If you’re tempted to ride without bike insurance then think again – it is required by
law in the UK. Here we look at why bike insurance is so important and what to look for from a policy.
Why is bike insurance essential?
The purpose of bike insurance is that if you cause an accident it will cover the cost of
any riding related damage or injury suffered by a third party. Depending on the level
of cover you choose, you could also get cover for yourself and your bike.
There are three types of bike insurance available in the UK:
- Third party only: Covers damage or injuries to third parties as well as damage to
their property. It will not protect your motorbike or provide cover for personal
- Third party fire and theft: Standard third party only cover but with additional
protection for your bike in case it is stolen, suffers damage during an attempted
theft, or fire damage.
- Comprehensive: Typically, comprehensive cover allows the policyholder to claim
for damage to his/her own vehicle (with the exception of policy exclusions),
alongside features that vary from insurer to insurer but typically include accidental
damage, medical expenses and vandalism.
What about uninsured riders?
Unfortunately many bike owners don’t take out insurance cover, even though failing
to do so is breaking the law.
Thankfully if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured rider you will be
protected. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau ensures victims of untraced or uninsured
motorists are compensated with all motor insurers obliged to be part of the bureau
and contribute to its funding.
Riding without motorbike insurance is very risky, however. The Bureau keeps a
database with details of policyholders which the police can access to see whether or
not someone is insured either at the scene of an accident or during a spot check. In
the event that you are caught riding without insurance you could be fined, face
penalty points on your licence, or even have your bike seized by the police.
So what should you look for in a bike insurance policy?
When choosing a bike insurance policy there are a number of aspects to consider,
- The level of cover: Typically third party and third party fire and theft
policies are obtained by riders with relatively inexpensive motorbikes. If you
opt for comprehensive cover consider the standard features offered – for
example will the insurer supply a temporary replacement bike while yours is
being repaired; and are you covered to ride other bikes on an emergency
basis if necessary?
- Additional options: Consider whether or not you are willing to pay extra for
additional cover such as legal expenses cover; breakdown cover; and
travelling in Europe.
- Excess levels: Most insurers set a compulsory excess – this is an amount
you are obliged to pay towards a claim so consider this when shopping around
as a high excess could make many smaller claims worthless. Also consider
how high you want to set the voluntary excess – this is an additional amount
you can agree to pay towards the cost of a potential claim when you take the
insurance policy out. Setting the voluntary excess at a high level can reduce
your premium, but it should only be set a level you can afford.
- Rewards: What incentives does the bike insurance policy offer? For example,
is there a no-claims discount and if so how high is the bonus and how quickly
can you earn it? Are there additional discounts, such as for buying online or
for being a member of an owners’ club?
- Payment options: Many insurers allow customers to pay monthly, but this
option normally includes interest charges so you may prefer to make
How can you find a competitive deal?
You could potentially save time and money by using a comparison website to
compare policies from a range of motorbike insurance companies. By entering your
details into an online form, the website will do the work for you, returning quotes
from the insurers in its listings with the cheapest deal listed first. Just remember to
examine the terms and conditions before you buy to ensure you’re getting value for
There are several other steps you can take for which many insurers offer discounts –
these include: increasing the security of your bike with insurer-recommended
devices; parking in a garage overnight; agreeing to a mileage limit; adding older,
more experienced riders as named riders; and building a no-claims discount.