The cost to insure your motorcycle can feel prohibitive, with comprehensive cover potentially costing half of your bike's value each year, or more. What factors influence the premium you'll need to pay for financial protection in case of a collision, theft, fire or other damage—and are there ways to reduce the cost of your motorbike insurance?
- Factors You Can't Control: Explaining the Cost of Motorbike Insurance
- Factors You Can Control: Lowering the Price of Motorbike insurance
Explaining the Cost of Motorbike Insurance: Factors You Can't Control
A number of factors on your motorcycle insurance application will result in you paying more or less than someone else for the same cover. Here is an overview of the aspects of your profile that you have little to no control over.
Where You Live
Some areas are simply more prone to motorcycle thefts than others. If you live in one of these areas, you will probably pay more for insurance. Unfortunately, motorcycles can be relatively easy to steal—they can simply be lifted into a van and driven away in seconds. Unless you plan on moving house, this is one factor you can't do much about.
Where You Keep Your Bike
If you're able to keep your bike in a locked garage at night, you can reduce your motorcycle insurance premium by half. Bikes stored on the street are most susceptible to theft, and can cost twice as much to insure as those kept secure in a locked garage.
|Night Storage||Sample Premium|
|On the Road||£2,097|
You might think you drive the same regardless of your job title, but the insurers take a different view. They use historical data to determine which jobs tend to result in higher claims, and price accordingly. While it's critical to be honest on your insurance application about your job, if there are different ways to describe your job accurately, it can be worth pricing policies with these different occupations.
Having a No Claims Discount (NCD) can be a pretty straightforward path to lower motorcycle insurance premiums. Your NCD is essentially a percentage reduction to your premium, earned if you haven’t made a claim in a certain period of time. Each year in which you are claim free, your NCD can increase, growing from around 25% to 30% after one year up to 50% to 60% by the fifth claim-free year. The amount of reduction varies from insurance company to insurance company, and will be capped after a certain number of years.
Making a claim will reduce or eliminate your NCD. Generally speaking, the more claims you make, the more the NCD is reduced until is it totally lost. For instance, the first accident may result in your NCD being knocked back by two years. Keep in mind that every insurer operates a different set of NCD rules, both in terms of earning and losing your NCD. Unfortunately, you can't generally transfer a NCD you've built up on a car to a motorbike policy, and vice versa. You can, however, transfer your NCD to another of the same type of vehicle (e.g., from bike to bike). A NCD can only be used on one vehicle at a time—that is, if you've built up 5 years of NCD on one bike and you buy a second bike (whilst keeping the first bike) you can only use the NCD on one of your bikes, not both.
A 20-year-old motorcycle rider will pay around 4X the premium that a 40-year-old rider will pay for motorbike insurance. Those under 25 years old pay a massive premium for cover, since they are statistically more likely to have a road traffic accident than an older, wiser, more experienced rider.
|Age||Annual Motorcycle Insurance Cost|
When applying for motorbike insurance, the insurer will ask you about any driving convictions in the past five years. While you may not be able to change your past driving record, taking any necessary precautions to avoid future convictions can help reduce the amount you'll pay in the future for motorcycle insurance.
Lowering the Price of Motorbike insurance: Factors You Can Control
Luckily, some factors that impact the price of motorcycle insurance ARE within your control. If you're looking for ways to reduce the cost of your motorbike insurance, especially considering all the costs of owning a motorcycle, perhaps you can make a change to one of these factors.
By opting for a higher excess you can lower the cost of motorcycle insurance by up to 30%, or more. The excess is the amount you'll pay towards a claim, and typically there are two parts of a motorcycle excess:
- Compulsory Excess which is fixed and set by the insurance company
- Voluntary Excess which is fixed and set by you (typically can range from £0 to £1,000)
Before choosing a higher excess for the benefit of a lower premium today, be sure that you could absorb the full cost of both the compulsory and voluntary excesses should you need to claim.
Type of Motorcycle Insurance
There are three main categories of motorcycle insurance—depending on your particular details, they may differ widely in price, so it can be worth checking prices of all three types. While Comprehensive is the "best" kind as it offers the widest coverage (e.g., including full damage to your bike) it is not always the most expensive—good deals can be found for Comprehensive cover that may be cheaper than lesser coverage options.
- Third Party Only (TPO): The minimum insurance cover required by law, Third Party plans cover damage to other vehicles if your bike is involved in an accident—but there's no cover for damage to your bike.
- Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT): TPFT plans include Third Party cover and will pay the market value of your bike if it's stolen and not recovered, or pay the cost to repair or replace your bike if it's damaged by fire.
- Comprehensive: The highest level of cover, Comprehensive plans include TPFT features PLUS protection against damage to your own bike in the event of an accident (and possible injury to you)—for example, payment for a replacement bike if yours is written off.
In addition, adding on optional motorcycle coverages like Roadside Assistance, Legal and Helmet & Leathers will typically increase the cost of cover. If you scour the market, you can usually find plans with some of the options included for free or at a significant discount.
Insurance is priced based on the likelihood you'll make a claim. And the more you're on the road, the more likely you are to have a collision. As a result, the expected mileage you enter when filling out a quote form can have a noticeable impact on the price. It's important to be accurate, however, as understating your mileage can invalidate your insurance in the event of a claim.
The higher the market value of your bike and the larger the engine, the more you'll typically pay for motorcycle insurance. We gathered quotes for three of the most popular motorbikes in the UK, and found a strong correlation between the cost of insurance and the value of the bike/size of the engine. For instance, insuring a BMW R1200 GS costs 2.4X the premium to insure a Honda PCX.
|Engine Size||Approximate Value||Annual Motorcycle Insurance Cost (with ~£650 excess)|
|125cc (Honda PCX)||£2,300||£1,240|
|900cc (Yamaha Tracer GT)||£9,200||£1,574|
|1200cc (BMW R1200 GS)||£12,400||£2,953|
Good security can not only deter thieves from stealing your bike but can also make it easier to track down, if it is stolen. For this reason, high security such as a Thatcham-rated 1 or 2 alarm system with tracking, immobilisation, anti-grab and movement sensors may reduce your motorcycle insurance costs, but it will depend on the insurance company. For tips on improving the security of your motorcycle both at home and away, visit the Metropolitan Police's Motorcycle, Moped and Scooter Security Guide.