Motorcycle insurance: Getting the right deal

By MCN -

 16 March 2012 14:16

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:

Excess
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.

Restrictions
Track days are a no no, and 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.

Garage
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.

Legal expenses
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.

As well as the initial cost, check what the upper limit of expenses is, most are £50,000, some go to £100,000 so shop around. What is the limit on medical expenses? Is there a 24 hours claims help-line? Who will carry out the repairs? What about free collection and delivery from the repairer following a claim? Is a courtesy vehicle provided when yours is being repaired? Does this cover include repatriation if you have an accident abroad?

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.

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

Convictions
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%.

Security
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 should get you up to 10% off.

Breakdown cover
Some companies offer it as an add-on, some, like Carole Nash, include it as a standard benefit. It should cover the UK and Europe and include home start, roadside assistance, accommodation etc.

Paying in installments
Most insurers offer you the option to pay your premium by monthly direct debit, but you will pay up to 13% more for the privilege.

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.

Salvage
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 them. Mistakes do happen, and most problems occur because we don’t read the paperwork.

 

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