Why compare motorbike insurance quotes with Compare the Market?
There were just over 1.4 million motorcycles on the road in the UK in 2021. If yours is one of them, finding affordable, high-quality insurance will be among your top priorities. Just like car insurance, motorbike insurance is a legal requirement.
Whether you’re buying your first motorcycle or upgrading to your dream machine, comparing motorcycle insurance providers may help you save on your premiums.
51% of customers paid up to £390** for their motorcycle insurance.
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**51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £389.48 per year for their bike insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
***Correct as of March 2022.
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How much does motorbike insurance cost?
According to Compare the Market data, customers pay up to £390** for motorbike insurance.
The price you’ll pay for your policy depends on several things like your bike’s engine size, the level of cover you choose, your age, where you live, your claims history and even how you use it – for social use, commuting or work. Performance-enhancing modifications and cosmetic changes can also affect the cost of your bike insurance.
Don’t always assume that a comprehensive policy will be the most expensive – surprisingly, third party, fire and theft cover and even third-party only can sometimes cost more.
**51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £389.48 per year for their bike insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
What our expert says...
“Whether you’ve just bought your first bike or you’re a seasoned rider, you’ll want to get the right insurance for you at the right price. To avoid paying more than you need to, think carefully about how you use your bike and get the add-ons you really need. Plus, do your best to build up your no-claims discount to help reduce your future motorbike insurance premiums."
- Dan Hutson, Motor insurance expert
What is motorbike insurance?
Depending on the level of cover you choose, motorbike insurance can give you a pay-out if your bike is damaged or stolen. It can also cover other people involved in an accident with your motorcycle., Motorbike insurance can cover repairs to your motorbike and damage or injury you cause to other people. You can also add extras like breakdown cover, and Personal Accident to your policy.
Having motorbike insurance is a legal requirement if you ride or keep your bike on a public road.
What does motorbike insurance cover?
What your motorbike insurance policy covers depends on the level of cover you choose. You can choose from three levels:
Third party only
Third-party cover is the minimum required by law. It covers you for any damage you do to others and their property. However, it won’t cover you or your motorbike.
Third party fire and theft (TPFT)
This offers the same cover as third party, with added protection for your motorcycle in case of fire or theft.
Covers all of the above, as well as repairs to your motorbike and the cost of replacing it if it’s written off. It could also cover injury to you but check your policy wording to be sure.
What doesn’t motorbike insurance cover?
Here are a few examples of things a standard motorbike insurance policy might not cover:
If you’re planning on riding your bike with a passenger on the back (riding pillion), even if it’s just a one-off occasion, you’ll need to add pillion cover to your policy. This will protect the passenger against personal injury while they’re riding with you.
Passengers aren’t considered a third party, so without the extra cover your policy will be invalid and you could be held personally liable if they’re injured. And be aware that it’s illegal to ride with a passenger if you only hold a provisional licence.
If your bike has a sidecar attached, it will be classed as an accessory and you may need to take out extra cover. You’ll need to give your insurance provider details about the make, model and value of the sidecar to make sure you’re properly covered. Some insurance providers will insure it as an accessory, while others will include your sidecar in the total cost of your motorcycle insurance.
You’ll also need to let your insurance provider know if you’ve modified your bike in any way to fit the sidecar, as this could affect the cost of your premium.
Any modifications you make to your bike after manufacture need to be declared, whether they’re cosmetic or performance-enhancing. Check your policy as most providers have a ‘standard modifications’ list that allows for small changes without it affecting your insurance.
Typically, any modifications that could enhance your bike’s performance or increase its value won’t be covered by a standard policy. If in doubt, check with your insurance provider. Major changes to your bike may also need to be declared to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Motorcycle insurance policies don’t usually cover punctures and cut or burst tyres. Wheel damage caused by braking is also excluded, even with a comprehensive policy. It’s a good idea to have motorbike breakdown cover with roadside assistance, so if you do suffer a bad puncture on the road they can get you to the nearest garage.
It's also best to get a puncture professionally repaired rather than patching it up with a DIY kit – riding your bike with a temporary repair could invalidate your insurance policy.
It’s unlikely that a standard motorcycle policy will cover you for riding your bike during track days. If you want to take to the circuit, you’ll need to get dedicated track day motorbike insurance from a specialist provider. Although it’s not a legal requirement, some track day organisers will insist you have extra insurance before you can take part.
And be aware that track day motorbike insurance won’t cover competitive riding or riding on public roads. Again, you’ll need to take out specialist insurance if you want cover for a racing bike.
What extras can I add to my motorbike insurance policy?
As well as insuring your motorbike, you might want to look into optional extras like:
- Motor legal protection – if you’re involved in an accident that leads to a legal claim, this could cover some or all of your legal costs.
- Helmet and leathers cover – if you damage your riding gear in an accident.
- Motorcycle breakdown cover – could get you back on the road if anything goes wrong with your bike.
- Personal accident cover – if you’re in an accident, this will cover loss of limbs, permanent disability and accidental death.
- Pillion cover – this covers your passengers for any injuries received while riding.
- Key cover – can cover the cost of replacing lost or stolen keys.
- International cover – if you’re planning to ride your bike abroad, you need to make sure you’re covered.
Each of these extras can differ from one motorbike insurance provider to the next and each policy can come with its own exclusions. Make sure you read the policy carefully to find the right insurance for you and your bike.
How can I get cheaper motorbike insurance?
There’s a few ways you could reduce the cost of your policy:
1. Choose the right bike
A smaller bike with a less powerful engine will typically cost less to insure. You might also find that repairs and replacement parts are cheaper too. If you only use your bike for short journeys and riding around town, a 125cc motorbike or scooter might make more economic sense than splashing out on a high-performance sports bike.
2. Avoid modified or unusual bikes
Insurance providers tend to be wary of bikes with a lot of modifications, especially ones that enhance performance or increase their value. Modifications can often make your bike more expensive to repair and more likely to attract thieves. Imported bikes can also be more expensive to insure, especially if they come from outside of Europe and need specially imported parts.
3. Limit your mileage
The fewer miles you do, the less risk of you having an accident. If you can keep your annual mileage down, it could earn you a cheaper premium. Try to be as accurate as possible when working out your average annual mileage. Underestimate, and you could invalidate your policy – overestimate, and you could end up paying more for your insurance than you need to.
4. Improve your driving skills
Riders with advanced motorcycle qualifications could be eligible for lower premiums. Get in touch with your insurance provider before you sign up for a course, as they’re not all recognised by insurance providers. Consider qualifications like: BikeSafe Certificate, Enhanced Rider Scheme, RoSPA Advanced Motorcycle Training or the Enhanced Rider Scheme .
5. Secure your motorbike
Storing your bike in a garage or secure lock-up at night could get you cheaper premiums. Fitting an alarm or immobiliser could also help, provided it’s recognised by Thatcham, the security company that works with insurance providers to set rates.
6. Pay annually
Paying for your motorbike insurance upfront in one go can be cheaper. You’re typically charged interest or finance arrangement fees if you pay monthly.
7. Cut out the extras
There’s no point in paying extra for add-ons you don’t want or need. For example, do you really need pillion cover if you never take any passengers?
While breakdown cover is always a good idea, work out if it would be cheaper to include it with your bike insurance or buy as a stand-alone policy. And check you’re not covered for breakdown elsewhere, by your bank account for example.
8. Build up your no claims discount
It stands to reason that if you take care when riding your bike, you can hopefully avoid accidents. For each year you stay claims-free, you’ll receive a discount on your premium the next time you renew.
9. Increase your voluntary excess
Increasing the amount you pay towards a claim (voluntary excess) usually means you’ll pay less for your premium. Just make sure you can afford to pay the voluntary amount on top of the compulsory excess if you need to make a claim on your motorbike insurance.
10. Shop around
One of the easiest ways to save money on your motorbike insurance is to shop around and see what’s on offer. If you stick with the same provider at renewal, you may be losing out on a cheaper insurance deal. It’s always a good idea to shop around and compare quotes to see if you can save money by switching providers.
Classes of motorbike use
Insurance providers will want to know how you’ll be using your bike, so they understand the potential risk involved. It’s important that you declare how you’ll be using your bike when you apply for insurance:
- Social, domestic and pleasure – if you’re only using your bike for leisure and social travel, this will cover you.
- Social, domestic, pleasure and commuting – if you’re also using your bike to ride to a single place of work, that counts as commuting and means you need extra cover.
- Social, domestic, pleasure, commuting and business use – if you’re using it for all of the above, while also using it for business reasons (like a delivery service), then you’ll need business use cover.
Read your policy carefully to make sure you’re getting the right cover for your needs.
Motorbike insurance policies for your type of bike
Here’s a quick look at the main types of motorbike and how they tend to measure up in costs for insurance providers. Different providers have different guidelines on the types of bikes they’ll insure.
Moped and scooter
A moped or scooter is usually cheap to buy and insure. But premiums will be more expensive if it’s a first bike for someone under 25, as insurance providers consider this a high-risk age group.
These high-performance bikes can be more expensive to insure. Make sure you compare insurance quotes to find a deal that suits you.
Increasingly popular with those who like to ride on and off the road. Costs vary, but lighter-weight models with smaller engines are usually cheaper to insure.
Classic bikes can be highly valuable, but they also tend to be well cared for and used sparingly, which can take insurance costs down a bit.
These bikes tend to cover a lot of distance, and they’re built with comfort and storage in mind, and less emphasis on speed. If you’re planning to take your touring bike abroad, your insurance may be more expensive.
If you’re into off-road riding, like motocross or track racing, then it can be expensive to insure your bike – especially if it’s modified.
Cruisers are large, heavy machines often sporting retro-styling. If you’ve customised your cruiser, this can bump up the cost of your premiums.
With a motorcycle that’s been ‘chopped’ or modified from its original design, you might have particular insurance needs because your bike has been custom-made.
Frequently asked questions
What information do I need to get an insurance quote for my motorbike?
Before starting your quote, make sure you have details of:
- the make and model of your motorbike – and the registration number, if you know it
- the year it was manufactured (we can compare quotes for any bike manufactured during or after 1970)
- any modifications after manufacture
- the value of your motorcycle and the date you bought it, if applicable
- how long you’ve had your motorbike licence
- any claims or convictions
- any additional riders, including any claims and convictions they may have had
- any special security devices you carry or have had fitted to your motorbike.
What affects the cost of motorcycle insurance?
There are many things that can affect the cost of your motorbike insurance. Most of them are similar to car insurance, but there are one or two differences:
- Your age – with age comes experience, and your experience level can make a big difference to the price of your insurance. If you’re particularly young or old, you’ll likely find insurance is more expensive as you’re considered a greater risk.
- Your bike’s make, model and value – if your bike is an expensive, rare or powerful model, your insurance will usually cost more to cover potential risk and the expense of repairs.
- Motoring record – if you have previous motoring convictions, you’ll usually pay more. If you’ve built up a no-claims bonus, you’ll typically pay less.
- Your job – jobs fall into different categories, based on level of risk. If your job involves being out on the road more, you’re a higher risk and you’ll be paying more for business use cover.
- Where you live – if you live in a high-crime area, you can expect to pay more.
- Your mileage – simply put, the more miles you clock up, the higher the chance of you having an accident, so expect to pay more.
- Modifications – if you make any modifications that increase performance or power, you’ll probably find the cost of insurance changes. While some modifications will see the price go up, others may, in fact, bring it down.
- Security – bikes can be at greater risk of theft, so industry-approved security features can help bring down the cost of your insurance. Examples include Thatcham-approved bike locks, ground anchors and immobilisers.
- Your voluntary excess – while most insurance policies have a compulsory excess, if you add a voluntary amount it will usually bring down the cost of your insurance. Just be sure that you’re comfortable with paying the extra, in the event of an accident.
- The level of cover – the type of cover you get will usually impact the cost of your insurance, but don’t assume that the lowest level of cover is always the cheapest.
Find more details on what affects the cost of your motorbike insurance.
Can I ride someone else’s bike if I have motorbike insurance?
Some insurance providers offer policies that allow you to ride any bike, covering you if you were to rent or borrow another bike. You should read your policy carefully, though, as your level of cover is likely to be third party only.
Will motorcycle insurance cover me for additional passengers?
Many insurance providers will allow you to include additional (or pillion) passengers as part of your policy. The terms may vary among providers, and you may find your insurance is more expensive if you’re looking to include any pillion passengers.
Can I add other people to my motorbike insurance policy?
Just like insuring a car, many insurance providers will allow you to add an additional rider. Depending on their age and driving experience, this may raise or lower the cost of your premiums.
Can I insure more than one bike under the same policy?
If you own more than one motorbike, you could insure them all under one policy. Multi-bike policies could earn you a discount for using the same provider, and it could also be easier to manage multiple bikes with one policy, one renewal date and one insurance premium payment.
Compare the Market doesn’t currently compare multi-bike insurance, but we’re a great place to compare single motorbike insurance policies.
Can I insure an imported motorcycle?
You can insure an imported motorbike, but you’ll probably find you have fewer options. Not all motorbike insurance providers are willing to insure imports, because they were made to be sold outside of the UK. You can still find cover, though, so it’s well worth comparing providers to find the right one for your imported bike.
Can I insure a sidecar?
Yes, if you ride your motorbike with a sidecar, this is a common extra that’s available with motorbike insurance policies. When comparing quotes, make sure you list a sidecar in your application or ask your provider to add it to your policy.
What happens if my bike is written off?
It varies from one policy to the next. Some insurance providers will provide you with a brand-new replacement should your bike be written off, but this will increase the cost of your insurance.
The terms of this can be restrictive, so you might want to consider a form of GAP insurance. GAP, which stands for guaranteed asset protection, covers the difference between the market value of your bike today and the amount you paid when you bought it. GAP insurance could, for example, be helpful if the model of bike you bought loses its value quickly.
When you take out your policy, you’ll confirm the value of your bike and this will be used to calculate your pay-out if your bike is written off. You have to agree this amount with your insurance provider, so make sure you’re happy with it as it may be difficult to challenge after you’ve had an accident.
Please note that Compare the Market doesn’t currently compare GAP insurance.
Does motorbike insurance cover wheel damage or punctures?
Most motorbike insurance policies won’t cover you for punctures or damage to your wheels. However, if you take out breakdown cover, you can at least get roadside recovery to get you back on the road as soon as possible.
Can I insure a modified motorbike?
Bike modifications can range from small additions, such as stickers and decals, all the way up to changes to the engine and frame.
Whether these modifications affect your motorbike insurance depends on your provider. Motorcycle insurance providers classify modifications differently, which means it may affect your cover with one, but not another. When looking for cover, be sure to read the standard modifications list carefully, so you know exactly what will impact your insurance and how much it could affect your premium.
Some modifications won’t affect the cost of your insurance at all. While many will likely make it more expensive (for example, a more powerful engine), additional security modifications may even bring down the cost of your insurance.
Can I insure my bike for only part of the year?
You may find that you only ride your motorbike during the summer months, when the weather offers the best riding conditions. However, insurance policies are sold on an annual basis, providing you with cover for the full year. Cancelling your policy early will mean that you won’t earn any NCD and there will usually be a cancellation fee, which will most likely make any savings minimal or wipe them out completely.
You could declare your bike SORN (meaning it has a Statutory Off Road Notification) and take it off the road altogether, so you won’t need to tax or insure it while it’s not in use. But you’ll likely lose out on any no-claims bonuses because your cover has been interrupted. It also means you won’t be able to ride it until you’re insured and taxed again.
Overall, it’s probably best to keep your bike insured at all times. Your bike can be stolen or damaged at any time, so having the right level of cover will protect you.
Can I ride my bike abroad?
If you’re planning on riding your bike abroad, you’ll need to make sure you’re fully covered. Some insurance providers include cover for riding abroad (usually within the EU) but you should always check this, along with any limits or exclusions in your policy wording. If you need to take out extra cover, a separate motorbike travel insurance policy should cover you.
Can I transfer my no-claims bonus from my car insurance?
This is unlikely, but you may be able to find an insurance provider who’ll take your no-claims discount from your car insurance into account. It’s worth comparing providers and finding out more before you agree on a motorcycle insurance policy.
What is CBT?
CBT stands for Compulsory Basic Training. This is a course you need to take before you’re legally able to ride a motorbike or moped on the road. It’s only the first level of qualification, so you’ll still need to pass a full motorbike or moped driving test, but it allows you to legally ride a moped or up to a 125cc motorbike, as long as the power output is no more than 11kW.
Once you’ve completed your CBT (it’s not a test that you pass or fail), you must pass your full test within two years or you’ll have to complete the CBT again.
Can 16-year-olds ride scooters and mopeds?
At the age of 16 you can ride a moped or scooter with an engine size of 50cc or less with a maximum speed of 45km/h (around 27mph). To legally ride on the road in the UK, you’ll need:
- a provisional driving licence
- to have completed a CBT training course
- ‘L’ plates
- tax and insurance for your scooter or moped.
What’s the difference between a scooter and a moped?
The main difference between a scooter and a moped is the engine size. Mopeds have an engine size of up to 50cc, with a maximum speed of around 27mph. Scooters start at 50cc but can go up to 750cc. As they can go much faster, scooters with a larger engine size will typically be more expensive to buy and insure.
How do motorbike license grades work?
Unlike cars, motorbike drivers have lots of different licence categories and grades, which can require different levels of qualification and age limits. Here’s a breakdown of each type:
|Licence grade||Type of vehicle||Minimum age||Qualifications required|
|16||CBT, theory test and practical test|
|Q||Two and three-wheeler mopeds (top speed 25kmph||16||AM Licence|
|A1||Light motorbikes (up to 11kW and 125cc)
Motor tricycles (up to 15kW)
|17||CBT, theory test and practical test|
|A2||Motorbike (up to 35kW)||19||
Direct access route (theory and practical test)
|A||Unrestricted motorbikes||21 (progressive access route)
or 24 (direct access route)
|Direct access route (CBT, theory and practical test)
Progressive access route (two years’ experience on A1 motorbike and additional practical test)
Generally speaking, the more qualified you are as a motorcycle rider, the lower the risk you pose to your insurance provider, which may lead to cheaper insurance.
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