Classic bike insurance

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How old does a bike need to be to be ‘classic’?

There are no hard and fast rules regarding what age a bike needs to be to be considered a classic or ‘vintage’.

This grey area can pose a problem for bike owners when looking for the right insurance cover for their old motorbikes, as some insurers have different criteria for how old a bike is before they deem it a ‘classic’.

Some insurance companies offer classic bike insurance for bikes only 15 years old, while others will only provide a specialist classic policy for bikes over 25 years old. There are also some that offer ‘modern classic’ bike insurance to provide extra policy features to motorcycle owners who want more than the standard cover for their pride and joys.

It is therefore important to shop around and find the right insurance company that offers the best deal for your particular bike – both in terms of cost and level of cover.

For the tens of thousands of classic bike owners in the UK, riding a cherished motorbike is more than just a mode of transport – it’s a way of life.

Whether you favour a 70’s classic or an 80’s Japanese powerhouse, getting the right insurance cover is critical to protect your bike. It’s obviously not your favourite part of owning a classic bike, but insurance is a legal requirement if you want to ride your bike on UK roads.

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What you get with classic bike insurance…

You may think that a standard motorbike insurance policy would be sufficient to cover your classic bike, but the fact is that insurers will only offer specialist classic bike insurance policies to certain bikes. Besides, as a classic bike owner you will likely want the extra benefits that come with a more specialist policy.

Policy features you can expect to find with a classic bike insurance policy include:

  • Low mileage discount
  • Riding other bikes cover
  • Cover for Club meets/rallies
  • Accident and breakdown recovery
  • Free agreed valuation
  • Club member discount
  • Helmet and leather protection cover
  • Spare parts cover

Depending on the type of bike you have and whether it is deemed a ‘classic’, a ‘vintage’, a ‘modern classic’ or a ‘future classic’, there could be different policy benefits available to you.

It is therefore key to shop around the different insurance companies and review what each of them offer before you make a decision.

How to get cheap classic bike insurance

As a classic bike owner, there are many things you can do to help reduce the cost of your insurance premiums.

Low mileage

Classic bike insurance policies tend to have a mileage limit, so if you agree to do less than this mileage you will often be rewarded with a cheaper premium.

Bike security

Installing alarms, immobilisers, tracking devices etc. and keeping your bike in a secure place will go a long way to convincing the insurer that there is a low risk of your bike being stolen.

Agreed value policies

Valuing the worth of a classic bike is not as easy as with a standard/modern bike, so some policies require you agree the value with the insurance company first. This can be done by sending photos and complete details about the bike to the insurer, who then propose the value they will insure it for.

The ‘agreed value’ is therefore the ‘sum insured’ figure, which means it is the amount you would receive in the event of a total loss (write-off).

What bikes can be covered with classic bike insurance?

If you are not sure whether your bike is eligible for classic bike insurance or not, the key question to ask is: how old is the bike?

The general industry rule is that a bike at least 20 years old is considered a classic, however some insurers offer classic insurance for bikes 15 years old.

It’s also key to note the difference between ‘classic’ and ‘vintage’ bikes. Vintage bikes are older than classics, with the general rule of thumb being any bike older 30 years old being considered a vintage. There is a bit of a grey area, though, as the age of some bikes can fall in-between the ‘classic’ and ‘vintage’ age range. It is therefore important to check with the insurance company and get a variety of quotes to see which offers the best rates for your particular bike.

Some of the more common motorbikes that can be eligible for classic bike insurance are listed below (be advised that this list can vary between insurance companies):

  • Honda Super Cub
  • Honda CB77
  • Triumph Bonneville
  • Honda CB750
  • Royal Enfield Bullet
  • BSA A65 Star
  • Vincent Black Shadow
  • Velocette Viper
  • Matchless Silver Hawk
  • Ariel 350 W/NG
  • Triumph Trident
  • Kawasaki Z1
  • Harley-Davidson XR750
  • Kawasaki Triple
  • BSA Goldstar Clubman
  • Moto Guzzi LeMans
  • Norton Commando
  • Ducati 900SS
  • 1950 Norton Manx

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