Classic bike insurance

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What is classic motorbike insurance?

Classic motorbike insurance is similar to classic car insurance. To qualify as a classic motorbike, a motorcycle must have been originally registered more than 20 years ago, although some insurers will insist on 25 years.

If your bike is more than 30 years old, it may qualify for a vintage motorbike policy. Certain insurers also offer a future-classic bike insurance policy for bikes between 10 and 20 years old.

From Triumphs to Royal Enfields to Harley Davidsons, classic motorcycles often need a different type of insurance in place protecting them. The policies will vary between insurers, but some of the options and extras you might want to consider looking for in a policy include:
  • Comprehensive cover - This level of cover will be of the most use when it comes to carrying out repairs on your bike after an accident. It offers the highest level of protection, and means an insurer will help arrange and pay for repairs to your classic bike if it's damaged. You can read more about the various levels of cover in our guide.
  • Agreed values – Most classic motorcycle insurance policies will allow you to set and agree a value for your bike when the policy starts. Since vintage and classic bike values can vary depending on model, rarity and condition, this is an important figure to agree before the policy starts.
  • Limited mileage discount – Many classic bikes are kept on display or as projects for much of the year. If you don’t ride your bike often, you may find some insurers willing to offer discounted premiums. You’ll just need to make sure you don’t exceed any mileage limits you agree to as this may lead to significant additional charges later on.

Comparing classic bike insurance

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

The things you should consider when taking out classic motorcycle insurance may include:

Riding and insuring a classic motorcycle

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

Firstly, you can apply to stop paying vehicle tax on your ride, and secondly, the bike becomes MOT-exempt. This means you no longer need a valid MOT certificate, and you’re under no obligation to put the bike through an MOT each year.

However, you must still ensure the bike is road-legal, so it must be in a roadworthy state and in good enough condition to pass an MOT. You can be prosecuted if you’re riding a bike which is not roadworthy even if it doesn’t require an MOT.

In addition, your classic bike insurance policy will include a condition that all vehicles driven on the road must be kept in a roadworthy condition. If you are unable to prove that the vehicle was roadworthy when an incident occurs, your claim could be rejected.

Also note - if you’re buying a classic motorcycle from abroad, you’ll need to register your bike through the DVLA as an imported bike. For more information read our guide to imported bikes.

What our expert says:

"A classic motorbike is a thing of beauty, a labour of love."
“And with MOT-exemption and no road tax for bikes over 40 years old, the running costs can be low. Just make sure that you agree a value for your classic motorbike with your insurer to avoid any issues."
“Breakdown cover might also be a good idea…"
Jac Morris motorbike insurance product manager signature
Jac Morris, Motorbike Insurance Product Manager

Confused about motorbike insurance? Read our useful guides:

Advanced rider qualifications

Can advanced qualifications save you money?

How do I SORN my bike?

How to SORN and when you should.

Multi-bike insurance explained

Multiple bikes? Here's how to cover them effectively.

Securing your bike - your options

What security do you need and why?

Making sure you pass your motorbike MOT

Getting your bike through the MOT first time.

Imported bikes - what you need to know

What are the rules on imported bikes?

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