Insuring a motorcycle as a new rider can be a daunting task. Unable to fall back on the usual premium slashing saviours like years of riding experience or a healthy no claims bonus, budding bikers are forced to turn to alternative methods to keep the costs to a minimum.
To help you navigate the confusing world of premiums and excesses, MCN spoke to Managing Director at Principal Insurance, Dave Bowcock, who offered some wise words to help you avoid paying over the odds.
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'Experience is a big insurance influencer'
"Experience, or claims-free experience, is obviously a big influence on the cost of cover. Obviously that’s no comfort to new riders, so the next best thing is to bolster your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) with some advanced training," Dave Bowcock said.
Dave then added: "Another straightforward and sensible measure is to invest as much as you can in insurance approved – Thatcham accredited - security. You could also fit a decent alarm, immobiliser or ground anchor and you could again trim a further 10%."
As well as external security devices, remember to be detailed about where the bike is kept, as features like a locked garage could see the prices drop. Your location could also influence prices, with theft hotspots like London generally generating higher premiums.
Buying an older bike can help
Another measure to consider is buying an older, cheaper motorcycle as your first machine, with classic insurance being significantly cheaper than modern motorcycle premiums.
A classic case in point would be the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit range; cheap, reliable and A2-compliant, this older bike could be the answer to your insurance woes.
You should also consider looking for something with little to no modifications. "If a bike is modified and they either enhance performance or add value, then it may increase your premium," Dave added.
'Declaring mods isn't just to catch you out'
He then went on to say: "Contrary to popular opinion, insurers don’t try and catch you out with mods, but they do expect you to inform them of something which materially affects you or your bike. If you have any doubts ask."
It may also be worth negotiating with your insurer, meaning you could potentially trade off an agreed mileage limit or a higher excess for a lower premium.
It is important to remember though that you must stick to your side of the bargain. Do not say you’ll do 5000 miles and then do 10,000.
When weighing up quotes, you also need to make sure you’re comparing like with like as excesses and benefits like breakdown or legal protection may vary or not even be included.
Finally, Bowcock warns against going to a general insurer, as: "Biking is a specialist market and nothing like cars. Specialist firms tend to offer better cover, value and, crucially service.
"If you need to make a claim you’ll want someone who knows what you’re talking about handling it," Bowcock said.
Have a browse for your next bike at MCN Bikes For Sale.