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Classic motorbike insurance

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When does a motorbike become a classic?

To be considered a 'classic' a motorbike needs to have reached a certain age.

The age at which this happens differs from insurer to insurer, with some defining a classic bike as one that’s over 15 years old, and others setting the limit at 25 years old. 

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 classic motorbike insurance if you want to drive it on the road, though.

What's the best type of motorbike insurance for a classic bike?

It doesn't matter whether you have an ordinary motorbike or a classic, you still need insurance to ride it on the road.

There are a few types of insurance to choose from that can benefit classic bike owners.

  • Third party
  • Comprehensive
  • Temporary
  • Multi bike

Best for everyday riders

  • Third Party:The minimum level of insurance you’ll need to ride on the road. It covers any damage you do to a third party’s property, but won’t cover the damage done to your own bike.
  • Fully comprehensive: Covers everything third party does plus any damage done to your bike. It’s often cheaper than third party despite covering more.

Best for occasional riders

  • Temporary insurance: Ideal for those who only ride their bike now and again, perhaps in the summer or on road trips. You can take out policies that’ll cover you for as little as 1 hour, or for as long as 28 days.

Best for bike collectors

  • Multi-bike insurance: If you have more than one bike, you might find it cheaper to cover them all under a single policy. This can make it easier to manage your insurance, and could save you money too. It also means the bikes you leave at home are insured against theft while you’re out and about on one of the others.

How much is classic motorbike insurance?

The average cost to insure a classic motorbike is £175.15*.

What you pay is based on a number of factors, but there are plenty of way to keep your classic motorbike insurance costs down.

These include:

  • Adding motorbike security like an immobiliser and alarm
  • Storing your bike securely when it's not in use
  • Using a tracker, so it can be found if stolen
  • Joining a bike club, as some insurers give them discounts

For a closer look at how your motorbike insurance is calculated, see our guide.

*Confused.com data. Prices based on average premium paid for a comprehensive policy on a motorcycle over 20 years old in November 2022.

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What add-ons are available with classic bike insurance?

When it comes to your classic bike, the cheapest policy might not always be the best.

Cheaper policies might cover fewer things, so you'll want to look at exactly what you're covered for before committing.

But if you really like the sound of a policy, but it's missing a few features, you can often add these on.

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 insurance quotes?

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

You'll be able to quickly compare prices, and choose the exact level of cover you want at a price that suits your budget.

Getting a quote is easy and takes just a few minutes.

All you need to do is enter a few details about your bike, including:

  • 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

And a few details about yourself like:

  • Your licence type and how long you've held it
  • Details of any claims or convictions
  • Your occupation
  • If you'll use your bike for commuting or social purposes

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.

We compare up to 37 trusted insurance companies to get you our cheapest deal in minutes

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 motorbike insurance expert signature

Jack Cox

Motorbike insurance product manager

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