in addition it covers the cost of repairing or replacing your bike if you accidentally damage it.
Aside from the basic cover levels above, many policies include (or allow you to add) extra features. These can include cover for riding other bikes, riding abroad, breakdown assistance and cover for your helmet and leathers.
It’s important to note that while some insurance policies will include cover for pillion passengers, it’s not always included as standard. When running an insurance quote, you can choose whether to include pillion cover.
Opting not to include it could cut the cost of your cover, but be aware that it’s a legal requirement to have pillion cover if you ever carry a passenger on your bike.
You will need to tell your insurer how you use your motorbike. If you commute to work (or even to a station to get a train to work) you’ll need to add commuter cover to the standard social, domestic and pleasure cover.
If you ride to more than one office or to different locations you need business use. You will need to tell your insurer what job you do, what kind of business use you need and how much of the motorcycle riding will be for business rather than pleasure.
If you need to use your motorcycle to work as a courier, you will need a specialist courier insurance policy.
Your insurance premium will depend mostly on your age (insurance tends to be more expensive for younger riders), the make and model of bike, the power and capacity of your motorbike's engine and the area where you live.
You might find a smaller, lighter bike actually increases your motorcycle insurance premiums because it is easier to steal and often more popular with young tearaways.
Insurance companies will take your experience on the road into account too, including previous accidents, claims and road traffic convictions — it’s important to declare these whether they occurred on your motorbike or another vehicle, such as a car or van.
As is the case with most insurance policies, your motorbike insurer will expect you to pay the first part of any claim — this is called a compulsory excess. The amount will depend on the individual policy (this will be listed in your quote).
Many insurers will also include a voluntary excess, which you can amend yourself. You may be able to reduce the cost of your motorbike insurance by paying a higher voluntary excess on top of the compulsory excess.
Generally speaking, the more you agree to pay in excess, the cheaper your premium will be. It's important to remember, though, that you will need to pay this amount in the event of a claim.