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How to Choose Motorcycle Insurance

By: Paul Geraghty - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Motorbike Insurance Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcyclists aren't quite as spoiled for choice as car owners when it comes to insurance - and it's not hard to see why. Theft rates are higher for motorbikes than for cars, and accident rates are far higher. Motorcycles represent about 1% of traffic on the roads yet motorcyclists account for around 20% of all casualties in serious and fatal road accidents. Moreover, motorcycle usage is far less predictable than car usage. Some owners use their bikes as daily commuting vehicles; others ride them only occasionally for pleasure. And while accident rates typically fall off significantly among older drivers generally, for bikers this isn't always true. Recent years especially have witnessed the phenomenon of middle-aged and elderly people, eager to live out their rebel youth fantasies, splashing out on powerful superbikes to be used purely for occasional joyriding. With their riding skills not honed by constant use of the bikes, they can present a significant danger to themselves and to others. Insurers are not exactly falling over themselves to offer policies to this type of rider. In fact, for some of the more powerful bikes, some insurers will refuse point-blank to provide cover unless you have a claims-free track record with them going back several years, or unless you have undergone advanced riding instruction.

Motorbike Insurance - The Basics

As with cars, the minimum legal requirement is for third-party insurance which will cover claims made against you because of injury you have caused to someone else, or damage you have caused to someone else's property.

The next step up is Third Party, Fire & Theft which, as the name suggests, is identical but will cover you additionally for damage caused to your bike in a fire or its loss through theft. Neither of these polices will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle if you were the cause of the accident. For this you need Comprehensive insurance, which should also cover the cost of your medical bills if you need treatment.

Motorbike Insurance - The Cost

To aid risk assessment, cars are divided into 20 group classifications by the Association of British Insurers. There is much less standardisation in the treatment of motorcycles. Insurers tend to handle bike classification in their own idiosyncratic ways and some have more than 50 separate classification groups for motorcycles. This makes it harder to gauge what kind of insurance premiums you can expect to pay for a bike. Factors which will influence this are :
  • Your claims history, including with other vehicles.
  • The cost of the bike.
  • The power of the bike.
  • Your age - younger drivers are regarded as greater risk prospects.
  • Your location - is there much crime in your area? Is it a rural area where the traffic is less intense and accidents are less frequent?
  • Your annual mileage with the bike. Is it something you use only for outings at weekends or is it a daily commute vehicle?
  • The number of years since you first got your bike licence.
  • Whether you have undergone any advanced instruction course.
  • Whether you have any special anti-theft equipment fitted.

How to Save Money on Motorbike Insurance

  • Do an advanced instruction course such as those offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
  • Garage your bike every night.
  • Fit the latest and greatest security features.
  • Take out a policy with a higher excess - an excess is the amount you yourself pay towards settling the cost of a claim before the insurance company has to contribute.
  • Shop around. Ask for a number of quotes from different providers.
  • If you're planning to indulge in a superbike a few years down the line, establishing a good no-claims history with a less powerful machine first should help cut your premiums significantly.
  • If you don't use the bike much, find an insurer that will give you a discount for low mileage.
  • Purchase online - many companies offer discounts for this.
  • Pay all at once, rather than in monthly instalments.

Motorbike Insurance - Conclusion

The cost of insurance is a constant gripe for motorcyclists, and newcomers to the bike scene are often shocked by what they are asked to pay. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that can bring costs down dramatically. The best approach is to build up a record as a careful and safe driver over many years, and to ask several companies for quotes in hope of finding that elusive great deal.

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Good common sense approach although I would have liked to see more insurer details and links on here rather than dating and stock trader classes.
nosnikam - 25-Mar-11 @ 10:43 AM
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