A few years ago upon graduating, I decided to do my motorbike test. Riding a bike is always something I spent summers in Thailand doing (unofficially) and I wanted to make it all legit and ride something fast. An intensive course and an impulse buy later, I was the proud owner of a Yamaha R1 – one of the fastest commercial sports bikes on the market! Aside from the huge initial outlay (£8000) on the bike and protective clothing, the cost of insurance was a bit of a shock!
Realisation: Bike Insurance Costs a Fortune
Given that some of the larger insurance companies don’t offer policies for motorcycles, mopeds or scooters, even finding a handful of quotes became a challenge. I learned a few lessons (in what ended up being hours of searching) which I want to share with you all today.
If you’re considering taking out insurance for a new or existing motorbike, you should think about the following things:
- Insurance Premiums tend to come down after riders have turned 40, but being under 21 is the most costly! Younger bikers can often find cheaper third party insurance offering the bare legal minimum of cover for damage to others. I can’t help but feel if you are going to come off your bike fast, it is likely going to be a write-off, but for some this actually makes financial sense given the incredible savings!
- If your bike isn’t your main method of transport, don’t base your bike mileage on how many miles you travel by car – the number of miles you travel by bike may be a much smaller figure and push your premium up artificially.
- Store your motorcycle in a locked garage or somewhere secure. Some insurers won’t cover bikes kept outside. Others may be happy to do so as long as you use a security device like an anchor lock that has been approved by the insurance provider, but they still may charge more.
- Unfortunately, points on your driving records bump up insurance premiums. Although speeding points on licenses generally become ‘spent’ after four years, insurance companies often check for any convictions over the past five years.
- Helmets and other specialist gear don’t often come covered as standard in many policies. However, providers are increasingly including the option to cover these items for an additional charge. This may be worthwhile in some cases given that kit can cost you as much as the bike in some cases!
- Riders also need to think about excess – the portion of any claim that you pay yourself. In many cases, making claims for under £500 worth of damage can raise the cost of future premiums as well as invalidating any no claims bonuses you may have. Opting for a higher excess often pushes down the premium. This is something I always do!
Something Else to Consider..
You should also consider how often you ride your bike: if you’re a fair-weather rider and you tend to keep your machine in storage in the colder months, it may be worth opting for six month temporary insurance. This does however mean that you won’t be able to build up a no-claims bonus. Additionally, since 2011 it is now compulsory to obtain a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) for uninsured bikes while they’re off the road. This can become a bit of an inconvenience and in some cases land you a fine if you forget. Building the no claims bonus will of course push your premiums down over time!
You may be able to find a pay-as-you-go policy and cover yourself one month at a time, or think about a ‘six wheel’ policy that covers both your car and your motorcycle.
After You Find a Policy…
Once you’ve found the best deal on your insurance, there are couple of extra checks every rider needs to make. Firstly, if you’ve used a comparison website, click through to the provider’s own site and double check the quote you’ve been given before committing. Sometimes comparison sites will add on commission.
Secondly, be sure the policy really is the right one for you and covers everything you need. See if you can shave some extra pounds off the cost of the premium by changing the excess or adding extra security to your machine.
Finally, it’s always worth haggling with your insurer, especially if you are renewing a policy – in a competitive marketplace, providers are keen to retain business!
Visit Bennetts to learn more about special deals and offers on motorbike insurance.