As you get more and more miles under your belt, your insurance premiums should tumble – but if your renewal comes through and your insurance company are asking for more than last year, well, you’re not alone.
Premiums appear to be creeping up every year but it’s not just down to inflation and rising motorcycle theft.
Some insurance companies will fight hard to get you in on a lower quote on the first year, then, they’ll hike up your premium and hope you accept it. The fact is, most people can’t be bothered to shop around.
Gone are the days of customer loyalty; it pays to shop around and get an insurance quote from a comparison website, like The Bike Insurer or use our quick motorcycle insurance estimator to check you’re getting value for money.
Regardless of whether you get a fresh quote every year, you can ensure you’re getting the cheapest motorcycle insurance by following these handy hints.
Most insurance companies will offer you the option to pay your premiums monthly. This may seem gentle on your finances, but by doing this you could end up paying extra in interest, most credit agreements will end up costing you around 20% more than if you pay upfront. If you can afford to do so, pay your premium in one go to help save those extra few pounds.
One of the most important things to consider when buying and insuring a motorbike is where to keep it when it is not on the road. If you have a garage, a lockup or other secure, off-road storage unit, your premiums will be up to 40% cheaper.
There are lots of comparison websites out there and they are often the best way to quickly get a cheap motorcycle insurance quote.
Well-known brands like MoneySupermarket actually use the quoting software provided by The Bike Insurer, so you might as well go direct.
Insurance companies love safe riders and taking an advanced motorbike training course could in turn help to lower your premiums. Two of the most popular ones are the IAM and RoSPA.
The IAM’s Skills For Life course costs around £150 and involves group rides, classroom sessions and observed rides.
RoSPA’s course prepares you for the Advanced Riding Test and costs around £60 and takes around 5 sessions to complete.
You can expect around a 10% discount on your premiums, not to mention the benefit of more riding experience.
The harder your bike is to steal, the lower your premiums will be – in theory. Adding proven anti-theft measures like ground anchors, immobilisers and bike locks can help to keep costs down, as can trackers and secure storage.
Most insurers will recognise security products and offer around a 5% discount for a quality security chain and ground anchor or a tracker as these prevent theft and improve the chances of a stolen bike being recovered, meaning you’re less risky to the insurer.
Keep your premiums down by keeping an eye on how many miles you are doing each year. Before you reinsure your motorbike, go the Government’s MOT check website and look at the mileage you’ve actually done each year. The lower your annual mileage, the more likely it is that you will pay less.
Increasing the amount you pay in the event of a claim can dramatically reduce your premium. Of course, should the worst happen, this will mean that you will need to find more money upfront before your insurance cover kicks in.
However, for many safe and experienced riders who live in or close to city centres but keep their bikes secure and back themselves not to have an accident, it’s the only way they can get a sensible insurance quote.
Every insurer has their own rules on how much discount they offer for every year you’ve not made a claim – it averages at around 8% each year over 5 years.
So if you haven’t made a claim in the past 5 years, you could see a 40% reduction in your premiums.
You can easily experiment with our 1-minute motorcycle insurance estimator tool – just enter your details and play around with the number of years NCD to get an idea on what reductions you could get.
So if you’ve had a little prang, it isn’t always a good idea to claim. If you’ve caused some damage to another vehicle, it could be worth settling it before it turns into a claim.
Likewise, if you’ve dropped your bike on the driveway, by the time you’ve paid your excess and messed around with a claim, you’ll have affected your premiums for the next few years when you could have bought some second-hand parts off eBay, sorted it out yourself and kept your NCD intact.
Every insurer will differ on the type of no claim bonus they offer, but if you are lucky enough to have a NCB, be sure to mention it and if you change insurer, make sure you ask them for your NCB certificate.
Modifying your bike, or buying one that has already been fettled, will boost your premiums.
A modded bike is likely to say you’re that type of rider, make it more attractive to thieves and possibly more expensive to repair.
Imported motorcycles can also suffer from higher premiums. If you want to keep your costs low, keep your bike in the same state it left the factory.
Roughly 50% of your premium is dictated by who you and and 50% by what bike you’re insuring. If you’re trying to insure a £5,000 R1200GS or a £16,000 R1200GS, guess which one is going to cost more to insure?
So it pays to be smart with the bike you’re buying. You might be tempted to take advantage of a finance offer and get a new bike, let’s say a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 for commuting and the occasional bit of touring – but it’s a £10,000 bike. Compare that to a 2012 V-Strom 650, which is worth £3,500. Not only will the 650 do a great job, it’s cheaper to buy and it’ll be cheaper to insure.
Using our motorcycle insurance estimator tool, we reckon a 30-year old rider, with 3 years experience and living in a Leicester postcode would be paying £800 a year fully comp on the 1000 but £440 a year on the 650.
If you are likely to have additional riders on your policy, think about how this will affect your policy before you commit.
A younger, more inexperienced rider, for example, could increase your premiums, while an older rider with many years experience behind them could help to lower them but at the risk of the experienced rider losing their NCD if a claim is made on the policy.
If you commute on your bike a handful of times a year, you might not be getting value for money. If you have the right policy to cover you for commuting, your premium will be calculated based on you commuting every day, even if you only commute a handful of times over summer.
Consider whether you need Commuter cover and whether you can forego those occasional (and enjoyable!) sunny motorcycle commutes to keep your premiums down.
As above – if you very rarely take pillions, consider whether it’s worth paying a premium to have pillion cover. Of course, if you don’t have pillion cover and you do take pillions, you won’t be covered by your insurer in the event of a claim but if you rarely take pillions, change that to never taking pillions and get a cheaper motorcycle insurance premium.
It used to be the case that Third Party Fire & Theft (TPFT) or Third Party Only (TPO) motorcycle insurance was around half the cost of the equivalent Fully Comprehensive policy, but that’s not always the case.
Often TPFT and TPO can work out more expensive because when you use an insurance comparison website, it queries a panel of insurers and a lot of motorcycle insurance companies won’t compete for TPO or TPFT policies.
So instead of getting a quote from 30+ insurers, you might only get quotes from 7 and it’s this lack of competition that means your premiums won’t be as attractive.
So if you’re a TPO kinda biker, check out a Fully Comp quote to compare the cost difference. You might be surprised.
It can be nice to have 150+bhp but how often do you use it? A smaller, less powerful bike will cost you less to insure than a supercharged beast like an H2SX.
Insurance companies factor in the cost of parts as well as the outright power of a motorcycle. If you really fancy that 1200cc adventure bike when you know deep-down the 800cc version will do the job just as well, it doesn’t make sense to pay more to insure the more powerful bike.
Easier said than done, I know.
However you can use technology to help you keep your licence squeaky clean. Smartphone apps like GPS app Waze can warn you of police or speed traps in real time. Grab yourself a Bluetooth motorcycle headset, hook it up to Waze and stay one step ahead.
Also, make sure you keep your tyres in good nick and your bike road legal. You can get 3-points on your licence for each tyre that’s not road legal, so don’t go penny-pinching on tyres as it could cost you a lot more in insurance premiums.
Motorcycle theft in London is an epidemic and some experienced bikes are struggling to insure motorcycles that they had no problems insuring 5 years ago.
The theft problem is so bad, many insurers have pulled out of the motorcycle sector as they have lost too much money. Less competition between insurers = higher premiums for us.
However, for some bikers facing £1,500+ premiums, it could be worth renting a garage. The annual cost of a single garage (around £800 a year in London) will not only help you reduce your premiums but for some bikers it makes the difference between them being able to get insurance or not.
See if you can find another local biker to share the garage with you, split the cost and gain a new riding buddy.