A simples guide

How do modifications affect my motorbike insurance?

Having a motorbike isn’t like having a car – bikes are just that little bit well, cooler aren’t they? As a bike rider, you’ve probably at some stage thought about making your bike even more unique so that everyone knows it’s yours. But you might think that making modifications will just hike up the cost of your insurance premium – but is that really the case? Well, let’s find out.


What is a modification?

If you change, alter or add anything to your bike after it's manufactured then it’s classed as a modification. So even adding stickers would be deemed a ‘modification’. Some modifications need to be declared to the DVLA such as if you change the colour of your bike or alter its engine or frame.


Will a modification affect my insurance?

Although you might think that simply uttering the word ‘modification’ will see your premiums sky rocket – that’s not always the case. Not all alterations will have a detrimental effect on your insurance. Think of it like cosmetic surgery – a few necessary tweaks here and there might be seen as an improvement on the old model and keep it going for a bit longer.

Bike insurance providers appreciate that you’ll want to make your bike your own and some of them will accept certain modifications as ‘standard’ and won’t charge you any more for making those changes. The most common alterations are typically the addition of stickers, changes to mirrors, indicators and air filters. But all insurance providers are different and what appears on one provider’s ‘standard modifications’ list might be different to another so it’s worth checking out before you make a commitment. You should also tell your insurance provider about any changes to your bike – even the tiniest one could invalidate your policy so if in doubt, always find out.


Need for speed

If a standard bike just won’t do for you and you start tinkering with the parts that will enhance its performance, then you’ll need to be prepared for potential premium increases. A more powerful bike could be considered a greater accident risk as well as possibly making it more attractive to thieves. Similarly, aesthetically enhancing your bike might make it irresistible and therefore liable to theft which is also likely to increase the cost of your policy.

Better safe than sorry

There are some modifications which will affect your insurance but by lowering them rather than making them rise – good news, right? So what are these super potential premium lowering mods?

Adding security systems, immobilisers or brake locks can all make insuring you a more attractive proposition to insurance providers. Of course reductions in cost are at the discretion of your insurance provider and not all of them will offer the same (if any) discounts on premiums which is why comparing the market is the best way to search for deals.

What should I think about before making any modifications?

If you’ve got a bike and you’ve been mulling over whether to change that carburettor, tune the engine or add a quickshifter then the best way to find out how it’ll affect your insurance is to ask your provider. Better to do it before you make the change (unless you like expensive, shock surprises).

As a general rule of thumb, insurance providers take a dim view of anything that affects the following and this may be reflected in your premium:

• Value – if your alterations increase the value (and desirability) of your bike then this just makes it more attractive to thieves.
• Cost of repairs – if your alterations are extensive or complicated then it could mean that repairs or parts are expensive or hard to come by – your insurance provider will be obliged to increase your premium in order to cover potential costs.
• Riskier on the roads – any changes that enhance or boost the performance of your bike are likely to increase your insurance. Providers will interpret a more powerful bike as being harder to control and therefore more at risk of being involved in an accident.

Honesty is the best policy

When it comes to buying your insurance, you should always be upfront with your insurance provider. As a biker you might want to live out the rebellious reputation that motorcycle riders are stereotyped with but spinning yarns to your insurance provider could invalidate your policy – which is neither cool nor clever.

Why comparethemarket.com?

Simply, because we’re really good at comparing stuff. We make it quick and easy to search through motorbike insurance providers so you can get to exactly what you need – so let’s compare.

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