Things to check in the small print of your motorbike insurance

Published: March 12, 2014


Before committing to your motorbike insurance, it is worth having a look at the policy document to understand the full terms and conditions that you will be bound by throughout the cover period.  Failure to observe any requirements stated could result in nasty surprises later down the track when you want to make a claim.

So, what are some of the things you need to look out for?

Territorial limits

Make sure you understand the geographical coverage of your insurance policy.  Whilst policies automatically include cover whilst you travel  abroad to any country which is a member of the European Union,  not all provide full policy cover without first referring to your Insurer. Check to see if you need to notify them, and if not, how many days are included without referral.   If you require cover outside the EU you will need to refer to your insurer to see if they will provide an extension to your policy.

Carrying a pillion passenger

If you plan to carry passengers, check whether there are any requirements that they must observe under your insurance policy – some policies exclude this cover or allow a discount if you agree not to carry a pillion passenger.

From a legal perspective, the UK Law states that in order to carry a passenger on a motorcycle, the rider must have a full licence for that class of motorcycle and the motorbike must be suitably equipped with:

  • support for the feet of the pillion passenger; and
  • a proper seat that is securely fixed onto the motor bike.

The passenger must be capable of sitting astride the seat on the bike and must also wear a safety helmet.

Bike modifications

If your bike has been modified in any way, either upon purchase or during the period of cover, you will need to inform your insurer of the alterations. Any modification or engine conversion from the manufacturer’s original specifications will be of particular interest.  In terms of other changes they will want to know about, the following is an indicative but not an exhaustive list:

  • changes to the bodywork;
  • changes to the suspension or brakes;
  • cosmetic changes such as changes to the wheels; and
  • changes affecting the overall performance of your bike.

Also any changes which improve your motorbike’s value, attractiveness to thieves should be advised to your insurer.

Things to declare

Insurers usually like to be informed of changes to your personal details as well.  Again, failure to provide them with up-to-date information could lead to your insurer cancelling your policy and them refusing to pay any claim.

The types of information that you will need to tell them about will be listed in the policy, and usually includes changes to the following:

  • your occupation;
  • the use of the bike from personal to business use and vice versa;
  • who can ride the bike;
  • address of where the bike is kept overnight;
  • if any rider on the policy has been declared unfit to drive;
  • the estimated mileage; and
  • any motoring convictions.

Reading the small prints of your policy is a useful exercise.  Apart from the points above, you will also find out any cancellation fees as well as the exceptions to your policy, which will ultimately help you decide whether the cover is right for you.

For a more in depth explanation and quote, speak to one of the professional and friendly Devitt advisors.

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