Guide to 'Bike' (Motorcycle) Insurance
A guide to buying motorcycle insurance
Insurance cover types explained and tips on how to save money
Guide to Motorbike Insurance
Having the correct bike insurance is just as essential as your protective gear and helmet, but how does bike insurance work and how can you get the right cover at the right price?
How does bike insurance work?
The theory behind bike insurance is similar to that of car insurance – it’s designed to help cover the cost of riding related damages and injuries, dependent on the level of cover you choose. There are three levels of cover available:
- Third party only: Protects riders from liability for injuries to third parties and damage to their property.
- Third party, fire and theft: Traditional third party cover plus cover for your own bike against fires, thefts and damages caused by attempted theft.
- Comprehensive: Third party, fire and theft cover plus cover for damages to your own bike (subject to policy exclusions). Policies differ between insurance companies but usually incorporate cover against vandalism, accidental damage and medical expenses.
When comparing policies pay close attention to the levels of cover available as what is offered as standard by one insurance company may not be included in another policy. There may also be optional extras available – cover for which you can pay an additional premium. Some of the cover features to look out for include:
- Breakdown cover: Protects you if your motorbike breaks down – look to see what is included in the policy such as recovery/relay, home starts, onward travel and European cover.
- Legal assistance: Covers legal costs following an accident where a third party was to blame.
- Replacement bike: In the event that your bike requires repairs following an accident.
- Riding other bikes: Cover to ride other motorbikes in an emergency situation with the owner’s permission.
- Travelling in Europe: Are you covered to take your motorbike overseas and if so, what level of cover is in place and how long does it last for?
Is there anything to watch out for?
Deciding which policy is right for you is not just about finding the right level of cover at the right price – you should also consider the following aspects:
- Excess levels: An excess is your contribution towards a claim – the higher the excess, the more you will pay if a claim is necessary.
- Exclusions: These are circumstances in which you will not be covered – examine the terms and conditions carefully for exclusions.
- No-claims bonuses: Most bike insurance companies offer no-claims bonuses as a reward for drivers that don’t make claims on their policy. They can be worth as much as 60 per cent off your premiums after four or more years.
So how can you get the cover that’s right for you?
The bike insurance industry is increasingly competitive and as such there are a host of companies to choose from. So as a consumer it’s best to use this competitive market to your advantage by comparing as many policies as possible.
Comparison websites are a great starting point as they can compare deals from as many as 25 companies with one search. The cheapest policy is always listed first, but you shouldn’t assume this is the best deal – remember to examine the terms and conditions and cover options available to ensure you’re getting value for money.
Insurance premiums are based on risk – the higher the likelihood of you making a claim, the higher your premiums will generally be. So reducing this risk can lower premiums – here are some tips:
- Agree to a mileage limit: The fewer miles you ride, the less likely you are to be in an accident so agreeing to a mileage cap could pay off with premium savings.
- Choose a suitable bike: Older bikes are less expensive for insurers to repair/replace, while bikes with smaller engines are less likely to be involved in high impact accidents.
- Limit the number of named riders: Adding inexperienced riders, or riders with poor records, to your policy could cause your premiums to rise.
- Increase security: Consult your insurance provider about which electronic and mechanical security devices it recommends for your bike as they could earn you significant discounts. There may also be premium reductions if you park your bike in a locked garage overnight.
- Increase your voluntary excess: Agreeing to pay more towards a claim usually lowers premiums but be careful to keep the excess at a level you can comfortably afford.
- Pay annually: You can avoid interest charges by paying premiums upfront.
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