Coronavirus and your motorbike insurance
Coronavirus lockdowns affect every facet of life, and that includes motorcycling. For some, a fresh lockdown as the temperature drops has meant locking the bike away until next year, while for others a new two-wheeled purchase has become the commuter of choice instead of public transport.
We know that motorbike and scooter theft will carry on regardless of lockdown restrictions, even if the lack of people on the street makes it harder for the thieves to blend in. “Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Venice have been busy during lockdown tackling criminals using scooters and ‘PTWs’ (powered two wheelers) to commit a number of offences,” said PC Clem Jones of Operation Venice.
“In some ways, lockdown has been hard for criminals; instead of them being able to mix with the crowd, officers have been able to spot them more easily, making their lives harder.”
But despite this, motorcycle crime and theft has continued to be an issue for many owners as a quick look at motorbike theft groups on social media will confirm.
Ensure you’re insured during the lockdown
With many of us stuck at home on reduced incomes it may be tempting to reduce or even cancel bike insurance but insurers warn that could prove to be a false economy.
“Everyone has to make their own decisions about their finances at this time,” said Robert Balls from insurer Adrian Flux. “But if they can afford it, I’d recommend people retain some cover, preferably their usual level of cover. Although it’s true to say that the number of theft claims has reduced, unfortunately bike thieves have not taken a sabbatical or been furloughed during this crisis.
“You can usually take a policy against just fire and theft risks from a locked garage, which will suit some people. That does remove some immediate flexibility though if you decide that you want to get out on the bike as the opportunity arises.”
Provisional data from police shows a 34% fall in vehicle crime in the four weeks to April 12 (during the lockdown) as thieves find it more difficult to operate.
“The service across the UK currently has an overall absence rate of ten per cent, covering both officers and staff, and not simply relating to Covid-19,” said National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Chair Martin Hewitt.
“With reductions in crime, policing is in a strong, resilient position due to the brilliant commitment of officers and staff and the extra hours of our police volunteers. Our message to the public is ‘keep reporting crime to us – we are still here for you and our teams are working round clock to keep you safe’.”
But bike crime hasn’t disappeared entirely, police in Hertfordshire have seen a spate of 19 reported thefts across the county in just two weeks.
Inspector Nicola Dean from Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Thieves have been targeting motorbikes and mopeds and we are asking owners to take precautions.
“It sounds simple but always lock your bike and set its alarm if it has one. Where possible, try to use a designated motorcycle parking place with a stand and security loop.
“If you have an off-road bike, you can ask the DVLA to register its details (frame and engine numbers) on their systems and police computers for free.”
Is my insurance valid during lockdown?
Your insurance will still be valid in the event of an accident, even if your journey is considered ‘non-essential’ the Association of British Insurers has said.
Last week there was some concern that if you were to make a journey on a bike that was then decided to be non-essential, that your insurance may be void. However a spokesperson for the ABI said: “During lockdown the Government has advised against all but essential travel.
“Motor insurers have relaxed rules around car use for those using it for volunteering purposes or getting to work, if you are using your car for non-essential travel you will be breaking Government rules but you do not risk invalidating your insurance.”
Bennetts, who feature on MCN Compare’s panel of brokers have said: “Insurance is still valid while you’re out on the road, but we urge everyone to follow the guidelines that the government have put in place. In addition, any Bennetts motorcycle insurance customer who is volunteering their time and helping to support local communities are automatically covered while their out on the road during these difficult times without the need to inform us.”
However, it goes without saying that this is not a green light to go for a ride safe in the knowledge that you are covered as not only do you risk spreading the virus but you also risk a fine from the Police.
Can I get an insurance refund if I can’t ride my motorbike?
In the first lockdown, LV offered customers who were unable to work and hadn’t received furlough support a £20-£50 refund against their insurance premium. This applied to their direct car and bike insurance customers.
LV were the only bike insurance firm to offer any kind of refund and this is unlikely to be repeated under the new lockdown rules where those who cannot work from home are being allowed to go to their place of employment.
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Written by, Ben Clarke, MCN Staff writer.
Edited by Sian Daly, MCN Compare content editor.
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