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Paul Drury

Declare your motorbike off the road or keep it insured?

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Keeping your bike off the road over the winter months can make insuring it for a full year seem wasteful. What are the options?

Sports bike

As bad weather sets in, most people will be locking their bikes away until next spring.

However, since Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules were introduced in 2011, you need to have valid insurance for any vehicle that’s not declared off the road, at all times.

This means that if you decide to cancel your cover for winter, you'll have to declare your bike as officially off the road. And then reverse the process again when fairer weather returns.

If you fail to declare your bike off the road, you risk being fined or even having it seized by the authorities.

Declaring your bike off the road (SORN)

A SORN is valid until your bike is taxed, sold or scrapped, and it must be in – and remain in – Great Britain in order for the SORN to be valid.

You can declare your bike SORN on the GOV.uk website. You'll need to know your registration number and the reference number from your V5C, or the V11 reminder reference number.

Apart from being time consuming, declaring a bike SORN also means that you won’t be able to go for that one-off spin you’ll be itching for throughout winter. With this in mind, you may want to consider keeping your policy running instead.

Staying insured

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic

By keeping your insurance policy running, you’ll benefit from the peace of mind in knowing your bike is fully protected against fire and theft wherever it is.

It also means that you can ride your bike whenever you want. That means being able to go out whether it’s an emergency or just a crisp winter’s day, perfect for a ride.

The alternative, driving uninsured, will get you a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your licence. The offence also carries a potentially unlimited fine and disqualification from driving, if the case goes to court.

Being prosecuted for riding without insurance can also make your future insurance premiums rocket, if you can find an insurer that will cover you at all.

Keeping costs down

If you do opt for the annual policy, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.

One common way to keep costs down is to opt for third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) rather than comprehensive cover. However, do your sums first, as comprehensive can sometimes work out cheaper. So shop around and compare different types of policies.

You'll find more tips on how to cut your motorbike insurance premiums in our guide, how motorbike insurance is calculated.

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