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Buying the best motorbike insurance


Bikers come in all shapes and sizes, from the Domino Pizza guy on a scooter to the dirt biker revving up in the woods and along the green lanes. What's good insurance for one might not suit the other - so how do you go about sorting through the policies and finding one that's right for you?



What sort of cover do you need?

First of all you need to think about what style of cover you need. The basic legal minimum is third party only ('TPO'), which covers any damage you might cause to someone else, for instance if you take off a driver's wing mirror or hit a pedestrian. Third party fire and theft adds cover if your bike is nicked, but you're on your own if you crash the bike yourself; and fully comprehensive will cover you for accidental damage, vandalism and other eventualities.

Obviously you get what you pay for, TPO being the cheapest and fully comprehensive more expensive. If you've got a beaten up old bike that's not worth much, you may be quite happy to take TPO - if the bike is trashed a few hundred quid will get another one. On the other hand, if you've spent big money on a new superbike, it will be worth the extra pounds to get fully comp and protect that shiny new beast.

Getting value for money
One of the factors affecting the cost of your insurance will be how you use your bike. Are you a leisure rider, a commuter, or a courier? Will the bike be used for business? (Racing, by the way, is banned by almost all insurers.) The age of the rider, where the bike is kept (a lockup is best, on-street costlier), and spec of the bike also affect your premium, as do any convictions or points on your licence.

Fully comprehensive insurance is often not much dearer than third party cover (it's sometimes cheaper since some insurers won't touch TPFT) and it can include a number of useful extras. For instance, some insurers will offer accident recovery and breakdown assistance, and may even give you use of another bike while yours is fixed. Others will include your helmet, leathers, boots and bags in the insurance - useful since just a Shoei helmet could tie up £250 of your money. So, even if you're a bit short of cash it's usually worth while getting a fully comp quote.

Useful checks

You may need to look carefully at the policy details to find out whether you're covered for riding other people's bikes. European cover is also useful if you want to take a tourer to the Continent for your holiday. And while you're at it, check pillion cover if you're going to be carrying someone on the back - not all policies offer this as standard and you may have to request extra cover.

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