What is motorbike insurance?

The right motorbike insurance can cover the cost of repairing or replacing your bike if it is damaged or stolen, while riding without it is against the law. Here is what you need to know.
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How does it work?

Motorbike insurance can pay out if your bike is stolen or damaged, or you are involved in a road traffic accident.

It also covers you if you injure members of the public or other road users, or damage their property.

Policies usually last for 12 months, but you can take out temporary cover if you only ride your bike during the summer, or if you hire a bike.

Do you need it?

Yes, it is illegal to ride a motorbike without insurance.

If you ride without insurance, you could face:

  • Fines of up to £1,000

  • Penalty points on your licence

  • Being taken to court

GOV.UK has more information about penalties for uninsured vehicles

What does it cover?

It depends what type of insurance policy you choose:

Third party only

This is the minimum legal level of cover required in the UK, and it covers:

  • Damage to third party vehicles

  • Injury to third parties, including passengers

  • Damage to other people's property

It does not cover damage to your own bike or injury to you caused by an accident. It also does not pay out if your motorbike is vandalised or stolen.

Third party, fire and theft

This offers the same cover as third party insurance, but also pays out if your bike is damaged by fire or stolen.


This is the most complete level of cover you can get. Along with protection for third party damage, fire and theft, it also covers:

  • Accidental damage to your bike

  • Vandalism and malicious damage

  • A temporary replacement bike, if yours needs repairing after an accident

  • Medical expenses following an accident

Optional extras

Most motorbike insurers offer the option to add extra cover to your policy for an additional price, including:

  • Adding extra drivers

  • Carrying passengers, or 'pillion'

  • Helmets and clothing

  • Lost keys cover

  • Overseas use

  • European breakdown cover

  • Legal cover

  • Personal accident cover

What is not covered?

It varies between policies, but the most common exclusions of motorbike insurance include:

  • Bikes used in racing or competitions

  • Theft of your bike if your keys are left in the ignition

  • Theft of your bike by a family member

  • Loss or damage to helmets and protective clothing, unless you have added cover

  • Loss of value following repairs

Check your policy documents for a full list of what your insurance cannot cover, so you understand what you can claim for.

How much does it cost?

The price of motorbike insurance will depend on:

  • Your age and occupation: Young riders usually pay more for motorbike insurance, and some jobs are considered a higher moral risk to insurers. For example, a stock broker will pay more than a teacher.

  • Your bike: The value of your bike, its age, the size of the engine and any modifications you have made will affect the price of your insurance.

  • Your location: The address where you keep your bike will affect the price of cover, due to things like local crime rates and how much traffic is on nearby roads. If your bike is kept in a secure garage, you may get a discount on your premium.

  • Security details: Most insurers offer discounts for additional security devices, like alarms, immobilisers, disc locks and ground anchors. Tell your insurer about any extra security you have in place, so you can save money on your premium.

  • Previous claims or convictions: If you have made any insurance claims in the last 5 years, have criminal convictions, or any points on your licence, you will pay more for your insurance. However, if you have a no claims discount, you will get money off.

You can save money on your bike insurance by using our comparison to shop around for the cheapest policy that offers the cover you need.

How to make a claim

You should contact your insurer on the claims number listed in your policy documents as soon as you need to make a claim.

If your bike has been stolen or vandalised, you should also contact the police and get a crime reference number.

Your insurer can then decide to settle your claim by:

  • Sending you a cheque or BACS transfer

  • Paying for repairs at an authorised garage

  • Covering the cost of replacing your bike

However your insurer pays your claim, they will deduct your policy excess from the final amount you get. For example, if you have a £250 excess and your claim is worth £1,500, you will receive £1,250 from your insurer.

What if your claim is refused?

Ask your insurer for written confirmation of why they will not pay your claim, and check your policy documents to see if the reason is listed under the exclusions.

You can complain to your insurer if you are unhappy with their response. If they have not provided you with a resolution within 8 weeks, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to escalate your complaint.

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