Is my motorbike insured? Your insurance FAQs answered

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Motorcycle insurance can be confusing, and at times, frustrating. So, we’ve taken some of the most popular bike insurance questions from, ‘is my bike insured?’ to ‘do I have a cooling-off period?’ and answered them all below.

Is my bike insured if I have modified it?

Some insurers will cover a modified bike but not all and not to the value of the modifications themselves. The most important thing is that you let your insurer know at the start of the policy about any modifications you have, or phone and ask them before making any additional modifications to your bike. If you just took out insurance for a standard bike and then modified it without letting your insurer know, than the simple answer is no, it will not be insured as the bike is different to that of the original policy taken out. Read our full article on modified motorcycle insurance here.

How long does your No Claims Discount remain valid if you stop riding?

The industry standard is two years, but some firms like MCE are able to validate it for three years after your last policy expired. If you are going to take a break from bikes, make sure you get the NCD proof paperwork when your cover expires, because insurers don’t keep those records for long. And keep it safe. To read more about no claims discount, see our article here.

Should I tell companies bidding for my business how much I paid last year, or my cheapest quote so far?

Definitely. That way the sales executive has a price to beat.

If the insurance company pays out, is it on the agreed value at start of policy, or market value at time of claim?

The payout will be assessed at the time of the claim. For a bike less than six months old you should receive a brand new replacement bike, but check your policy. Some brokers do offer agreed values for modified or classic bikes.

Is there a saving to be had if I limit my annual mileage?

There’s little enough time to get out on your bike for pleasure these days, and if you are prepared to limit your mileage you could reduce your premium by 12% according to Bennetts, who are part of MCN Compare’s panel.

I’ve heard that pillion cover can be optional now?

Payouts for pillion injuries are an increasingly common cause of large losses and costs for insurers, so some are offering some extra discount from a basic insurance policy if you don’t get pillion cover.

How is any payout made if the bike is on hire purchase?

The finance company will have first charge on the vehicle, so they will get a settlement up to the value of what’s owed and any amount above this will be payable to you. Though vehicle depreciation means this is unlikely. The maximum pay-out will be the value of the bike at the time of the claim and as the hire purchase company have first dibs, if there is anything left you will get it, but if there is a shortfall you will have to make up the balance. That’s why GAP insurance is in such demand. To find out more about hire purchase and PCP payouts read our full article here.

How can I maintain cover on my bike if I am banned mid-term or I SORN it for the next year or two?

It’s a term of most policies that you must have a valid licence to stay on cover, so unless your policy allows a named rider with a valid licence, you will have to cancel your standard policy. However firms like MCE offer a laid up, fire and theft cover that will protect your bike whilst in storage, useful if you are taking a voluntary break from bikes too.

I’m switching from four wheels to two. Can any existing car No-claims be added to a motorcycle quote?

We don’t know of any, but some insurers do allow you to transfer your bike No claims to a car policy. They obviously think we are better road users if we have a clean record on two wheels….

Do I have a ‘cooling off’ period from the time I agree cover?

You have 14-days from the inception of the policy to cancel. However you will still incur reasonable and proportional administration charges, which will be between £40-£50. However, if something comes to your attention in the policy documents that should have been mentioned during the sales call, like the level of excess or a garaging clause, and you believe it wasn’t. Then you can cancel without any charge, as the sales call has to be recorded and will prove the error.

If I have got a complaint, what’s the procedure?

The insurance industry is tightly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and each firm has to have a complaints procedure that is compliant with FCA rules and regulations. If you aren’t satisfied with the outcome of your complaint you generally have six months from the date of it to raise it with the Financial Ombudsman Service. But you do have to go through the individual company’s complaints procedure first.

If my MOT has elapsed, how does that affect my insurance while riding to the test station?

Provided you are in possession of a valid insurance policy, you can ride your motorcycle to a pre-arranged MOT inspection but having valid insurance is compulsory. There is no specific guidance on the location or proximity of the MOT inspection, but it would be sensible to find a local garage and to take a direct journey there. If your motorcycle fails the MOT, then you will be required to contact your insurance provider to discuss whether your policy permits you to travel from the garage.

Why is my insurer asking if i have an immobiliser fitted?

Any decent broker/insurer should know that they are fitted as standard by the manufacturer to most modern bikes. Some security question options may be limited on an online proposal form, so they may just automate the request as they don’t know exactly what device is fitted. I’m sure a quick call to your insurance broker will sort the issue.

Read our next article on how to get cheap bike insurance here>

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Written by Jon Urry, MCN Journalist.
Reviewed on 27th March 2019 by Andrew Campbell, MCN Legal Advisor.
Edited by Sian Daly, MCN Compare content editor.