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50cc motorbike insurance

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Do I need 50cc motorbike insurance?

Yes, you do need insurance to ride a 50cc motorbike on the road, even if you're 16 and don't hold a full driving licence yet.

If you have a 50cc dirt bike or motocross bike that’s intended for off-road use, you can insure it to use on the road. Just make sure you tell your insurer about any modifications, as they can affect your cover. And be sure it’s roadworthy, with the necessary mirrors, lights and tyres.

The levels of insurance available for 50cc mopeds and motorbikes

When you’re buying insurance, you need to decide which level of cover to choose. It's worth shopping around and comparing moped insurance prices to make sure you get a good deal for the level of cover you choose. Remember, cheapest isn’t always best.

You have these 3 options:

  • Third-party only: This covers the costs payable to other people or vehicles involved in an accident, but none of your own. This means you have to pay for any damage to your motorbike.
  • Third-party, fire and theft: This offers the same level of cover as third party only, but with additional cover if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by fire.
  • Comprehensive: This is usually the highest level of cover available, and should pay out the cost of any damage to your vehicle. It also covers third-party claims made against you following an accident.

Legal requirements for driving 50cc motorbikes

One of the most appealing aspects of 50cc motorcycles in the UK, is that you can usually ride one from the age of 16.

Even better, while you do need insurance to ride a 50cc motorbike, you don’t need a full driving licence.

There’s a detailed breakdown of the regulations and restrictions around riding motorbikes in this flowchart from GOV.UK, but in short:

  • Most 50cc motorbikes and mopeds are legal for road use by riders aged 16 and over in the UK
  • The minimum legal requirement to ride a 50cc motorbike is a provisional licence and completion of the CBT
  • You need to display L plates on your motorbike until you reach 17 and complete the practical and theory riding tests to get your motorbike licence.

These requirements aren't strictly limited to 50cc motorbikes, though. The government says these restrictions apply to 'mopeds with a speed range of 25-45km/h' (roughly 16-28 mph). As long as your motorbike conforms to that speed limit, you don't necessarily have to have a 50cc engine.

What our motorbike insurance expert says

"One of the biggest expenses associated with motorbike riding is your annual insurance cost. Lots of things can affect how much your insurance is, like your age, experience and whether you have a full licence. If you've only recently passed your compulsory basic training (CBT), your insurance could be relatively high. Spend some time getting your full licence and you could see your costs come down."
Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
Motor Insurance Expert Confused.com logo

Find the right cover for your 50cc motorbike

Can you ride a 50cc motorbike on a car licence?

If you have a full driving licence you might be able to ride a motorcycle up to 50cc without using L plates and without taking the CBT test. The precise rules depend on when you passed your driving test.

You can read the regulations in full on the GOV.UK website, but in short:

  • If you passed your driving test before 1 February 2001 you can ride a motorbike up to 50cc without L plates. You don’t need to complete the CBT course or take a moped test.
  • If you passed your driving test on or after 1 February 2001, you need to complete the CBT before you can ride a 50cc motorbike without L plates.
  • If you have a provisional licence, you need to take the CBT. Then you can ride a 50cc motorbike with L plates until the CBT certificate expires.

Optional extras to enhance your cover

It's worth considering extra cover to your standard insurance, such as:

  • Motorcycle breakdown cover, which provides you with roadside assistance if your motorbike breaks down. Other levels of cover are usually available, including nationwide recovery, onward journey and home start.
  • Helmet and leathers cover, which protects your motorcycle gear if it’s stolen or needs replacing after an accident.
  • Pillion cover, which gives extra protection for your passenger if they’re injured in an accident. You still have to make sure they’re wearing protective clothing and a helmet.
  • Personal accident cover, also known as personal injury cover, which gives you or your family financial support if you're injured or die in an accident. Levels of cover vary between insurers.

How to get cheaper insurance for a 50cc bike

There are a few things you can do to get cheaper insurance for your 50cc bike:

  • Shop around: Compare providers with Confused.com to find the cover you need for the best price.
  • Pay annually: You should pay less for your motorbike insurance if you can pay the cost as a lump sum rather than monthly instalments. This is because monthly payments often include interest.
  • Increase your excess: This is the amount you pay if you need to make a claim. But it’s important to make sure the amount you choose is affordable if you do need to claim.
  • Check your mileage is accurate: If you overstate your mileage, you might end up overpaying for your insurance. Try to make the figure as accurate as possible, and if your usage changes, let your insurer know.
  • Improve your security: Ideally you’ll store your bike in a locked and secure shed or garage when it’s not in use. But if you don't have that, you could invest in some motorbike security methods, like D locks, alarms or immobilisers.

Read our guide for more ways to get cheaper motorbike insurance.

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Page last reviewed: 11 September 2023

Reviewed by: Louise Thomas

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