If you own a motorbike and it isn't registered as being off the road, you're required by law to have insurance for it – even if you only use it occasionally for the odd day out. Check out our guide below to help you work out the best type of cover for you
Types of Motorcycle Insurance
Before you can start comparing policies and looking for the best deals, you need to understand and decide what level of cover you need. There are three main types:
- Third Party Motorcycle Insurance: This is the most basic type of cover and therefore the cheapest. You might also consider this the minimum legal requirement. It basically covers any other parties should you damage their vehicle or property, but offers no coverage for any costs to the damage of your vehicle
- Third Party Fire & Theft Motorcycle Insurance: This is second level of insurance available and covers third party damage, as mentioned above, as well as covering any damage to your vehicle in the event of fire or theft
- Fully Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance: This is the highest level of policy you can acquire. It will insure you for all of the above, as well as covering yourself for any accidental damage or vandalism/theft to your bike. Inclusions and exclusions can vary wildly, so cross reference policies between providers.
Which type of insurance is best, really depends on your circumstance. For example younger riders often opt for third party only, as full coverage can be expensive for them – whereas older motorists might be delighted to find that age discrimination sometimes works in their favour, and that there isn't a great leap in price between the three policies for them. Furthermore, if your ride is quite old, there may be no value in having a fully comprehensive policy, due to the cost of the repairs potentially costing more than the bike is worth.
Factors Affecting Your Policy Quote
Insurers take a number of things into consideration when building a quote for your policy. Typically these are
- Age: As mentioned previously, younger riders can expect to pay more for their policy, as statistically speaking, younger riders are more likely to make a claim, and therefore considered a higher risk.
- Value & Performance: Obviously the more valuable the motorbike, or the higher the performance of the engine, the greater the risk of a claim, and as a result you can expect the policy prices to reflect this
- Vehicle Purpose: How you use your car – how far you travel, how often as well as your occupation is also taken into consideration. Naturally the more time you spend behind the bars, the more likely you are to need to make a claim
- Home location: You policy will be affected depending on the rate of vehicle crime in your area
- Driving History: Any prior convictions will affect the price of your insurance
- Voluntary Excess: Most providers will offer you the chance to increase the excess fee (the amount you pay for processing a claim), in return for a lower premium
- Modifications: Have you increased the power etc? Your premium will almost certainly go up for performance enhancing modifications, but will reduce with improved security modifications.
Whichever type of coverage you opt for, you’ll need to cross reference and compare different policies to ensure you've got adequate insurance. Policies can differ greatly in their specific details, for example, one provider might include 'pillion' cover (carrying a passenger) on a fully comprehensive policy. The same policy might exclude seemingly vital things such as legal expenses or replacement car rental. If you find that the policy you’re considering might be lacking in certain areas, you can consider bumping it up with optional extras. This will of course push the price up, so bear in mind how much you’ll be paying in total. Often, once you compare this against some of the more expensive complete policies, you may find out that you've ended up paying more!
All insurance policies require you to pay an ‘excess’ fee. Essentially this is the amount deducted from your claim should it be successful. Excess often comes in two forms: voluntary and compulsory.
Compulsory excess fees vary, but typically they are around £200. Therefore, if you need to make a claim of £500, you can expect £200 to be deducted, leaving you with £300. Obviously some small claims won’t be worth making due to the pay-off after the excess deduction, as well as you enjoying a hike in your premium price from then onwards. It’s worth noting that some policies do not penalise claimants with high excess fees such as windscreen repair, so keep this in mind when scrutinising the terms and conditions Voluntary Excess is just that – you stipulate the amount you’d be willing to pay in the event of a claim. The reward of this is that you’ll pay a lower premium each month. Of course, the danger is that if you set the excess too high, there won’t be any value to claiming for small amounts of damage.Image: © Lasse Behnke | Dreamstime.com