The Importance of Motorcycle Insurance
So you’ve got yourself a bike. You probably spent more than you intended on the beast and before you can throw a leg over your Hog or Moped the question of insurance needs to be addressed.
Do I need it? Why do I need it? What if I don’t bother? What cover do I need if I do? Where do I get it & what do I look for? and how do I bring the price down?
So why should you buy insurance when there are probably people out there who just don’t bother and chance it day to day? Well, the fact remains that if you intend to ride a bike on UK roads it is your obligation to be insured, the UK government website https://www.gov.uk/legal-obligations-drivers-riders States:“Before you drive or ride you have to do several things – these include getting a driving licence, registering your vehicle and making sure it’s insured, has a tax disc and an MOT.“ So to keep yourself legal you must have insurance, it’s that simple.
So what if you don’t buy insurance?
Well then you fall foul of the law and the law takes a dim view of uninsured riders. Firstly if you get caught the fines and costs will be expensive and probably more expensive than the policy you didn’t buy. You’ll also get a driving conviction which puts up any future premium costs when they ask you that natty little question at renewal time “Any claims or CONVICTIONS in the past five years?” if you lie to this it’s fraud, your insurer can invalidate your insurance and your back to square one.
Who’s going to know if you don’t have insurance? Apart from the obvious Police Patrol cars all liveried up and sporting a nice hi-tech ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera on the roof there is always an unmarked police vehicle with one hidden in the grill or bumper, not to mention the camera’s in overhead gantries on motorways and bridges feeding live data to the nearest Police car. This is not fiction this is life today, if you’re spotted you will be pulled over and your bike will be confiscated on the spot.
You will come under section 165 of the road traffic act and that means a fine, points and you also have to pay to get your bike back from the Police agent that removed it. Currently costing £150 removal & £10 a day storage. But you can only get it back when you prove you have insurance, so you will have to answer the ‘claims & CONVICTIONS’ question and you guessed it, pay the price of not having insurance in the first place.
Over recent years the government has had to take action due to the spiraling costs created by uninsured drivers so whenever they can catch one they will. The tools are readily in place for Police to remove your bike from your possession & if you don’t claim it back in 14 days it’s theirs to sell or crush as they please.
If you’ve read this far you know insurance is not only an obligation, it makes sense. Plus it protects your investment in your two wheeled transport.
What do you get from insurance?
This depends on your cover level. Third party insurance is the legal minimum. This means you’re covered if you cause an accident causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. It doesn’t cover any other costs like repair to your own vehicle or any medical expenses or costs incurred by you.
You can add Theft to this cover should your bike be stolen or you can step up to Fully Comprehensive cover which is the same as Third Party but additionally covers you for some or all of your costs following an accident. Different insurers have different levels to their Fully Comprehensive cover so it’s best to check when comparing policy’s.
Where do you buy your insurance?
Get prepared, this is no five minute job if you want the right policy at the best price. A couple of hours could save you possibly hundreds of pounds which is a good hourly rate! So what you need is the internet, a phone, some paper and pen plus all your details to hand. Get comfy…
Searching the Net:
Type ‘Motorcycle Insurance’ in your search box and you will be presented with a deluge of sites. To save time go for the big guns you know off the telly first. You know the annoying opera singer one, the animated ladies in the bouncy car, etc etc. These ‘screen scraping/comparison’ web sites fire your info off to loads of insurers and you gets loads of results back and quick. Some overlap the same insurers but so what, you have covered a lot of ground and fast.
Try your bank, then try motoring organisations like the AA, RAC and also the big insurers that don’t appear on the comparison sites like Direct Line & Aviva.
If there is an owners club for your bike find out if they have a tie with an insurer, the saving may offset the membership of the club so you get cheap insurance and a new set of friends!!
The motorcycle press, MCN, RIDE magazine, Bike Magazine all carry adverts with this months current insurance offers in the back pages, try them all. Re-boil the kettle and settle back in.
Don’t forget your local brokers, many like to build local business so try www.biba.org.uk
Options & Features:
While taking note of the best deals based on price it’s important to pay attention to the other details like the voluntary excess to pay in an accident, legal cover, personal injury cover, breakdown cover. Can you take a pillion? Is your mileage restricted? Can you commute or does it just cover social riding? Keep a note of all this and pretty soon some contenders will bubble to the surface of your scribblings.
There’s no avoiding this. A cost is involved. So what can you do to get that premium down? Firstly theft is a major factor on any policy and bikes are easily stolen. A £100 chain may save you £40 on your premium, every year, so a wise investment. Ground Anchor’s and even bike covers can reduce your premium. Keep your bike out of site and locked down as much as you can to make those insurers less jittery about covering you. A garage will obviously lower premiums. Next keep it standard, I know we all love loud cans and bling screens and bobbins to personalise our steeds but the insurance gods think we want to show off and that includes our riding styles so they judge us to be careless and reckless and will punish us financially.
What ever you do when applying for insurance be honest. Not just a bit honest but totally honest. Insurers are gambling that they won’t have to pay out and if you throw your bike through someone’s hedge and home and the insurers find out it’s not quite the same bike they insured because it now has modified brakes a trick exhaust and remapped fire breathing ignition modules they may choose to walk away and leave you with the full financial burden of your accident.
Haggle, haggle, haggle:
Pick your best quote and then call the insurer offering the second best price. Tell them the price you’ve been quoted by the best so far and you will find that if they want your business they will beat it. If they don’t they don’t! If they do….call up the first one and tell them the price you’ve been quoted by No.2 and see what they say…you see where this is going? This works!
And there’s no harm in asking is there.
OK so now you’ve chosen your insurer and you know how much it’s going to cost but do you pay in one hit or over time?
If you pay over time you may be stung for extra admin fees over the term of the payments. If you accidentally miss a payment (as all too often happens because there are insufficient funds in an account) your insurance could stop immediately, without notification and it’s your responsibility, not your insurers, to make sure you’re covered. Even after a missed payment and a lapsed policy some insurers will continue to take a payment the next month when the funds are available even though your policy has stopped so you could be caught with no insurance despite the fact you’re still paying. Be warned!
If you choose not to insurer your bike as you’re not riding it, make sure that you declare it SORN if not, you could get a fixed penalty of £100, have your vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed, face a court prosecution, with a possible maximum fine of £1,000. Fortunately it’s free to declare SORN.
For up to date information on motorcycle insurance visit https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-insurance/overview