How to shop around for motorcycle insurance


What to consider when shopping around for motorcycle insurance

Motorcycle insurance is a contract, and it’s one that you should tailor to your riding needs, and not just focus on the bottom line. That said, the market is pretty competitive, and a wise and patient rider can zero in on the best overall package as long as you cover all these areas:


The excess is the amount of money that you agree with your insurer that you will pay towards any repairs to your bike in the event of a claim. Policies will come with compulsory and voluntary elements. If you are willing to ‘self-insure’ more of any potential claim by upping the voluntary element of the excess, then your premium will come down.

But be warned – don’t just quote a ridiculously high figure, because if you do have to make a motorcycle insurance claim you WILL be asked to stump up the excess!


Track days can be a no-no for most insurance companies, however there are some on our panel that offer it, give us a call if you need to get track day cover. If you are a courier or mobile plumber, you’ll pay a premium for business use, but a ‘social and pleasure’ policy means you will be covered for commuting.


A bike tucked away in a locked garage is a much better theft risk than one left on the street, and any premium will reflect this. You can even garage it away from home, although the insurer will use whichever postcode carries the highest risk rating and may attach a condition that you regularly check it’s still there, or are the only one with access to the garage.

But check if it is a compulsory requirement, as some insurers exclude cover in that case and the bike is stolen at the home address or within 500 metres of the home/garaging address. Other Insurers increase the standard excess. So don’t leave it on the drive, even for five minutes before you ride off. If it gets stolen you are NOT covered.

It’s a sad fact, but bikers are more likely to be claiming from dozy car and van drivers, so motorcycle legal protection or uninsured loss recovery is a useful addition as your own insurer will not pay your out-of-pocket expenses.

Legal expenses cover will help you get compensation for any injuries, any loss of earnings, recover the excess on your policy, pay for damage to your kit, alternative transport costs and any other reasonable expenses.

Check that the person dealing with any claim will be suitably qualified, and that you can choose the lawyers who act on your behalf if you are not happy with the service you are getting. If you don’t have this cover, and the other party is 51% to blame, then you can still access this cover after the incident.

Changing your policy

Motorcyclists are far more likely to do this mid term than car drivers and there will be an administration charge and an insurer charge to consider if you plan to buy a new bike in the summer.


If you intend to take the bike into Europe how many days a year or per trip? Most policies offer 90 days cover, however, this may change following Brexit. Ask if you have to notify your insurer if you are travelling abroad?


If you have a single speeding offence on your record, most insurers will not apply a loading to your premium, but if you have two or three that could be anywhere between 15% to 25%, although this will depend on how recent they were.

If you have a major conviction like riding without insurance, or dangerous driving, a lot of insurers won’t cover you while others may load premiums by more than 50%, or load your excess by up to 40%.


You should expect to get up to a 10% discount for an alarm, immobilizer, ground anchor or heavy duty lock, but make sure they’re insurance approved before you buy. And don’t expect 40% discount for four devices….

Advanced riding courses

If you have got a recognised qualification like a BMF Blue Riband ticket or ROSPA advanced test, that could get you up to 10% off. Find out more about advanced riding courses by reading our article here.

Cancellation charges

If you do cancel the policy early, you can expect to get anywhere between 75% back up to one month, to just 10% up to eight months.

Total loss

Total loss is where damage to a motorcycle is so significant that the cost of repair is greater than the value of the bike. Some firms will continue to cover you, others will cancel the policy at that point. Check the exclusions.


If your motorcycle suffers a category C or D write off and are handy with the spanners, salvage is a useful benefit for getting a category back on the road. Check the exclusions.

Finally, when you get the quotation back, read it very carefully, checking the agreed value, your NCD, conviction details, registration number for your bike.

If you have any queries, get straight back on the phone to your provider. Mistakes do happen, and most problems occur because we don’t read the Ts & Cs.

Is your bike insurance due? We compare against all the top insurers in one place to give you the cheapest deal possible. See for yourself, get an online quote with MCN Compare (online and over the phone).

Read our next article on multi bike insurance.

Go back to our insurance guides>


Written by Jon Urry, motorcycle journalist for MCN.
Reviewed on 14th February 2019 by Andrew Campbell, MCN Legal Advisor.
Edited by Sian Daly, MCN Compare content editor.