Bike Insurance and How to Find Affordable Cover

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If you love your bike then you’ll want to protect it with a suitable level of motorbike insurance. However, how can you get the cover you need without paying over the odds? 

What is bike insurance and what does it cover? 

Bike insurance is a legal necessity in the UK and is designed to cover the costs of riding related damages and injuries. However, whether or not you and your bike will be protected in an accident is determined by the level of cover you have in place. There are three levels available:

 - Third party only: Covers liability for damage and injuries to third parties as well as damage to their property.

 - Third party, fire and theft: Third party only protection; plus cover if your bike is stolen, damaged in an attempted theft or damaged in a fire. 

- Comprehensive: Everything included in third party, fire and theft cover; plus it will usually cover damage to your own bike (subject to exclusions), vandalism, medical expenses and accidental damage.

Some bike insurance policies have additional cover features that may either be offered as ‘standard’ or as ‘optional extras’ – i.e. cover that you have to pay an additional fee for if you want to include them on your policy. Some of the extras available may include: cover to ride other bikes with the owner’s permission in emergency situations; breakdown cover; legal protection; and cover for riding in Europe.

As policies differ between insurers you should examine the terms and conditions carefully and look out for exclusions – circumstances in which you will not be covered.

Other factors to consider

In addition to the level of cover you take out, you should also be aware of:

- Policy excesses: Most motorbike insurance policies include a compulsory excess on their policies – that is an amount you have to pay towards a claim. On top of this you may be able to set a voluntary excess, an additional amount you pay on a claim that is established when you take the policy out. Setting a high excess can cut premiums but don’t go overboard as the excess should be kept at a level you can comfortably afford.

- No-claims bonuses: Some insurers reward riders for avoiding claims with no-claims discounts which can reduce premiums by as much as 60 per cent after five years. Remember that these are ‘no-claims’ discounts and not ‘no blame’ discounts – meaning that if you make a claim for an accident that’s not your fault you may still lose a portion of your discount if your insurer can’t recover its costs.

So how can you find cheap bike insurance cover?

In addition to increasing your excess and building up a no-claims discount there are a host of ways to save money on bike insurance. As insurers base their premiums on risk, the key is to reduce your ‘risk’ of making a claim. This can be done in a number of ways, including:

-      Avoid modifications: Don’t be tempted to modify your bike as your insurance premiums will almost certainly increase.

     -      Consider who rides your bike: Naming young, inexperienced riders on your policy can increase premiums, but adding experienced older bikers could bring premiums down.

    -      Choose your bike carefully: Older, less expensive bikes can cost less to repair and replace and so they generally qualify for cheaper premiums. Performance bikes face higher premiums as they are more likely to be involved in high speed accidents.

    -      How you use your bike: The more you use your bike, the more expensive it will be to insure. If you only use it for fun on the weekends as opposed to commuting or business use then ensure you’re not paying for cover you don’t need.

    -      Improving your bike’s security: Consult your insurer about which mechanical and electronic security devices will earn discounts on your insurance premiums by reducing the risk of bike theft.

    -      Limit your mileage: If your bike is a secondary mode of transport – perhaps you use a car for the majority of your travel needs – then you may be able to agree to a mileage limit which could reduce premiums significantly.

    -      Park safely: Leave your bike in a locked garage overnight and park in secure areas during the day to earn cheaper premiums.

Once you have lowered your risk, use a comparison website to compare the quotes available from a wide range of bike insurance companies. By shopping around and taking as thorough an overview of the market as possible you can be more confident about finding value for money. Most insurers also offer their cheapest deals online due to the savings they make on reduced overheads.

Finally, consider paying premiums annually instead of monthly as many insurers charge interest on monthly payments.


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