Ten ways to save on motorbike insurance

Experts share tips on how to slash premiums

Ten ways to save on motorbike insurance

Motor & Fleet

By Mark Rosanes

Motorbike insurance is a legal requirement in the UK for anyone riding their two-wheelers on the road – and for good reason. This type of coverage helps protect riders against liability if their vehicles are involved in an accident and provides financial compensation if their bikes are stolen or damaged.

The country is home to more than 1.2 million registered motorcycles, according to the latest figures from database firm Statista. But despite the high volume of two-wheelers hitting British roads, data gathered by the Department for Transport (DfT) reveals a downtrend in the number of fatalities and those injured in motorbike accidents.

In 2020, 285 motorcyclists were killed in vehicular accidents in the UK, while 4,429 were reported to be seriously injured and 8,890 slightly injured. Although the numbers represent a significant drop in the past several years, these figures still highlight the importance of having motorbike insurance as a form of protection.

How does motorbike insurance work?

Motorbike insurance provides three levels of cover, namely:

  • Third party: The most basic form of cover, this pays out for injuries or damage the policyholder has caused other people, properties, and vehicles. This is also the minimum level of cover required for motorcycle riders to be allowed on the road.
  • Third party, fire, and theft (TPFT): This provides the same protection as third-party policies but also covers the motorbike if it is stolen or catches fire. Some insurance providers also require that the vehicles have a security device installed for theft coverage to kick in.
  • Comprehensive: This offers the most extensive coverage available. Apart from third party, fire, and theft, comprehensive policies cover the cost of repairing the motorcycle after an accident even if the policyholder is at fault.

How much does motorbike insurance cost in the UK?

Just like other forms of insurance, premium prices of motorbike policies depend on several factors, including the level of cover, the type of engine the vehicle has, and the rider’s age, residence, and claims history.

According to Newport-based financial services firm GoCompare, the average annual cost of a comprehensive motorbike insurance is £256, while TPFT and third-party policies go for £311 and £409, respectively. These figures were based on motorcycle coverage purchased through the company’s website from May to July 2021.

How can UK riders save on motorbike insurance?

For riders searching for the cheapest motorbike insurance, personal finance website Money Saving Expert admits there is no “straightforward” way as premium prices are based on “how much risk insurers perceive you to be.”

To help UK motorcycle riders save on premiums, the London-based firm, along with several consumer websites, shared these practical tips:

1. Choose a less powerful and less expensive motorcycle

How much a motorbike is worth and how powerful the engine it runs on are among the primary determinants of how much insurance premiums will go. Pricier motorcycles are often more expensive to repair as these have parts that are difficult to replace, not to mention they are also more attractive to thieves, pushing up premium prices.

“If you’re deciding between a 900cc and a 650cc machine, then opting for the latter could save you quite a bit on your insurance,” comparison website Confused.com wrote in a blog. “This is especially if the 650cc motorbike is worth significantly less than the 900cc. The more expensive your motorcycle, the more your insurer might have to shell out in the event of it being stolen or written off in an accident.”

For these same reasons, modified motorbikes – especially if the modifications are designed to boost performance or value – along with classic and imported motorcycles, are riskier to insure, according to experts.

2. Be aware of your mileage

One of the most common mistakes motorbike owners make when getting insurance is overestimating their mileage.

“If you expect to cover 10,000 miles and say so on your insurance policy, yet only ride 5,000 miles, you’re paying for a wasted 5,000 miles worth of insurance cover,” The Bike Insurer wrote in an article posted on its website.

The comparison website advised motorcyclists to be “as accurate as possible” when it comes to providing insurers about how many miles they cover but warned about being dishonest as this could lead to their claims being rejected.

3. Boost the motorbike’s security

“The harder your motorbike is to steal, the lower your premiums might be,” noted Confused.com.

Installing anti-theft features such as ground anchors, immobilisers, locks and chains, alarms, and trackers can go a long in deterring thieves. The consumer website, however, advised policyholders to make sure that the devices are recognised by their insurance providers, so they can avail of discounts.

It would also help if the two-wheeler is parked in a secure location.

“Ideally, keep it inside the house or, if not, in a locked garage,” Money Saving Expert suggested. “If you can't do this, some insurers won't cover you for theft. If it has to stay outside, use an insurer-approved anchor lock or security device. This will help reduce your cost, though they can be expensive.”

4. Compare policies and prices from multiple comparison site

Because premium prices vary depending on a motorist’s individual circumstances, it is often difficult to determine which policies offer the greatest savings. This is where price comparison websites come in handy, according to Money Saving Expert.

“The key is to use comparison sites to get the most quotes in the shortest amount of time,” the firm wrote. “Always double-check your results and note that comparison sites use a soft search of your credit file to return quotes, though this has no impact on your ability to get credit in future.”

5. Read the policy carefully before buying

Motorcycle owners should have a clear understanding of what they will be covered for and how much this will cost them. This is why it is important for them to carefully read through the motorbike policy before purchasing.

“Double-check the quotes,” Money Saving Expert advised. “Click through to the insurance provider’s own website to read the quote thoroughly, as some comparison sites make a few assumptions to speed up searches. Check if the policy is suitable for your needs and whether you need any add-ons. There are always extras to choose from, so make sure that the policy you've picked only includes the ones you want.”

6. Avoid auto-renewing

Experts instead suggest that policyholders get quotes from multiple comparison websites come renewal time as switching insurance providers can sometimes result in lower premiums.

In a related move, however, the Financial Conduct Authority has banned insurance providers from charging existing customers higher premiums at renewal time even if their circumstances have not changed, also known as “price walking.”

“But this doesn’t mean your renewal quote is the best deal,” Money Saving Expert cautioned. “Different insurers have different prices, so you should still compare to see how much you could save from switching.”

7. Opt for annual payment

Paying motorbike insurance as one lump sum rather than by monthly instalments can result in savings as policyholders can avoid being charged for interest or finance arrangement fees.

8. Build up your no-claims bonus

One of the most effective ways policyholders can reduce their motorbike insurance premiums is by building up a no-claims bonus or discount. Riders with consecutive claim-free years often benefit from this type of discount, which can potentially rise each year.

Confused.com also suggested that policyholders cover some of the repair costs if this would mean retaining their claims-free status.

“Suppose you’ve slightly damaged your motorbike and the cost of repair is only marginally above your excess,” the firm wrote. “In this case it might make more sense to pay for the repair out of your own pocket rather than make a claim, so you don’t lose your no-claims bonus.”

9. Increase your excess

Paying a higher voluntary excess often means cheaper premiums, according to GoCompare, but there is a caveat.

“Be certain that this is something you could afford though, as you’d need to pay the voluntary excess in addition to the compulsory excess if you make a claim,” the firm warned.

10. Explore alternative options to cut premiums

For riders who will be using their motorbikes just a few times a year, experts recommend taking out temporary cover. Premiums for this type of policy are cheaper but motorcycle owners are risking their eligibility for a no-claims bonus in the future. Additionally, they are required to secure a statutory off-road notification (SORN) for their uninsured vehicle.

Another alternative option is getting a multi-bike policy, which cost less than taking out multiple policies from different insurers.

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