Classic motorbike insurance

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What is classic motorbike insurance?

Classic motorcycle insurance is similar to classic car insurance. A classic motorbike policy protects your bike from theft and damage so you can focus on enjoying the ride. Your motorbike needs to be over a certain age - usually around 20 years, to be eligible. The exact definition of what counts as a ‘classic’ varies between insurance companies, so it’s worth comparing policies to see which insurers are likely to offer you cover.

Whether you’re riding a Triumph, a Royal Enfield or a Harley Davidson, classic motorcycles often need a different type of insurance in place to protect them. This is because classic motorbikes could be more expensive to repair, using specialist parts that might be difficult to find. Some classic bikes could be more valuable than standard motorbikes, making them a more tempting target for thieves.

For specific information on classic motorcycle brands, you can browse our list of motorbike insurance manufacturers.

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.

What details do I need to get a classic motorbike insurance quote?

If you want to get a quote quickly, having these details to hand could 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 add-ons are available for 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 vintage machine.

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 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 taking your bike abroad. 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.

For more information, check out our guide to additional cover for bikers.

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What level of cover can I get with classic motorbike insurance?

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.

What should I look out for with classic motorbike cover?

The specifics of your cover will vary between insurers, but here are some options you might want to consider when comparing classic bike insurance quotes:

  • Consider comprehensive cover. The cost of repairing a classic bike after an accident could be quite high, so many bikers consider comprehensive cover to be the default level of insurance for a classic motorbike
  • Agreed values are also an important aspect of classic motorcycle insurance. Most classic motorcycle 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 discount 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 willing to offer discounted insurance costs. You just need to make sure you don’t exceed any mileage limits you agree to as this could lead to additional charges later on.

How much is insurance for my classic motorcycle?

The average cost to insure a classic motorbike is £229.60*.

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.

*Based on Confused.com data in October 2021 - average policy price for motorbikes aged 20 - 25 years

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

There’s a lot of debate on the definition of what counts as a classic motorbike. To add to the confusion, the criteria for being a classic bike could be as much about the look and feel of the bike as its age.

One way to look at it is when a bike is old enough to be exempt from tax. In this case, a classic motorcycle is anything over 40 years old.

From an insurance perspective, a classic motorbike tends to be around 20-25 years old. You might find some insurance companies offer similar cover to motorbikes that are around 15 years old - so-called ‘modern classics’.

Many motorbike associations consider bikes over 30 years old to be ‘vintage’ rather than ‘classic’. Both terms tend to be used interchangeably, though.

In terms of getting proper cover for your motorbike, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s a classic or a vintage. A classic bike insurance policy should have the right level of cover for you.

What do I need to know about owning a classic motorcycle?

If your classic bike is over 40 years old, there are a couple of advantages.

First of all, you can apply to stop paying vehicle tax on your ride. Depending on how big the engine is, that’s up to £100 a year saved.

And since 2018, classic bikes over 40 years old are also exempt from needing an annual MOT. That’s another £30 a year saved. Your only costs for owning a classic motorbike are:

  • Insurance payments
  • Fuel
  • Upkeep and maintenance costs

But you must still 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.

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

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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