Any vehicle that is to be driven, or even parked on public roads must be insured, by law. On this page you will learn about the three main types of bike insurance, what can affect your premium and how you can get the best deal.


Types of insurance

There are three types of motor insurance, each offering you cover for different things but also differing in price:

  • Third Party – The most basic form of insurance and the legal minimum amount of cover you can have. This level of insurance will only cover injury caused by you to another person and/or damage to their vehicles, property and animals. Third Party insurance does NOT cover your own injury or repair costs and as such is the cheapest form of insurance available.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft – This level of insurance offers the same cover as third party but also covers your own vehicle in the event of fire or theft only, not including fire as a result of an accident that is your fault.
  • Fully Comprehensive – Commonly known as ‘fully comp’, this is the most expensive form of insurance available but offers the most cover. Fully comp will cover your costs as well as a third party’s in the event of an accident.


Factors that affect premiums

There are numerous factors that can affect the price you pay for your bike insurance, including a few that you can use to save you money on your premium:

Age – New and younger riders are considered a greater risk to themselves and others, and therefore will receive higher premiums.

Insurance group – All bikes are placed into insurance groups, ranging from 3 to 17. Motorcycle insurance groups are more informal than car insurance groups and as such each make and model of bike can vary in insurance group from insurer to insurer. Generally, the higher performance the bike is, the higher the insurance group and therefore the more expensive the premium will be. Mopeds will sit at group 3, whereas superbikes will be located at the far end of the scale at group 17.

Value of the bike – The value of your motorcycle may affect your premium, if you are learning or simply want to save money, a second hand bike is a sure way to reduce your premium.

Modifications – Modifying your bike with after-market parts will almost certainly increase your premium, sometimes doubling or even tripling it, depending on the modification and insurer; fitting sports exhausts, high-flow air filters and other performance parts will place you in a demographic that is considered more at risk than those who prefer to keep their bikes stock.

It may be tempting to neglect to mention modifications to your insurance company, but beware – if your bike is found to be modified and you haven’t declared, your insurance will be voided and you could potentially face prosecution.

No-claims discount – A no claims discount is earned for every year you are insured and do not get into an accident in which a third party must claim on insurance against you. This discount increases year by year, and by the end of the forth year most insurers will grant you a ‘protected no-claims discount’, meaning that you will not lose your bonus if a claim is made against you.

You do not have to stick with one insurer for consecutive years to collect no-claims discount! Simply keep your insurance renewal forms as proof your number of years without claiming and send them to your next insurer when they ask for proof of no-claims bonus.

Voluntary excess – When buying fully comprehensive insurance, you have the option to specify a voluntary excess. This is an amount of money you will have to pay for your own expenses out of your own pocket before your insurer will pay the rest. Selecting a higher voluntary excess will give you a significantly reduced premium for fully comp, but you will have to foot a large chunk of the bill should you need to make a claim.

Pillion – Some insurers offer optional pillion cover. Foregoing this cover may get you a cheaper quote, but you will not be able to carry pillion passengers.

Address – Your location of residence will have an impact on your quote. Living in the middle of a city will likely result in a higher quote, with rural areas being the cheapest.

Convictions and bans – If you have received convictions or a ban in any other vehicle, you are required to state them when getting a quote. These will drive your premium up in price and in some cases insurers may refuse you outright, so for the best quote, stay legal!

Security – Keeping your bike safe is a great way to reduce your quote. You can do this by keeping your motorcycle in a locked garage and fitting tracker and alarm devices, assuming your bike does not have them already.

Advanced motorcycle training – Taking further training courses like the Enhanced Rider Scheme will give you access to discounts on your insurance.

Renewal – Just because you went with one insurer one year doesn’t mean you have to stick to them. Recently consumer watchdogs have found that you may be charged significantly more for your second year with an insurance company, so before committing to another year, get some quotes from other insurers to make sure you get the best deal.


Price comparison sites

Going through price comparison sites like or will often get you low quotes from discount insurers, but you can often find the same quotes from more well known insurers if you get a quote directly from them. These insurers will often include perks like pillion cover and cover for riding other bikes for the same price as a discount insurer if you get a direct quote.

If however, you are looking for a no-frills, cheap policy, price comparison sites are definitely worth considering.

Picking the right insurer – things to consider

When picking an insurance company, there are a few things you should consider before committing:

  • Dedicated bike insurers – Insurers that specialise in motorcycle insurance like Bennetts or Carol Nash are often a safer proposition than car insurers that offer bike insurance for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are more experienced in the field so will therefore quote you more realistically. Their policies also often come with perks that wouldn’t be available from non-specialised insurers.
  • Value – Don’t pick the cheapest option just because it costs the least. You should look for the best value policy, offering the most cover, lowest excess (if you opt for fully comp) and additional features like breakdown and legal cover.
  • Multi-vehicle discounts – Some insurers, like Bennetts offer ‘Multi Bike Insurance’, allowing you to place multiple vehicles under the same policy, saving money and hassle.
  • Monthly or yearly? – When purchasing insurance, most  good insurers will give you the option to pay either yearly, or in monthly instalments. Paying yearly will be cheaper overall but if you can’t afford the upfront cost, monthly payments are an ideal solution.

Once you have your bike and all the gear you need to take to the roads, you are ready to move onto the final chapter of Motorbike Test HQ guide: Pass!

In this chapter, the Module 1 and 2 practical tests will be broken down and explained, and advice will be given on how to best approach your tests, before and during to give yourself the best possible chance of passing and get you on the road with a full licence as soon as possible!

The Practical Motorcycle Tests In Detail >