What affects motorcycle premiums?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew how insurance providers worked the cost of your bike insurance? That way, you might have half a chance of being able to control how much it cost.

Well, while we can’t tell you exactly how they calculate it, we do have a pretty good idea what factors go into the calculation and how certain things affect your premium.

Interested in knowing more? Read on.

What affects motorcycle premiums?

Let’s start by acknowledging that there are some things that you simply can’t do anything about. Others you might have some control over, while others are totally within your power to affect.

All the factors are looked at statistically by the insurance provider to calculate two principle things. How risky you are to insure, and how much a claim could cost in the event that you make one.


Factors linked to you

  • Age of the rider

Well, short of simply waiting or a time machine, there’s not a lot you can do about how old you are – but it does have a big effect on the cost of your insurance. Statistically, insurance companies know that young riders, those between 17-25 years old, are more likely to be involved in an accident. To reflect that, you can expect that if you fall into this age group, your premiums are likely to be higher.

  • Your riding record

While you can’t do much about your age, you can control your riding record. The more years you build up claim free and without any convictions such as speeding tickets – the cheaper your premium will be.

Most insurance providers will accept up to five or six years’ worth of no claims to calculate a discount on your premium. That doesn’t mean you should just make a claim after five years, it just means that the level of discount will tend to be capped to the same point no matter how many more years NCD you accrue.

  • Where you live

Where you live affects the way your premium is calculated in two ways. Firstly, whether the area you live in has a high incidence of theft. Not surprisingly, if crime is more likely, your premiums are likely to be higher.

Secondly, if you live in a big urban area, you’re unfortunately at greater risk of being involved in an accident than if you live in a quiet, less busy area. Another one you’re unlikely to be able to change but it can have a big effect on the price of your premium.

  • How often you ride, when you’re riding

Statistically, the more miles you ride, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. Sounds a bit grim doesn’t it, but it’s just a mathematical fact. That means insurance providers are likely to charge you more the more miles you do each year. If you only use your bike for part of the year or on relatively short journeys, you might be able to restrict your mileage which may reduce your premium.

If you commute to work on your bike rather than using it for pleasure only, you could expect to pay more. That’s because you’ll be riding during rush hour – the busiest time on the roads when an accident is more likely to occur. But don’t consider fibbing about what you’ll be using your bike for, as if found out, you could invalidate your policy. 

Factors linked to your bike

  • The value of your bike

If you’re riding a more expensive bike, the costs of claims for damage and repairs are likely to be higher. This means your premiums are likely to be higher too. For classic bikes, spare parts may be at a premium and expensive to obtain. This can lead to higher repair costs and again this is factored into your premium calculation.

Don’t think though, just because your beaten up 50cc machine isn’t worth much it will be cheap to insure. Other factors involving how often such bikes are involved in claims is also taken into account.

  • The make and model of bike

The make and model of bike you ride has an impact on premiums. Generally speaking, more powerful superbikes are going to cost you more to insure than street bikes with more modest engine capacity and performance.

It isn’t binary though, so don’t assume more powerful equals more cost. Insurance providers take all factors about you and how you use the bike into account when calculating the premium. It’s worth comparing quotes on our site to find out different insurance costs before purchasing a bike though if lowering your insurance premium is important to you.

  • Any modifications

Typically, insurance providers take a dim view on modifications. Modified bikes tend to cost more to insure. Don’t risk not telling them about any mods though, as you’re likely to invalidate your insurance and could potentially land in hot water if you do so.

  • Security features

If your bike is less likely to be stolen, it stands to reason that it could reduce your insurance premium. Keeping your bike in a locked garage or on a drive rather than on the street could make a difference. Other security features such as locks, anchors and immobilisers all help and may also be taken into account by the insurance provider – you just might need to speak to them directly. 

Factors linked to your policy

  • Type of policy

There are three kinds of bike cover:

  • Third-party only: covers injury to other people, and damage to property and vehicles, in accidents that are your fault.
  • Third-party, fire and theft: provides the same third party cover but your bike is also protected if it’s stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive: includes all third party cover as well as injury to you and damage to your bike – even if the accident was your fault.

You might simply assume that comprehensive policies are more expensive than third party cover. That would seem sensible as they cover more things. However, it isn’t always the case, so it’s a good idea to check the price of all cover when looking for a new insurance policy to make sure you get the right cover for you at the right price.

  • Your excess

The excess is the amount of money that you pay towards a claim before your insurance provider will make a contribution. There are usually two types, compulsory – that you have no choice about, and voluntary that you can vary.

The higher the voluntary excess you agree to, the less your insurance tends to cost. But just make sure you can afford the full cost of the excess (compulsory + voluntary) in the event that you do need to make a claim. 

The importance of comparing premium prices

Insurance companies use factors in different ways. Some factors are also more important to some insurance providers than others. That’s why they can come up with quite different prices when they quote you for your bike insurance.

Comparing motorcycle premiums is simple at comparethemarket.com. Just give us a few details about you and your bike and leave the rest to us. Try it today and see what you could save.

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