Just bought your first set of wheels? Whether your ride of choice is a cruiser or stripped-back naked, a tourer or simple scooter, you need to take out bike insurance before you can enjoy the freedom of the open road.
The latest report* from the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) shows an increase in the number of riders passing their tests, as well as the number of bikes being sold in the UK. There were 34,600 test passes in the 2014/15 period; an increase of over 4,000 on 2013/14 figures. Motorbike sales were also up 15.8% compared to the first eight months of 2014.
Why the increase? Ask anyone who rides and they'll tell you traveling by motorbike isn't only convenient, but also a lot of fun. Depending on your machine, motorbikes also cost less than a car to run and maintain. For many people on a budget, it's a no-brainer.
Finding affordable insurance can be tricky if you've recently passed your test, especially if you're a young rider. Insurance providers will consider you a higher risk to insure due to your age and lack of experience, and they offset some of this risk by raising the price for cover.
Young bike riders in particular are involved in a notably high number of accidents. In 2013, data from the Department for Transport (DfT) shows male riders aged 16-29 accounted for 43% of all serious and fatal incidents, despite representing just 20% of distance travelled. Young female riders, for their part, accounted for 42% of all serious and fatal accidents, though they made up just 1.4% of distance travelled.
While there's nothing you can do about your age, there are things you can do to increase your chances of finding a good deal on your bike insurance. These include:
Not bought your first bike yet? While there's a great variety of makes and models on the market, many of them won't be suitable as a first bike. You need to pick a machine that's right for your needs and level of experience. So before handing your money over, check out these top tips:
First things first — you need to consider how you're going to be using your bike. For instance, if you plan to commute on it five days a week, you'll want it to be comfortable and economical. Read our guide on bike types for more information.
You might be tempted to buy a super-quick sports bike, but it's highly impractical for a new rider. Not only that, but you'll find it difficult — perhaps impossible — to find a company who will insure you.
Start small and work your way up. You can upgrade in a few years' time when you've developed your skills and have more riding experience under your belt.
A lot of new riders crash or drop their bikes during the first year, so it might be best buying a second hand machine that's in good condition. New bikes have the backing of a manufacturer's warranty, but you'll be more upset if you put a dent in the tank.
If you're buying a used bike, it's worth spending a few pounds to carry out a thorough history check, using a service like hpi check. That way, you can be sure the bike you are buying isn't damaged, a write-off, or owed on finance, for instance.
Are any of your friends or family keen motorcyclists? If so, ask them to join you when you view a bike. They'll be able to check the bike over and spot any underlying issues, and they'll know what questions to ask the seller.
Riders come in all shapes and sizes, and so do bikes. You might have your eye on a certain model, but there's a chance it might not suit your body shape. That's why it's vital to test ride any bike you're considering buying.
If you're looking for quality first time bike insurance for a price that won't break the bank, look no further than Hastings Direct. We reward customers for safe and responsible riding, meaning we'll knock money off your insurance for every year you don't make a claim.
No two riders are the same, which is why we offer a range of optional extras you can add to your policy, such as personal accident and breakdown cover.
* This report is no longer available. There are more recent reports at the MCIA.