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6 things you didn't know motorcycle insurance could cover

Whether you’re new to the motorcycle game, or a seasoned rider, it’s always worth making sure you have the right level of motorbike insurance.

Depending on the motorcycle you own, and how often you ride it, you may need different levels of cover.

Some extras may already be in your policy, so it's worth checking your terms and conditions before paying.

Here are 6 common extras you might want to consider having covered.

Biker wearing helmet kneeling in front of a motorbike


Pillion cover for passengers

If you carry a passenger on your motorcycle, then it’s important to have pillion cover in place.

Without it, your motorbike insurance cover could be void and you could be liable if your passenger is injured.

Most motorbike insurers offer pillion cover. This means your passengers have a similar level of insurance protection to you.

The passenger couldn't make a claim on any damage to the bike, but they could make a claim for an injury caused in an accident.

Pillion passengers could claim up to the policy limits for damage and injuries.

If you want to make sure your pillion cover is valid, there are specific steps to take:

  • Before you head out on a ride with your passenger, make they're wearing the appropriate clothing and protection. This includes a helmet that meets UK safety standards.
  • The motorbike needs to be designed for passengers with a seat and footrests. Passengers should sit facing forwards at all times.
  • Make sure you hold a full motorbike licence to carry a passenger. Provisional licence holders aren’t allowed to carry passengers under any circumstances.

Pillion passengers are treated differently to car passengers. This is because they may have a significant impact on how the motorbike handles.

Motorbike passengers could cause distraction, longer braking distances, and a risk to accidents.


Motorcycle helmet and leathers insurance

Motorcycle equipment, including helmet and leathers, could cost a lot. So you might want to make sure they’re covered on your policy in case they get damaged.

Motorbike insurance doesn’t always include helmet and leathers cover as standard, but you might be able to buy it as an optional extra.

If you buy helmet and leathers cover, it should also cover your boots, gloves and any other protective gear that you use when riding.

If you're involved in an accident, you should be covered for replacement gear up to the value agreed when you took out your policy.

The cost of the policy depends on how much you’re willing to pay and what level of cover you have.

It's good to add up the cost of your protective clothing, including your helmet, to decide what limits work for you.

Whatever you decide, you should shop around to get the best price.

Damaged riding equipment should be easily replaced with this kind of cover. But clothing that's stolen might not be covered, so it's worth checking this.

Theft of motorbike gear may also be covered by your home contents insurance policy. This gives you an extra safety net.

But, there’s usually a home insurance excess to pay and making a claim could affect any no-claims bonus you have on your home insurance.

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Motorcycle breakdown cover

Lots of car owners have breakdown cover to rescue them if they’re stranded at the roadside.

Breaking down on a motorbike could be much worse than when in a car, because you get none of the advantages of shelter from the weather. Or a spare tyre, for that matter.

There are typically 5 levels of motorcycle breakdown cover. These can range from entry-level roadside help to onward journey cover. Onward journey cover helps with transport or shelter while your bike is being repaired.

When choosing your cover, make sure you look out for any exclusions. Common ones include:

  • Road accidents - If your motorbike is damaged because of a traffic accident, your breakdown assistance might not be able to reach you. 
  • Private land – If you breakdown on private land, your assistance might not be allowed onto the property.
  • Poor maintenance – Your breakdown cover provider might expect you to take care of your motorbike and keep it in good shape. If you fail to do this, you might not be covered.

Motorcycle legal expenses cover

While motorcycle insurance should cover you for third-party liability, you may not be covered for your legal costs.

Legal expenses cover, also known as motor legal protection or motorbike liability insurance, could help with this.

Examples of where you can use this include:

  • If you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault
  • Losses from an accident where the other party is uninsured
  • Compensation if you’re injured
  • Excess you might have paid for your motorbike insurance policy
  • Any other legal advice you need

Legal protection insurance offers you an added level of protection. But some policies might include a clause that says the insurer can refuse funding.

This would be if the cost of the legal proceedings is disproportionate to the amount of money you’d recover.


Motorcycle personal accident insurance

Personal accident insurance is an optional add-on. It should cover you for injuries that occur when you’re involved in a motorbike accident.

Insurers usually put a maximum limit on the amount that you can be paid, which can be between £15,000 and £20,000.

A comprehensive motorbike insurance policy should cover for some personal injury.

Check with your provider, or read through your terms and conditions, before considering to pay for this add-on.

If you only have third-party insurance, you don't have cover against personal injury.

Usually you pay one annual fee, rather than a monthly charge.

The types of injuries that your policy covers vary depending on the provider. But you can check for exclusions.

Most policies cover fatalities. But not all insurers offer personal accident cover, so shop around to find a policy that works for you.


Motorcycle insurance for riding abroad

Whether you’re riding through Europe or taking your motorcycle further afield, it’s important to make sure you’re protected. This is in case something happens when you’re overseas.

Basic EU cover tends to be included in UK policies, but you might not be insured to the same level that you are here in the UK.

For example, you may have comprehensive cover here but only third-party insurance on the same policy in Europe.

If you want to have the same level of cover that you enjoy in the UK, you might need to buy abroad cover as an optional extra.

Costs for this might vary. It depends on how often you’re travelling, where you’re going, and how long you plan to be overseas.

You might be able to get cover for riding abroad from your current insurer. Otherwise, you could go to a specialised provider.

You also need to organise transporting your motorbike using a freighting service.

You might also need a Carnet de Passage. This is an internationally recognised document that allows your bike to be imported duty free.

Depending on the country, you may also need to put a UK sticker on your motorbike.

With all these factors, it could end up becoming expensive and time-consuming. A more cost-effective solution could be to hire a motorbike in the country you’re visiting.

You could then take out a travel insurance policy that covers you for riding abroad. 

Of course, this means riding a bike that isn’t yours, which might not be your cup of tea.

It’s worth weighing up your options to see what works for you.