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Classic motorbike insurance

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How old does my bike have to be to get classic motorbike insurance?

Insurers tend to see a bike as a classic once it reaches around 20 to 25 years of age, though some will extend this to motorbikes that are around 15 years old - so-called ‘modern classics’.

If your bike fits this age bracket, you should be able to insure it under a classic motorbike policy.

In terms of tax, as of 1st April 2022, any bike built before 1982 is seen as a classic.

This means that if your bike was built in 1981 or earlier, you won’t have to pay vehicle tax on it.

Bear in mind that you’ll still need motorbike insurance if you want to drive it on the road, though.

Is classic motorbike insurance different to standard motorcycle cover?

Insuring a classic bike is similar to insuring a standard motorbike. You’ll still be able to find cover that’ll offer protection from theft, damage and whatever else you need to be protected against.

Where it might be a little different is in the cost. Classic motorbikes can be more expensive to insure because they’re older and might need a specialist mechanic with access to discontinued parts to fix them.

Classic motorbikes can also be more desirable, which often makes them a target for thieves.

But, aside from the cost, classic motorcycle insurance is similar to standard bike cover.

There are some key things to consider when you’re comparing classic bike insurance quotes though:

  • Agreed values are an important part of classic motorcycle insurance. Most classic bike insurance policies allow you to set and agree a value for your bike when the policy starts. Since vintage and classic bike values vary depending on model, rarity and condition, this is an important figure to agree on before the policy starts.
  • Limited mileage discounts could be worth considering. Many classic bikes are kept on display or as projects for much of the year. If you don’t ride your bike often, you might find some insurers are willing to offer discounted insurance. You just need to make sure you don’t exceed any mileage limits you agree to as this could lead to extra costs later on.
  • Consider comprehensive cover Many bikers consider comprehensive cover to be the default level of insurance for a classic motorbike. This is because the cost of repairing a classic bike after an accident could be quite high.

How much is insurance for my classic motorcycle?

The average cost to insure a classic motorbike is £304.85*.

As well as the age of the bike, there are several factors that insurers use to work out how much you pay for your policy, including:

  • Your age. Younger riders tend to have higher insurance costs.
  • How long you’ve held your licence. The more experience you have, the lower your insurance costs could be.
  • Your bike’s value is another factor. A more expensive bike is likely to cost more to repair, or be a greater target for thieves.
  • Whether you’ve had any claims or convictions. A clean record indicates that you’re a safe rider, which could keep your costs in check.
  • What motorbike security you have in place. Adding immobilisers and alarms reduce the risk of theft, which could lower your insurance costs.
  • Any modifications you’ve made to the bike. Anything that alters your bike’s performance or value could make it an increased risk of damage or theft.

For more information, check out our guide to how motorbike insurance is calculated.

*Confused.com data. Prices based on average premium paid for a comprehensive policy on a motorcycle over 20 years old between Feb and April 2022.

Compare classic motorbike insurance quotes

How do I compare classic motorbike insurance quotes?

Comparing classic bike quotes is quick and easy. We compare up to 38 motorbike insurance providers to find you our best prices.

The process is simple:

  • Enter a few details about yourself and your motorbike. This should only take a few minutes.
  • We compare dozens of quotes in seconds and show you the least expensive policies first.
  • When you’ve found a policy you like, you can buy cover online straight away. You can also add on policy extras such as motorcycle breakdown cover or helmet and leather cover.

If you want to get a quote even faster, having these details to hand should help:

Motorbike details:

  • The make and model of your motorcycle
  • The year of manufacture
  • Where you plan on keeping it
  • Details of any modifications you've made to the motorbike

Personal details:

  • Your licence type and how long you've held it
  • Details of any claims or convictions
  • Your occupation
  • How you plan on using the bike e.g. for commuting or for social purposes

What types of classic motorbike insurance are there?

There are three levels of cover when it comes to classic motorbike insurance:

  • Third-party is the minimum level of insurance you must get to ride legally on the road. It covers other people and property for any damage caused by your classic bike in an accident.
  • Third-party fire & theft (TPFT) also covers you for costs associated with theft and fire damage to your bike. Due to their value and desirability, classic motorcycles could be a bigger target for thieves.
  • Comprehensive cover adds protection for repair costs against damage to your own motorbike, even if the accident was your fault. This is the highest level of protection you can get.

We compare up to 38 trusted insurance companies to get you our cheapest deal in minutes

What add-ons are available with classic bike insurance?

When it comes to your classic bike, buying the cheapest policy might not be your main priority. The quality and features of the cover might be far more important when protecting your motorcycle.

Check what add-ons the insurance provider offers on top of the standard policy. These usually come at an added cost, so think about what you really need. Some common extras you might consider include:

  • Breakdown cover
  • Helmet and leathers cover
  • Pillion cover
  • European cover

Motorcycle breakdown cover could help you if you’re stranded at the side of the road. There are several levels of motorbike breakdown cover, offering national roadside assistance or home start recovery.

Helmet and leathers cover protects your motorcycle gear if it’s stolen or needs replacing after an accident.

Pillion cover adds 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.

European cover could be an option if you’re planning on riding your bike through Europe. You could have basic European cover on your standard policy, but the level of cover might be limited. This add-on could offer additional protections when driving on the continent.

Can I save money by comparing classic motorbike quotes?

Comparing classic motorbike quotes is one of the easiest ways to save money on your motorbike insurance costs.

For the few minutes it takes to enter your details, you then have dozens of classic bike insurance providers to choose from.

This lets you quickly compare prices, letting you choose the exact level of cover you want that suits your budget.

Need more help?

When does a classic motorbike become MOT exempt?

Since 2018, classic bikes over 40 years old are exempt from needing an annual MOT. That’s £30 a year saved.

But you still must make sure that your bike is road-legal. That means it must be in a roadworthy state and in good enough condition to pass a motorbike MOT. If you’re caught riding a bike that’s not roadworthy - even if it’s MOT-exempt - you could face a fine and points on your licence.

Your classic motorcycle insurance policy might also include a condition that all vehicles driven on the road must be kept in a roadworthy condition. If you have an accident and it turns out that the motorbike wasn’t fit for the road, the insurance company could reject your claim.

How old does a motorcycle have to be to become tax exempt?

If your classic bike is over 40 years old you can apply to stop paying vehicle tax. Depending on how big the engine is, that’s up to £100 a year saved.

If you’re buying a classic motorbike from abroad, you must register it through the DVLA as an imported motorbike. For more information, check out our guide on imported motorcycles.

Can you get classic moped insurance?

Yes, you should be able to get classic moped insurance.

You can usually get classic cover on any kind of motorbike, so long as it meets the insurance company’s criteria for it to be a ‘classic’.

If you’ve any concerns get in touch with the motorbike insurance company and check if they offer classic cover for mopeds.

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What our motorbike insurance expert says

Motorbike insurance is essential for a classic motorcycle, not least to protect all the time and effort that goes into them. You’ll need to agree a value for you motorbike with your insurer so there are no nasty surprises if you come to claim. And try to keep it shiny side up and stay bike safe.
Jack Cox product expert signature

Jack Cox

Motorbike insurance product manager

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