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Motorbike insurance guide

Need-to-know facts about motorbike insurance

Use this page to find essential information about bike insurance in the UK.

For more information about some of the terms we use, click on the highlighted words or see our motorbike insurance glossary.

Why do I need motorbike insurance?

Bike insurance is a legal requirement for anyone riding a motorcycle on the road. It protects you against liability you may have if your bike is involved in an accident and damages another vehicle or injures another person.

What if I ride my motorbike without insurance?

If you ride a motorbike 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.

What are the different types of motorbike insurance?

There are 3 different levels of motorcycle insurance in the UK: third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive cover.

What is third party motorbike insurance?

Third party insurance is the cheapest option. It 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.

What is third party, fire and theft motorbike insurance?

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.

What is comprehensive motorbike insurance?

This is the most expensive but also the most inclusive motorbike insurance. As well as having all the features of third party motorcycle insurance, it will cover you if you need repairs to your bike, if it’s stolen, and may offer additional features such as legal expenses cover.

What factors will affect how much I have to pay for my motorbike insurance?

Your insurance premium will depend mostly on your age (the younger you are the more it will cost), the make and model of bike, the power and capacity of your motorbike’s engine and the area where you live.

Insurance companies will also take into account your driving record too, including previous accidents, claims and road traffic convictions. Factors will vary from insurer to insurer.

What is a no-claims bonus?

If you have been riding a motorbike for some time without making a claim on your insurance then you may be entitled to a no-claims bonus. This is a discount on the cost of your bike insurance premium.

If you have a several years’ experience without making a claim on your motorcycle insurance, some insurers will allow you to protect your no-claims bonus for a small additional premium. This allows you to make one or more claims on your bike insurance within a set time without losing your discount

What is an excess?

All motorcycle insurance policies will expect you to pay the first part of any claim, this is called a compulsory excess. How much this will be will depend on the individual policy and on the claim.

You may be able to reduce the cost of your motorbike insurance by paying a higher voluntary excess (an amount you pay in addition to the compulsory excess). Generally speaking the more you agree to pay in excess, the cheaper your premium will be.

How can I cut the cost of my motorcycle insurance?

There are various ways in which you can help cut the cost of your motorcycle insurance:

  • keep your bike in a garage;
  • agree to pay a higher excess;
  • complete an approved advanced riding course;
  • fit security such as an insurance-approved lock and alarm, immobiliser or data tag identification and tracking system;
  • pay for the whole year in one go (monthly payments may mean you end up paying more);
  • compare motorbike insurance prices with a comparison site to make sure you’re getting the cheapest deal.

What extras should I consider when buying motorbike insurance?

When you’re looking around for motorcycle insurance quotes, you may want to choose a policy that includes:

  • legal assistance to cover legal costs following an accident;
  • breakdown cover;
  • insurance for your helmet, leathers and other personal possessions;
  • no claims discount protection;
  • European cover, if you intend to ride your bike abroad.

Will my helmet and leathers be covered by my motorbike insurance?

Probably not as part of the basic motorcycle insurance policy, although they may be covered on your home insurance policy. If not, you can take out specific cover for your helmet and leathers for an additional premium.

Can I get insurance for my classic motorcycle?

Yes. And the good news is that insurance for classic bikes from the 60s, 70s and 80s tends to be cheaper than insurance for modern motorbikes. This is because they generally attract fewer claims and classic bike owners usually cover less mileage.

Will my motorbike insurance cover a pillion passenger?

Motorcycle insurance policies used to automatically include cover for pillion passengers, but now most insurers let you choose whether you want to include it or not.

Opting not to cover pillion passengers can cut your premium by up to 10%, but if you intend to carry someone else on your bike then you must have the correct cover or you will be breaking the law.


Certificate of Insurance
The certificate is a document that proves you have valid insurance for your motorcycle. It includes who can ride the bike and what it can be used for.

This is the formal application you make to your insurer for payment under your policy.

Compulsory excess
The compulsory excess is the amount your insurer requires you to pay towards each claim.

The risks your motorcycle insurance policy protects you against.

Cover note
A document issued when you take out motorcycle insurance as temporary evidence that your bike is covered by the insurance.

Cover type
Third party, third party, fire and theft or fully comprehensive.

The amount you agree to pay of each claim.
The compulsory excess is the amount your insurer requires you pay, while a voluntary excess is an additional amount you can opt to pay towards a claim to cut the cost of your premium.

An event or circumstance in which the insurance company does not have to pay out under the policy.

Fully comprehensive insurance
The most inclusive motorcycle cover available which, as well protecting you from liability to other people and their property, covers the cost of repairing or replacing your motorbike whether you are at fault or not.

An electronic anti-theft device activated when the ignition key is removed.

Insurance schedule
The insurance schedule is a document that gives details of the cover you have and information that you have supplied to your insurer.

The person whose motorcycle is insured, also called the policyholder .

The organisation that issues the insurance policy and pays any claims in exchange for an insurance premium.

Market value
The cost of replacing your motorbike with another of the same make and model and of a similar age and condition at the time of the accident or loss.

No-claims bonus/discount
A discount on your premium if you have ridden a bike for a length of time without making a claim on your insurance.

The document setting out the legal rights and obligations of you and your insurer.

Policy holder
The person whose motorcycle is insured.

The amount you pay for your insurance.

Protected no-claims bonus or no-claims discount
If you have a four or more years’ no-claims bonus then you may be able to pay an extra amount and not lose your bonus if you make a claim.

Renewal notice
The notice sent by the insurer to you as the policyholder inviting you to renew your policy.

Sum insured
The total amount for which the motorcycle is insured.

Third party insurance
The basic motorcycle insurance required by law. Third party only covers your liability for death or injury to someone else and your liability for damage to someone else’s property.

Third party, fire and theft insurance
Similar to third party insurance but third party, fire and theft also pays compensation if your motorcycle is damaged by fire or is stolen.

Voluntary excess
An additional amount you can opt to pay towards a claim in order to cut the cost of your premium.

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