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How much does my mileage impact my price?
While many riders don't use their motorbike as their main form of transport, they use their car mileage to estimate the bike mileage. Often, it's far less. As you pay less if you drive less, this mistake can lead to you paying more than you need to.
Should I park my bike in my hallway? Will it lower the cost of cover?
Security is one of the biggest problems for motorbike owners, and less secure bikes are more expensive to insure. Ideally keep it inside the house or, if not, in a locked garage. If you can't do this, some insurers won't cover you for theft.
If it has to stay outside, use an insurer-approved anchor lock or security device. This will help reduce your cost, though they can be expensive.
Does it matter if I have points on my licence?
The more points on your licence, the higher the cost of cover. While speeding points remain on your licence for four years, insurers usually check for convictions during the last five years.
How high should I set my excess?
It's worth considering going for a policy with a higher excess (the amount of any claim you need to pay yourself). Many people will find claiming for less than 500 of damage both increases the future cost of insurance and can invalidate no-claims bonuses, meaning it's not always worth making a claim.
So why pay extra for a lower excess? A few policies will substantially reduce premiums for a 1, 000 excess, so try this when getting quotes. The downside of this is if you have a bigger claim you'll have to shell out more, so take this into account.
Does covering helmets and other gear cost extra?
It's unlikely that damage to your riding helmet and specialist clothing will be covered as standard though more and more insurers are giving the option to include these as at an optional extra cost or sometimes for free. Check with your insurers before you buy.
Is it cheaper to pay monthly or annually?
Whoever you insure with, you will be given the option to 'pay monthly' but be careful. What usually happens is that you are loaned the annual cost and charges you interest for the privilege.
Occasional promotions are interest-free, but otherwise the interest rates are usually hideous. So either pay it off in full, or if you can't afford it in one go it's actually cheaper to pay with a 0% credit card for spending and make the same repayments to that.
What do I do if I have special circumstances?
If you haven't got normal circumstances - perhaps you've made a claim in the past few years, have a modified bike or expect to ride 100, 000s of miles a year - tell your insurer. If you don't and then try to claim, even for an unrelated issue, your whole policy may be invalid.
You should also tell your insurer about any changes. This is crucial as it reduces potential problems in the event of a claim, even if it's just your address. Trying to get insurance after you've had a policy cancelled due to a fraudulent claim is very difficult, very expensive and will follow you for the rest of your life.
A change in circumstances includes moving jobs, as insurers believe this can affect your risk. Scandalously, the unemployed often (though not always) pay higher rates for insurance, so tell your provider if you're out of work.