Bikes, cars and NCDs - where do you stand?

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Are you planning to give up your motorbike in favour of a car?

Maybe you are fed up with the cold, need space for passengers, or perhaps you are simply getting too old for the distressed-leather-and-astronaut-boots look.

Whatever the reason, sometimes four wheels are better (or more appropriate) than two.

Which begs the question: what happens to your no claims discount when you switch? Yes, motorbikes are statistically more risky than cars.

But some motorcyclists are careful riders and have built up a no-claims discount (NCD).

The NCD for bikes works in a similar way to the bonus system for cars.

So, if you have managed four or five claim-free years, you could have earned a valuable discount on your motorbike insurance premium.

But does your virtuous behaviour on two wheels mean you’ll automatically be rewarded when you move to four?

If you were switching from one car to another, or from one car insurer to another, the process would be simple.

Your new insurer would simply ask for proof of your clean claims record and would normally honour the discount. But it’s a little bit different if you are trading your bike in for a car.

Any NCD?

Some insurers will happily accept your NCD. After all, if you drive carefully on a bike there is no reason why you would turn into a dangerous speed demon behind the wheel of a car.

Such insurers are also sympathetic to the fact that young drivers often gain valuable experience of the road if they first ride a motorbike before trading up to a car.

But what they will almost certainly do is insist that you give up the bike in order to benefit from the NCD you earned on the bike policy.

And they might not give you the full amount – so if you had two years’ NCD from a bike policy, you might only get a year on the car.

Also, insurers will probably only deal in full years of NCD, so any portion of a year will probably be discounted. Some insurers are more wary of accepting bike NCDs onto car insurance policies, arguing that the two styles of driving are different.

So it’s all down to the individual insurer as to whether your bike NCD will knock a chunky percentage off your car insurance premium.

If you’re going in the opposite direction and replacing your car with a bike, you might struggle to find an insurer willing to accept your NCD, since bikes are generally regarded to be the riskier proposition.

Making a claim

Some people, of course, run both a motorcycle and a car and have two separate insurance policies. So that raises the question of how the two interact with each other – if at all.

Any interaction would come to the fore in the event you made a claim on either policy.

The best course of action would be to tell both insurers straight away if you have to make a claim on one of the policies.

It might not be strictly necessary, but for the sake of a phone call it’s worth doing so that the news doesn’t come as a surprise if you have to make a claim on the other policy.

When it comes time to renew, our advice is always to shop around rather than let your existing insurer roll you over into another 12-month contract.

But when you’re running your quote, tell the insurer – whether it’s the bike or car policy – about any and all claims you’ve made on your car or bike policy over whatever time period they specify.

If you don’t disclose this sort of information, you might run into difficulties if you have to make another claim in the future.

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