There could be several reasons why you might want or need to cancel your motorbike insurance policy.
You might have decided to sell your motorbike and go for an alternative means of transport before your existing policy is up for renewal. Or your ride might have been stolen or written off and you’re not ready to buy a replacement.
Whatever the reason, how you go about cancelling your cover, and whether you might lose out financially as a result, depends on a few factors. Let’s take a look.
Can I cancel my motorbike insurance?
Yes, you can always cancel your motorbike insurance – no matter how far into your policy you are.
Cancelling right at the start is usually the easiest, as all policies legally have to come with a 14-day cooling off period during which you can cancel without incurring a cancellation fee.
You might have to pay an admin fee though – but this is usually fairly small.
Cancelling outside the cooling off period is a little trickier, and often costs a bit more.
In this case, you may have to pay a cancellation fee as well as the admin fee. You usually only get a pro-rata refund too, meaning that if you cancel six months into a year-long policy, you’ll only get a refund for the remaining six months.
How to cancel motorbike insurance
Fees aside, cancelling your motorbike insurance is easy. You just need to contact your insurer to tell them you want to cancel.
You can do this by phone, although your insurer might allow you to cancel online, via their app or via email too. They normally tell you how to cancel on their website.
Once you’ve stated your intention to cancel, you then have to return your Certificate of Motor Insurance. Again, your insurer normally gives you details on how to do this.
You then have to sign a formal declaration stating your intention to cancel. Your insurer usually needs to sign it too.
Once this is done and the cancellation has been approved, you get a letter to confirm the policy has been cancelled.
If you still own the motorbike, you then either have to reinsure it with a new insurer, SORN it if you’re parking it on a public road, or ensure it’s kept on private property.
Failing to do so could land you with a hefty fine, so make sure not to skip this step.
Is cancelling my motorbike policy a good idea?
While it’s entirely your choice whether or not you cancel your motorbike insurance, it’s not always the smartest move – and there are often better alternatives available to you.
If you’ve sold your motorbike or your motorcycle been stolen or destroyed, and you have no replacement for it, cancelling is likely your best option.
But in some circumstances, it’s not the best idea, and cancelling could mean that:
- You have to pay a cancellation fee
- You lose your no-claims bonus, meaning potentially higher premiums in the future
- You only get a pro rata refund, meaning that you’d have to pay a cancellation fee only to get a few months of premiums refunded to you
- You need to SORN your bike (if you still have it), which means you won't be able to ride it, or even keep it, on public roads
Here are some circumstances where cancelling might not be in your best interests:
If you've sold your old bike and bought a new one:
If you’re cancelling your policy because you’ve sold your old bike and have a new one lined up, your best bet might be adding your new ride to your existing policy.
Most insurers let you update your existing policy to cover a new bike, and although you might need to pay an admin fee to do so, once all is said and done, this may work out cheaper than cancelling your old policy and taking out a new one on your new bike.
The only time when this isn’t likely to be the best option is when a different insurer offers to insure your new bike for significantly less than what your current insurer is quoting. If this new policy works out cheaper than the one you already have - even with the cancellation fee factored in - then going for it is usually a good idea.
Compare quotes now to see just what other insurers could offer you.
If you're storing your bike over winter:
Cancelling your insurance over the winter might seem like a good idea, as your bike is likely getting a lot less ride time. But there are a few drawbacks.
Firstly, without a policy in place, your bike won’t be covered against theft, meaning you’re left to foot the bill if it’s stolen. And even if you’re up on your motorbike security measures, thieves can be determined.
Secondly, popping out for a quick, impromptu ride is off the cards. Without insurance in place, you're unable to hit the road if the feeling takes you. Instead, you’d have to either take out a temporary insurance policy – which means admin, and a pricier-per-day policy compared to a standard one – or a full on annual policy, negating any savings you’d have made by storing your bike over the winter.
So, think about whether cancelling is really worth it before you take the plunge.
What if my motorbike insurance policy is due to auto-renew?
It could be that you want to stop your policy being automatically renewed when the year is up. Perhaps you’ve found cheaper cover elsewhere.
Many providers now extend your cover for a further year (possibly at a higher rate) unless you expressly tell them not to.
If you don’t want to renew, it’s not enough to cancel your direct debit. You have to tell your insurer, either by phone or in writing.
But you shouldn't face any fees for this, provided you cancel before the new policy comes into effect.
Can I challenge the cancellation fee?
As you can see, the potential penalties for cancelling early can be quite significant.
If you think they’re unfairly high – or if you have to cancel because of what you think is a mistake on the insurer’s part – you can complain to the company.
Ask for an address for customer services. When you write, give clear details of your case, including what happened, when, and why you think you've been unfairly charged.
Even if the fees are laid out in the policy booklet, you might still be able to challenge them.
Keep a record of anyone you speak to and any letters you send (and use special delivery so you have proof they've been received).
If the company doesn't deal with your complaint to your satisfaction, you can take your case at no cost to the Financial Ombudsman Service.