How to cut the cost of bike insurance for older bikers
More and more older people are revving up their motorbikes to enjoy the economy and thrills of two wheel riding, and now make up around a fifth of all motorcyclists.
Over the last decade the number of older bikers on the road has risen and continues to rise.
But could they also be paying over the odds for insurance cover by not comparing enough providers?
Compare motorbike insurance quotes
For many years, riding a motorbike was considered a young person’s game. From Teddy Boys and greasers in the 1950s, through to the scooter-riding mods and Triumph-riding rockers of the '60s and '70s. The iconic image of the biker has been young, often reckless, but always cool.
The thing is that no-one stays young (or cool, sadly) forever. They settle down, get married and have families. At which point they tend to swap two wheels for four, because it’s difficult to carry two kids on the back of a Harley…
But, when the kids leave home and the car no longer echoes with bickering, that itch begins to return. That yearning for the open road, the feeling of the wind in your (thinning) hair, and the roar of the engine between your legs.
'Mid-life crisis' bikers
Others might have come to biking down a different path. Maybe they couldn’t afford it when young, or it wasn’t practical, or their parents wouldn’t let them. But now that they are older, wiser and more mature, things are different.
You’re a bit older and you earn a bit more. You've got lower outgoings since the kids left. You have time on your hands.
You can finally afford that sports bike, that Triumph, or whatever bike you dreamt of in your younger days.
Practicalities of riding as an older biker
Whether you’re new to biking or coming back from time away, you need to make sure you’re qualified to ride the bike you buy.
Make sure you can control the bike you get, that the weight is right for you and that the style of bike fits the way you’re going to use it.
Just because you rode a 750cc bike in your twenties doesn’t mean it’s the right bike for you in your fifties. Make sure you can handle the type of motorbike you plan to buy.
You also need to make sure you’re not paying over the odds for your insurance.
Who pays higher motorbike insurance premiums?
Young bikers are forced to pay a premium for insurance because of their inexperience and the risk of riding a bike.
It's not just a perceived risk. Government figures show that motorcyclists make up only one per cent of total road traffic, but account for around 19 per cent of all Great Britain's road user deaths.
The good news is that older bikers are seen to be a lower risk which makes their insurance much cheaper. From an insurer’s point of view, older people tend to be more careful riders and are less likely to have an accident.
Years of driving will have given older riders more experience with road hazards, and they’ll also tend to be more cautious or have learnt from their past mistakes.
Just remember, riding a motorbike is very different from driving a car - not least the fact you no longer have a protective metal shell around you. Bike safe out there, people.
Specialist motorbike policies
Some insurers will offer specialist policies to older riders, and there are a range of specialist motorbike insurance companies and brokers that focus on motorbike riders.
These include Bennetts, Carole Nash, MotorCycle Direct, Bikesure, and AA Motorcycle amongst others.
The key is to find the right policy at the right price, which doesn't mean always buying the cheapest. Make sure it offers the cover you need, and that add-ons such as breakdown and helmet & leathers cover are available if you need them.
Cutting the cost of cover doesn't just mean shopping for a bargain, but also knowing what you need and finding the best value deal to suit your requirements.
Other ways to cut the cost of cover
If you can keep your bike locked away in a garage, for instance, that can considerably cut the cost of insurance. Theft is one of the biggest problems for bike owners - some 35,000 bikes are stolen each year and only 15% are ever recovered.
If you don't have a garage, it may even be worth renting one. It'll keep your bike safer and reduce insurance premiums, which could make it well worthwhile.
Other security will also help. Fit an insurance-approved lock and alarm, immobiliser or other security device and tell your insurance provider about it.
As an older rider you’re more likely to only use your bike for leisure rather than commuting. Accurately predicting your annual mileage can make a massive difference to your premium.
Another good idea is to complete an approved advanced riding course. It'll cut cover costs but also improve your riding skills.
Courses from organisations such as The Institute of Advance Motorists and the British Motorcycle Federation are widely recognised.
Other than that, you can reduce insurance costs by agreeing a higher excess, or having more than one vehicle with the same insurance provider.