The Basics of Motorcycle Insurance

The Basics of Motorcycle Insurance


With motorbikes being more fuel-efficient than cars, and scooters being the vehicle of choice for food delivery, we're seeing more and more bikes on the road these days. If you're considering joining the two-wheel brigade, here's what you need to know from an insurance point of view.

As South African motorists bear the brunt of radical fuel price fluctuations, many are looking at alternative forms of transport. Switching from four wheels to two is one way to reduce your fuel bill as the average motorbike just about runs on fumes compared to the average car. This trend is borne out in sales figures for 2021, when motorbike sales climbed 26.7% (although that was largely driven by the explosion in home delivery services).

On average, motorbikes are also significantly cheaper to purchase and maintain than cars, representing a lower total cost of ownership. But what about Motorcycle Insurance? Are there aspects to insuring a motorbike that differ from Car Insurance?


What's different about Bike Insurance?

While most motor vehicle insurance companies will happily insure a motorbike, there are some differences in the way bikes are insured compared to cars.

Often, as in the case with some Car Insurance policies, Motorbike Insurance policies might also feature a time of day clauses.

Then, generally speaking, a bike is at higher risk of being stolen or involved in an accident than a motor vehicle. So while the total insured amount (generally the purchase price of the vehicle) may be much lower for a bike than it would be for a car, the premiums can often be similar as the insurer is taking on more risk when insuring a motorbike.

Read more: The Importance Of Having A Tracker Installed

One of the key differences between Bike and Car Insurance is that with motorbikes, the excess is a percentage based on the value of the claim as opposed to a flat rate when claiming for an incident involving a car. This percentage varies from insurer to insurer and is also affected by the risk profile of the client.


What other factors do insurers consider for bikes?

While you can legally ride a 125cc motorbike (or scooter) on just a learner's licence, doing so may affect your insurance premiums and the excess levied in the event of a claim. Generally you will receive a quote for lower premiums if you have a full licence, and your excess will be lower, so it's worth pursuing that full A1 or A0 bike licence.

Learn more: How a High Excess on Your Car Insurance Can Work for You

An additional excess is often levied if it is a single-vehicle incident, that is an incident where the rider crashes on their own, with no other vehicle being involved. Most bikers opt for comprehensive insurance, so if another vehicle is involved, the insurer will cover the 3rd party damages.

Some insurers will add an additional excess to the policy if the rider is under 25 years of age, and this might also negatively affect the monthly premium attached to the policy.


How can bike owners lower their risk?

Riding a bike comes with a unique set of risks, and bikers need to invest in protective gear. This gear can be very expensive (sometimes even equal to the cost of the bike itself) and includes items such as helmets, protective jackets and special boots. Bike insurers allow their clients to insure these items as part of their insurance agreement. A helmet is a critical piece of safety gear that can easily be damaged or stolen, so it's certainly worth insuring.

Some bikers opt to attend special track schools where they can improve their bike riding skills and learn new ones while enjoying the freedom and relative safety of riding on a racetrack. Most bike insurers will allow for some track use of the bike, as long as it is disclosed up front and the rider opts in for track insurance, which will affect the premium.

However, this does not include racing the bike in any competitive way, although some insurers do offer special racing insurance. This is quite a key difference to car insurance as most car insurers explicitly forbid the use of a car on a track under any circumstances.


The bottom line

Motorbikes undoubtedly represent a cheaper alternative for personal transportation, but bike ownership comes with a unique set of risks. But that's where insurance comes in. Compare Motorcycle Insurance with to find a policy that fits your set of risks and budget.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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