What is motorbike insurance?
Motorbike insurance is what you take out to protect your motorcycle from various circumstances. Depending on the policy you take out, you’ll be able to claim back costs resulting from theft, vandalism and damage resulting from road accidents.
Do I need motorbike insurance?
If you own and drive a motorbike then you’re legally required to have at least the minimum level of cover in place – just as with any other vehicle, including cars and vans.
Do I need to insure my motorbike if I only ride it occasionally?
Even if you only use your motorbike for part of the year – for example, during the summer months – it will still need to be insured due to continuous insurance enforcement (CIE) rules. If your bike isn’t being used for long periods, however, declaring it ‘off the road’ can be useful.
If you inform the DVLA that your motorbike isn’t on the road – which you can do at gov.uk – you’ll receive a statutory off road notification (SORN). This confirms that your motorcycle isn’t going to be driven, and you won’t need to insure it. Remember that this means you won’t be protected against theft or fire damage.
So when the warmer months roll in you’ll have to re-declare your motorbike to remove the SORN before applying for insurance. It might be worth considering monthly motorcycle insurance in this case, so you get the right cover when you need it.
What does motorbike insurance cover?
Motorcycle insurance offers coverage for a range of circumstances and events, though the specifics of your policy will depend on:
- The level of cover you take out
- What you use your bike for
- Any extras you add to your policy
What levels of motorbike insurance are there?
As with all motor insurance policies, you’ll be able to take out one of the following three levels of cover:
- Third-party only: A third-party motorbike insurance policy covers you against any damage you do to a third party, their vehicle or their property, but it won’t pay out for damage to your own motorbike. This is the minimum legal requirement for every motorist in the UK
- Third-party, fire and theft: Third-party, fire and theft insurance adds cover when your motorbike is stolen or damaged by fire
- Fully comprehensive: Fully comprehensive motorbike insurance includes all of the above, but you’ll also be covered if you get into an accident
What classes of use are there for motorbike insurance?
How you use a bike is an important factor in the type of cover you take out.
Insurers calculate your premiums and assess your risk level according to a number of factors level. Knowing how you’ll use your bike and the nature of the work you might be doing helps them do this.
You can pick from one of the following categories of use:
- Social, domestic and pleasure: If you only use your motorbike for private reasons
- Commuting: If you also use your motorbike to ride to and from one place of work only
- Business use: If you commute to more than one place of work
- Courier and delivery: If you use your bike for work, for example as a food delivery driver or courier
What policies can I add to my motorbike insurance?
Depending on the provider, you’ll be able to add a range of extra cover to your policy – though it will likely cost more. Most providers will offer:
- European cover: European motorbike cover insures you to ride your bike on the continent
- Breakdown cover: Breakdown cover gives you access to roadside assistance if your motorbike breaks down on the road – and there are policies for breaking down in Europe too
- Multi-bike: Multi-bike cover protects two or more bikes under the same policy, reducing the paperwork and often lowering your premiums compared with insuring each one individually
- Additional driver: Additional driver policies let you add more drivers to your insurance. Adding experienced drivers can help lower the cost of cover – particularly for young riders
- Pillion cover: Pillion cover lets you ride your motorcycle with passengers
- Legal cover: Legal cover offers protection against any liability or legal costs if you’re involved in a road accident
- Lost keys: A lost keys policy lets you claim for the cost of a new set of keys if yours are lost, damaged or stolen
- Wrong fuel: Wrong fuel cover means you’ll be protected against the cost of repairs if you fill up your tank with the wrong fuel
- Personal accident: Personal accident policies pay out in the event you’re injured or killed in a motorbike accident that’s seen to be your fault. They’ll pay out to you or a named beneficiary on your policy
- No-claims: If you haven’t claimed on your motorbike insurance for a few years you might be able to insure your no-claims discount. While this means your discount is protected, any claims you do make are still recorded and must be declared if you take out another policy in the next five years. Your premiums might still go up even with the discount as insurers will see you as a higher-risk customer
- Accessories: You’ll be able to insure any accessories you have, usually up to a certain value limit. You might have to insure certain accessories separately if they exceed this limit, such as your helmet and riding leathers
- Excess protection: An excess protection policy lets you claim back your excess fee when you have to claim. It can be useful for those with high insurance premiums, such as younger drivers, who often have to pay higher excess fees to make cover more affordable
Whether you have a third-party only or a fully comprehensive policy you should still check the specific amount of cover you’ll need for the above. For example, not every breakdown policy offers onward travel options such as replacement hire bikes, and personal accident policies pay out different amounts depending on the policy and nature of the accident.
How much does motorbike insurance cost?
The cost of motorbike insurance depends on a few key factors, including:
- Your age: Younger drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in road accidents, so insurers charge more to absorb the higher risk of claiming
- Your motorcycle: Larger and more powerful motorcycles are harder to control, so you’re more likely to claim if you own one
- Your driving history: If you have a history of road accidents or making claims on motor insurance policies, providers will see you as likely to make further claims in the future
- Your policy: While fully comprehensive policies offer more cover, they’re also cheaper in general. In June 2019 a fully comprehensive policy cost on average £788 – compared with £925 for third-party, fire and theft, and £1,194 for third-party only*
*Data provided by VastVisibility, accurate as of July 2019
Data collected by Vast Visibility from January to June 2019, accurate as of July 2019
How can I reduce the cost of motorbike insurance?
There are measures you can take to reduce the cost of cover for your motorbike, such as:
Choosing the right bike: If you’re set on a powerful or distinguished motorbike you should be prepared for higher premiums, but it might be worth considering a cheaper model to insure
Reducing your mileage: Giving a lower estimated mileage indicates you’ll spend less time on the road, which reduces the likelihood of you claiming
Taking out telematics: A telematics policy is when your insurer attaches a device to your motorbike to monitor your driving habits. The better and safer you drive, the lower your premiums will be
Increasing your security: Keeping your motorbike locked in a garage is much safer than leaving it out on the road, and insurers will reward you with lower premiums – on average over £140 lower, according to Vast Visibility figures from January to June 2019. Factory-fitted locks also reduce the risk of theft, and over the same period motorbike cover was £90 cheaper with these locks installed
Pay annually: Paying an annual lump sum means your overall premiums are generally cheaper, as insurers will apply an interest of sorts if you spread the cost out over monthly payments. For motorbikes over 50cc, policies are on average over £20 cheaper when you paid annually*
Pay more excess: Paying a higher excess fee tells insurers you’ll only claim when it’s really necessary, and they generally lower the price of cover in return. Motorcyclists who paid under £200 in excess generally paid over £1,000 in overall premiums in June 2019. Comparatively, those who paid between £301 and £400 were charged on average £634 for cover – though remember insurers consider many factors when deciding on an overall premium
Cut down extra policies: As you might expect, adding extra cover to your policy will result in higher premiums. Consider cutting back any cover you don’t need, or even think about short-term motorbike insurance if you only need cover for part of the year
*According to figures provided by VastVisibility for the period January to June 2019, accurate as of July 2019
Do I need specialist motorbike insurance?
It can be difficult to find cover in some instances if your circumstances are out of the ordinary – if you’re looking for cover, ask yourself:
Who is riding the motorcycle?
- Young riders: Some insurers offer specialist cover for young motorcyclists
- Convicted riders: Likewise drivers with previous convictions on their record might also benefit from specialist insurers
What type of motorcycle are you riding?
Some types of motorcycles might be hard to find cover for, whether because replacement parts are hard to find or they present a higher risk to the insurer. You might consider specialist insurance if you own a:
How do I claim on my motorbike insurance policy?
If you need to make a claim on your motorbike insurance policy, you’ll generally be able to do so over the phone – but your insurer may also have given you a claim form to fill in and post. Be sure to fill in all the details correctly, as not doing so can result in your claim being invalidated.
Compare motorbike insurance quotes
Comparing motorbike insurance quotes on MoneySuperMarket and our partner Vast Visibility is the easiest way to find a better deal on cover. Just tell us about yourself, your driving history and the motorbike you want to insure, and we’ll give you a list of quotes tailored to your exact requirements.
You’ll be able to compare deals by their overall monthly and annual cost, the level of cover you’ll receive and any extra policies you might get either for free or at an additional cost. Once you’ve found the deal you want, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.
As with all insurance products, be wary of the cheapest available quotes – we recommend aiming for a balance between cost and level of cover. This way you’ll get a policy that offers everything you need for your motorbike at the right price.