Trike insurance: our guide to three-wheel motorcycle insurance

Although not a common sight on UK roads, trikes have a devoted following. They’re loved for their individuality, comfort and greater stability than standard motorcycles. But because they’re so unique, trike cover can be harder to find.

Whether you ride one for pleasure or to aid your mobility, here’s what you need to know to find the right trike insurance for you.

Although not a common sight on UK roads, trikes have a devoted following. They’re loved for their individuality, comfort and greater stability than standard motorcycles. But because they’re so unique, trike cover can be harder to find.

Whether you ride one for pleasure or to aid your mobility, here’s what you need to know to find the right trike insurance for you.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
7 JULY 2023
7 min read
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What is a trike?

A trike is a three-wheeled vehicle. While this might sound obvious, it’s not quite as simple as that for insurance purposes.

Trikes are often custom-built or modified and won’t be covered by standard policies. There may even be confusion over which type of vehicle it is, as trikes can be classed as either cars or motorcycles.

  • Three-wheel cars – broadly speaking, if a three-wheeler has a closed chassis, manual gears and a steering wheel, it’s classed as a car. Well-known examples include the Reliant Robin and the upmarket Morgan 3 Wheeler.
  • Three-wheel motorbikes – a three-wheeler with an open chassis and handlebars is typically classed as a motorcycle. Think Harley Davidson’s Tri Glide Ultra and the Piaggio MP3.

What insurance do I need for my trike?

The cover you need depends on the features of the three-wheeler you want to insure.

To cover a three-wheel car, you’ll need to look for specialist car insurance.

If you have a three-wheel motorbike, the type of policy you’ll need depends on how it was built. If you have a:

  • Standard production model from a recognised manufacturer – you may be able to get cover with a standard motorbike insurance policy.
  • Custom-built or a non-standard model – you’ll need specialist trike motorcycle insurance.

Before they can give you a trike insurance quote, specialist insurance providers will need to know more details about your three-wheeler, including how the wheels are configured:

  • A delta trike has two wheels at the back and one at the front
  • A tadpole trike has two wheels at the front and one at the back.

Tadpole trikes may be less likely to roll, and they offer more stable braking so insurance providers might consider them less of a risk to insure.

Who can ride a trike?

It depends on which type of licence you have.

If you passed your car driving test before 19 January 2013, you’re allowed to ride any trike.

When you renew your licence, a category B1 entitlement for quads and trikes will change to show categories B1 and A, with a note to say that the A entitlement is limited to tricycles.

If you passed your driving test after the 2013 cut-off date, you can ride a motor tricycle of any power output provided you’re over 21 and have a full car driving licence.

You’ll need to apply for the right provisional licence category to learn to ride a motor trike if you don’t have a driving licence:

  • If you’re over 17, you can apply for a category A1 licence to ride trikes with a power output of up to 15kW.
  • If you’re aged 21-24 and you’ve held a category A2 licence for a minimum of two years, you can apply for a category A licence to ride a trike of any power rating. This is known as progressive access.
  • If you’re aged over 24, you can apply directly for a category A licence to ride a trike of any power rating.

Whatever category of motorcycle licence you choose, you’ll also need to pass compulsory basic training (CBT) before taking a theory and practical test.

Only people with physical disabilities can take a driving test on a trike. That means if you’re a non-disabled driver and you want to ride a trike, you’ll need to pass the CBT, theory and practical tests on a two-wheeled motorcycle first.

How do I get three-wheel motorcycle insurance for my trike?

To compare trike insurance, you’ll need to provide information about:

  • The make and model of your trike
  • The year your trike was manufactured
  • The value of your vehicle
  • How long you’ve held your licence
  • Any alterations or modifications you’ve made to your trike
  • Where your trike is parked overnight
  • What security devices you use.

Some providers will offer you a discount if you’re a member of a recognised motorcycle club. Discounts may also be available to members of the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD).

What do I need to know to compare specialist trike insurance?

If you do need specialist insurance for a custom-built or non-standard trike, there are a few factors to bear in mind when comparing policies:

Agreed value

It may be harder for an insurance provider to assess the full value of your trike if it’s custom built or it has substantial modifications. But you’ll want your policy to cover the full value in case it’s written off in an accident.

If a specialist provider offers an agreed value policy, you’ll be asked to estimate the value of your trike and provide evidence, such as photos or receipts for parts. In some cases, an insurance provider might ask for an independent valuation.

Salvage retention rights

If you have a custom-built trike or made special alterations, you may want to consider a policy that includes salvage retention rights. It means that if your trike is written off in an accident, you could recover your trike from your insurance provider to see if you can salvage any unique or rare parts.

Custom paintwork

If your trike has a custom paint job, then you’ll want to make sure the cost is covered by your insurance too. Look for policies that include custom paint insurance – and remember to keep hold of any receipts.

Show insurance

If you’ll be taking your pride and joy around the country to show off at motorcycle shows, then you might need to add extra cover to your policy to make sure you’ll be covered.

What level of three-wheeler insurance can I get?

As with other types of motor insurance, you can choose from three levels of cover for your trike.

  • Third-party only is the basic legal minimum. It covers you for any damage you cause someone else, their vehicle or their property. You won’t be covered for the cost of any damage to your own vehicle.
  • Third-party, fire and theft includes everything in third party insurance, but can also offer cover you if your three-wheeler is stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Fully comprehensive is the highest level of insurance available. It offers the same cover as third party, fire and theft, but also covers injuries to yourself and damage to your trike.

Even if you’re not riding your trike at the moment and you have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), you may want to consider insurance to cover your trike against accidental damage and theft.

What extras can I add to my trike insurance policy?

Like with most insurance policies, you have the option to add extras to your three-wheeler insurance cover to give you even more protection. These can include:

Breakdown cover
Many insurance providers now offer breakdown assistance as an add-on. Having motorbike breakdown cover could soon get you back on the road or taken home safely if anything goes wrong with your trike, both in the UK and Europe.

Legal expenses cover
This type of cover could help pay some or all of your legal costs if you need to make a claim or a driver makes a claim against you.

Personal accident cover
If you’re involved in a serious accident, this will cover things like loss of limbs, permanent disability and accidental death.

Pillion cover
Most motorbike insurance policies won’t cover passengers as standard. So, if you regularly carry passengers on your trike, it’s important to have pillion cover in place in case they’re injured in an accident.

Helmet and leathers cover
You can get extra cover for your protective riding gear, including helmets, leathers and pads. This could help pay for repairs or replacements if your gear gets damaged in an accident.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get electric trike insurance?

There are insurance providers in the UK that will cover your electric trike. Electric trikes aren’t common, so your options may more limited when it comes to comparing electric trike insurance. However, as the popularity of electric bikes increases, you may start to find more competitive deals on the market.

How can I get cheap trike insurance?

Here a few factors to consider when looking for a more affordable deal on your trike insurance:

  • Limited mileage policies: you might be able to save on your premium by choosing a policy with an upper mileage cap.
  • Voluntary excess: you might pay less if you agree to pay a higher excess – but make sure you can afford it if you do need to claim.
  • Storage and security: store your trike somewhere secure at night, such as in a locked garage, and look at adding extra security features like an approved immobiliser or alarm system. 
  • No-claims discount: the more years you go without claiming, the bigger your no-claims discount will be.
  • Shop around: compare what’s out there to make sure you’re getting the best-value for your trike cover.

Can I ride a trike on a car licence?

In the UK you can drive a trike of any power rating so long as you hold a full car driving licence and you’re over 21. That means you can get trike insurance with a car licence too.

Will adapting my trike to my disability make insurance cheaper?

If your trike has been adapted for a disability you may need to get cover from a specialist motor trike insurance provider. The cost will depend on several factors, including the value of the trike and the modifications made.

However, you might be able to get a discount on your trike insurance if you’re a member of the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD). Speak to your insurance provider to see what they offer.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

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