Everything you need to know about motorbike insurance

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Required by law, motorbike insurance ensures people can cover the costs of any riding-related damages or injuries should they happen.


Regardless if you only use your bike during the summer months, you must keep it insured all year round – even if it’s kept off the road and in a garage. The one exception to this is if you notify the DVLA that is being kept off the road through a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).

Unless you are not using your bike and have also submitted a SORN, your bike must be insured properly. But where do you get started to getting the right insurance for your bike?

Factors that affect motorbike insurance premiums

While shopping for motorbike insurance, keep in mind the following factors that can influence what your premium may be:

  • Motorbike type
  • Riding history
  • Age of rider
  • Modifications
  • Address
  • Usage

Remember, there are numerous other things that will be looked at while you’re getting a motorbike insurance quote, so make sure when you are providing that information to be as accurate and clear as possible.

What types of cover can you get for your motorbike?

There are three different types of insurance cover for motorbikes that most insurance companies will offer, and they are:

1) Third party only (TPO)

Third party only cover is the base level of cover you have for your motorbike and it is the minimum legal requirement. If an accident were to happen, this covers other people involved in the incident, but not your own bike.

2) Third party, fire and theft (TPFT)

Typically known as the “middle level” cover, third party fire and theft covers will cover other parties involved, as well as yourself if your motorbike is damaged by fire or is stolen.

3) Comprehensive

The highest level of cover, comprehensive typically allows you to make a claim for any damage that has been done to your motorbike (unless otherwise noted in your policy exclusions). This would include accidental damage to your motorbike, vandalism and medical expenses.

But between these three levels of cover, which one is the best to go with? Third party only cover is typically going to be cheaper than the other two, as the insurance company won’t have to pay out as much, but for many that may not be the best option.

Motorbike insurance excess

Simply put, an excess is what you contribute towards a claim. There are two types of excess payments: compulsory and voluntary.

The compulsory excess is decided by the insurer and it’s the amount that you must pay if you make a claim on your policy.

A voluntary excess is the amount that you choose to pay in addition to the compulsory excess when a claim is made.

You can choose how much you pay for your voluntary excess. For example, if you choose to pay a higher voluntary excess, then your premium will be cheaper. However, if you choose to pay a lower voluntary excess, your premium will most likely be more expensive.

Types of motorbike uses

It’s important that you know how you’re going to declare how you plan on using your motorbike. There are several different ways in which you can classify your bike use:

  • Commuting
  • Business use
  • Social or pleasure
  • Courier and delivery

Your insurance company will ask you to declare which way you plan on using your motorbike as that may affect how you are covered. Make sure you have a good understanding and that you are clear with which way you are planning to use it before you start shopping for insurance.

Motorbike modifications

It’s common for many motorbikes to have some form of modifications added onto them. When shopping for insurance, it’s important that you make note of any modifications that are on your bike, and if you do plan on adding any modifications onto your bike during your policy term, make sure to contact your insurer about these changes as well. There are several types of modifications that can be added to your motorbike, such as:

  • Physical modifications
  • Practical modifications
  • Performance modifications
  • Safety-enhancing modifications
  • Security modifications

Remember that adding modifications to a motorbike can sometimes make its value more expensive, which can then increase your insurance premium. Before adding any modifications to your motorbike, we recommend that you notify your insurer so they can tell you whether or not that specific change can be covered on your policy.

Motorbike insurance FAQs

What sort of motorbike insurance add-ons are there?

There are several different forms of extra protections that you can add onto motorbike policies. The four main ones are:

  • Breakdown cover: If the unexpected happens, breakdown cover will be there to help you and your motorbike get back on the road.
  • Personal accident cover: Have financial peace of mind if you’re injured in a serious accident
  • Legal cover: In the event you are in an accident, legal protection will help cover any legal costs that may incur.
  • Helmets and leather cover: This add-on will protect your riding gear should it be damaged as a result of accident

Different levels of cover may vary by add-on, so make sure to check with your insurer for details.

Can I carry passengers on my motorbike?

It really depends on what sort of cover you take out. If you have what is often known as ‘pillion cover’ on your motorbike policy you will only be able to carry one passenger, and they must be sitting face forward with both feet on the footrests.

If you have a provisional licence, you cannot carry and passengers.

Am I allowed to use my No Claims Bonus from a car policy on my motorbike insurance?

There are some insurance companies that will allow you to move your No Claims Bonus from your car insurance policy, but a majority of them won’t.

Admiral recommends that when you’re getting your quote, to consider the worst-case option – without the No Claims Bonus – first, to avoid any disappointment. As soon as you find a price that you’re happy with, phone the insurance company to find out about their No Claims Bonus transfer policy.

What does CBT mean?

CBT stands for Compulsory Basic Training, and it must be completed before riding on the road. First, you must pass your full motorcycle test within two years, and if you don’t you must complete your CBT again – very similar to a provisional driving licence.

What type of motorbike can I ride?

Your motorbike licence entitles you to ride certain types of motorbikes. Age and consideration will be taken into consideration as well as the strength and power of the bike.

There are a total of four categories of licence:

  • AM – this means you are qualified to ride a moped from the age of 16
  • A1 – qualifies you to ride a 125cc motorbike that has a power output of 11kW or lower and tricycles with a power output of 15kW or lower. Must be at least 17 years old.
  • A2 – this means you are allowed to ride a motorbike with a power output of 35kW or lower, and you must be at least 19 years old
  • A – this qualifies you to ride unrestricted motorbikes that have a power output above 35kW. There is a minimum age of 24 under direct access, or 21 under progressive access. For tricycles, power output can be over 15kW, with minimum age of 21.

For a full list of restrictions, check out the GOV.UK website.