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What affects the cost of motorbike insurance?

Your age, postcode, mileage and type of machine you ride can all affect the cost of your motorbike insurance. Some of these are outside of your control, but others can be changed to improve your chances of paying less for your cover.

Your age, postcode, mileage and type of machine you ride can all affect the cost of your motorbike insurance. Some of these are outside of your control, but others can be changed to improve your chances of paying less for your cover.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
19 APRIL 2024
7 min read
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Do I need motorbike insurance? 

Yes. You must have insurance if you want to ride your bike on UK roads. If you don’t, you could be fined £300 and receive six points on your licence or have your vehicle clamped, impounded or destroyed. If the case goes to court, you could get an unlimited fine or be disqualified from driving. You don’t need motorbike insurance if your vehicle is declared as off the road (SORN).

How much does motorbike insurance cost? 

The cost of motorcycle insurance can vary greatly, but the table below shows you the average premiums for various groups:

Average insurance premium [1]
Bike £611
125cc bike £867
50cc bike £531
Young rider (aged between 16 and 17) £1,300

[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £610.49 for their bike insurance, £866.74 for 125cc bike insurance, £530.07 for 50cc bike insurance and £1,299.88 for young rider insurance in March 2024.

How is motorbike insurance calculated? 

To put it very simply, the premium you’ll pay depends on your insurance provider’s opinion of how likely you are to make a claim and if you do, how expensive it will be. Here are a few factors they take into account:

Your age 

Statistically, insurance providers know that young riders – particularly young men – are more likely to be involved in an accident. For young riders aged 16-17, the average cost of insurance is £1,300 a year [1].

So if you fall into this age group, you can expect your premiums to be higher than the average rider.

Your job 

Some professions are considered riskier than others, so if your job involves spending a lot of time on the road, you may be quoted a higher premium than someone with a lower-risk occupation. For example, if you use your bike to work as a delivery driver, you may pay more as you’re riding the bike more often and increasing your chances of getting into an accident.

Where you live 

Vehicle insurance is a bit of a postcode lottery. If you live in an area with high levels of crime, particularly one with high bike thefts, you’re likely to see this reflected in your premiums. And in general, if you live in a busy town or city, you’re at greater risk of being involved in an accident than if you live in a quiet, rural area.

Your riding record and claims history

Your past is important to insurance providers. Each year you ride without making a claim on your bike insurance gives you a year of no claims discount (NCD). This can reduce the cost of your insurance when you come to renew it. 

Most insurance providers will cap the discount after five or six years’ worth of no claims, but some will allow more. 

On the flip side, if you have any penalty points on your licence, you can expect to pay a higher premium. 

Multiple riders 

If you add a high-risk rider to your policy, for example a learner rider or a younger sibling, your insurance could rise as the risk of accidents increases. 

But if you share your bike with an older, more experienced rider, your premium could be cheaper. Just make sure you’re honest about who the main rider is, because lying about this is called fronting, which is a type of insurance fraud.

How you use your bike and how many miles you do 

If you use your bike to commute to work, you may pay more than if you just use it for leisure purposes (although this isn’t always the case). That’s because you’ll potentially be riding during rush hour – the busiest time on the roads – when an accident is more likely to happen.

When you take out an insurance policy, your provider will ask how many miles you drive on average – it’s one of the main factors used to calculate your premium. The more miles you ride, the more likely you are to have an accident. If you can restrict the number of miles you do each year, you may be able to cut the costs. 

Try to be as accurate as you can when you work this out. If you overestimate your mileage, you could end up paying more than you need to. But set it too low and your insurance provider could decide not to pay out if you make a claim.

The value of your bike 

If you’re riding a more expensive bike, the cost of any claims for damage and repairs are likely to be higher, which means higher premiums. 

When it comes to classic bikes, special care is taken by owners to keep these bikes in good condition. These bikes are also likely to only be driven for special trips, so the low mileage means a lower premium as there’s less risk of an accident. But replacement parts can be hard to come by, so this can increase the cost.

The make and model of your bike 

Generally speaking, a powerful superbike will cost more to insure than a street bike with a modest engine capacity and performance. If you have a 50cc bike, you could be paying £531[1] annually for insurance, but this rises to £867[1] if you have a 125cc bike

But don’t assume a more powerful bike automatically equals more expensive to insure. As well as the manufacturer, insurance providers take into account information about you and how you use your bike when working out your premium. 

Find out about insurance for different motorbike models.

Any modifications you make to your bike 

Typically, insurance providers take a dim view of people making modifications to their bikes. Modified bikes tend to be more attractive to thieves, increasing the chances of your bike being stolen and you making a claim on your insurance. Similarly, any modifications that make your bike go faster could increase your chances of being involved in an accident, making you a higher risk to insure. 

But if you have modified your bike, it’s important to let your insurance provider know – failing to do so could invalidate your policy. You’re better off paying an increased premium than being underinsured if you have to make a claim. 

Find out how modifications can affect motorbike insurance.

Security of your bike 

If your bike is less likely to be stolen, it stands to reason that it could reduce your insurance premium. Storing your bike in a locked garage or on a private driveway, rather than on the street, could save you money. 

Security features like a bike lock, ground anchor and immobiliser can all make a difference too, but you might need to speak directly to your insurance provider to get this reflected in your premium.

Your level of cover 

Don’t assume that third party insurance is the cheapest option just because it offers the most basic level of cover. Bike insurance prices depend on each person’s circumstances. 

When you compare bike insurance with us, you can review prices for the three main types of insurance:  

  • Third party – the minimum legal requirement, this covers compensation for injury or damage caused to other people and their property. It won’t cover damage to your bike or any medical treatment that you might need.
  • Third party fire and theft – offers the same benefits as third party, plus cover if your bike is damaged by fire or is stolen.
  • Comprehensive – includes all the features of third party fire and theft, plus any accidental damage or personal injury treatment if the incident is your fault.

Your voluntary excess 

All insurance policies have an excess, which is the amount of money you’ll have to pay towards a claim. There are usually two types - compulsory, which is set by the insurance provider, and voluntary which is chosen by you.

If you choose to pay a higher voluntary excess, it might reduce the price of your premium. But remember, if you make a claim you’ll need to pay both the compulsory and the voluntary excess amounts at once, which could be quite expensive.

Make sure you get a good deal on motorbike insurance

Comparing motorbike insurance costs with us is easy. Just give us a few details about you and your bike, and we’ll give you an overview of the deals available. You’ll see the prices, policy features and other key information in a summary. When you find the deal that’s right for you, just follow the link to the provider’s website to buy. See if you could save: compare today.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need motorbike breakdown cover?

Breakdown cover provides you with help if your motorbike runs into any mechanical problems while on the road. If you regularly ride your bike, it can give you peace of mind in knowing you can get help when you need it. Motorbike breakdown policies can cover roadside assistance, nationwide recovery, home start, onward travel and European travel.

Is motorbike insurance cheaper than car insurance?

It often can be. On average, drivers pay £924[2] a year for comprehensive car insurance. In comparison, bike riders pay an average annual premium of £611[3]. But what you pay for your premium depends on what kind of bike or car you have, how you use it and all the other factors that affect the cost of insurance.

[2] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £923.46 for their comprehensive car insurance in March 2024. 

[3] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £610.49 for their bike insurance based in March 2024.

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