Off-road motorbike insurance

Off-road bike insurance is specifically geared to motocross bikes, dirt bikes or scramblers. Without it, any damage you do to your bike, yourself or anyone else is your own responsibility.

This means that if you total your bike, you won’t get any money back. Similarly, if you injure someone and they sue you, you’ll have to pay any legal bills and compensation yourself.

Off-road bike insurance is specifically geared to motocross bikes, dirt bikes or scramblers. Without it, any damage you do to your bike, yourself or anyone else is your own responsibility.

This means that if you total your bike, you won’t get any money back. Similarly, if you injure someone and they sue you, you’ll have to pay any legal bills and compensation yourself.

Julie Daniels
Insurance expert
4
minute read
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Posted 31 MAY 2022

Is insurance a legal requirement for off-road bikes?

That depends. If your motorbike never sets wheels on a public road, you won’t legally need to have it registered or insured. But if you aren’t insured and have an accident, you’ll be on your own. 

If you ride your bike on the road (even for a short distance) it must be vehicle approved, registered, taxed and have an MOT (if required), otherwise you could face prosecution. You’ll also need at least third-party insurance in place, a provisional licence , L plates and have passed compulsory basic training (CBT). 

If you have a trail/Enduro bike – road-legal but with off-road capabilities, you’re likely to use it on public roads as well as dirt biking, in which case you’re legally required to have insurance.

What should I look for when choosing off-road insurance?

When buying off-road motorbike insurance, whether from a specialist or as an add-on to a standard policy, there are some features to look out for. These include:  

  • Accidental damage cover – a key feature, covering your bike for damage it suffers off-road.  
  • Legal assistance cover – to pay for legal expenses and compensation if someone sues you for damages.  
  • Personal injury cover – this provides a payout if you’re seriously hurt in an accident.  
  • In transit cover – some policies will cover you for damage while your bike is being transported in a van or trailer.  
  • Breakdown cover – off-road bikes can take a beating, so this will help if you break down and find yourself stranded on the ride home. 

Always check your policy wording so you know exactly what you’re covered for  

If you want to take part in trials and competitions, you’ll need to check that you’re covered as these are sometimes excluded – even from specialist off-road policies. 

Can I use standard motorbike insurance for my off-road bike?

If you just want to be legally insured to ride on public roads, standard motorbike insurance will be fine. But if you want any kind of protection on the track, standard insurance probably won’t be enough, as it usually only covers you for ordinary road use.

Do I need insurance for my quad bike? 

If you ride a quad bike on public roads, you’ll need at least third-party insurance. You must also register your bike with the DVLA, pay tax, have a full car driving licence or category B1 licence (if it was issued before January 1997) and a valid MOT certificate. 

If you only use your quad bike for farming or gardening, you may be exempt from road tax. But you must register it as a light agricultural vehicle and you’ll still need insurance if you ride it on public roads. 

If you only use your quad bike on private land, you won’t need insurance. But you must only ever ride it on private property. You can’t take it onto byways, footpaths or bridleways without insurance, as these count as public roads. 

Quad bikes are typically excluded from standard motorbike or car insurance policies. If you want to ride your quad bike on public roads, you might need to look for specialist quad bike insurance. 

Do I need motocross bike insurance?

As with other types of off-road bikes, you’ll need to insure your motocross bike if you take it on public roads. Without insurance in place, you’ll need to make sure you only ever ride on private land. You’ll also need to make sure that there’s no risk of hurting anyone else, because if you have an accident and the other person decides to sue, you won’t be covered.  

Where can I find motorbike insurance to cover me off road?

If you want to be insured to ride off-road, you need specialist off-road motorbike insurance. You can either use a specialist insurance provider or contact a standard insurance provider to see if they could tailor your policy.

Do I have to register my off-road motorbike with the DVLA? 

If you never use your bike on a public road, registration is voluntary. But there are reasons to do it. Having your bike registered could make it easier to find if it’s stolen. Plus, insurance providers may require you to have a registration number. See how to register your off-road bike for free at GOV.UK.

How can I lower the cost of motorbike insurance?

There are a few ways you could reduce the cost of insuring your motorbike. For example:  

  • Look for ‘limited mileage cover’ – off-road bikes don’t rack up as many miles as standard motorbikes. Look for insurance that takes your mileage into consideration.  
  • Invest in security – storing your bike in a garage or drive, and fitting an immobiliser, alarm or lock, could knock a few pounds off your premium. These measures could also deter thieves, helping to protect your no-claims bonus.  
  • Upgrade your riding – some insurance providers offer better rates for experienced riders. While you can’t buy experience, you can take courses that could lower your premium.

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