Like it or loathe it, you can't ride your ST1100 without motorcycle insurance!
The requirement to have insurance is pretty much world-wide. Some countries include a third-party insurance as part of the vehicle's licence fee. In 1930, a law was introduced in the UK requiring every person who used a vehicle on the road to have at least a third party personal injury insurance. Today the Road Traffic Act of 1988 (Amended 1991) requires that users of motor vehicles (including motorcycles) are insured against their liability for injuries to others (including passengers) and for damage to other persons' property.
Types of motorcycle insurance
This is liability cover which is purchased by the person or entity insured <<the first party>>
from an insurer <<the second party>>
which provides protection against the claims of another person or entity <<the third party>>.
The party of the first part is responsible for its own damages or losses whether caused by itself or the third party. Now if the first part of the second party becomes the second part of the first party, you may end up in a Marx Brothers sketch.
Er, where were we? Oh yes, third party insurance. It's not necessarily the cheapest option - it can actually be more expensive than comprehensive cover.
Third Party Fire and Theft
Also known by its initials, TPFT, this type of insurance offers the protection of Third Party as detailed above, and also covers your own vehicle if it gets stolen or is damaged by fire. This can be a good option for cheaper vehicles, but be warned - you're not covered if you're involved in an accident.
A fully comprehensive policy gives you the cover provided by the options above, plus cover for yourself and your vehicle in the event of an accident. Now it's unfortunately a fact of life that no fully comprehensive policy will cover every eventuality - but it is the most complete form of insurance available. There are of course optional extras available, such as breakdown cover, but obviously these add to the cost of the policy. This level of insurance is often seen as the costliest option but in the long run it can often work out to be the cheapest.
It's important to read the small print when taking out a motorcycle insurance policy, so that you know what is covered and what isn't. Also check out the excesses in order to compare policies effectively.
The "purchase price" of the insurance policy. Can be paid monthly or annually - usually the annual option is cheaper.
This is the minimum amount you will need to pay when you make a claim. Different insurance companies have different compulsory excesses.
In order to reduce the insurance premium, the insurance company may offer you the option to pay an excess IN ADDITION TO the compulsory excess. Because a bigger excess reduces the risk carried by the insurer, the premium can be lower.
Compared to cars, motorcycle insurance may have lower property damage premiums (because the risk of damage to other vehicles is minimal) but higher personal injury or liability premiums.
No Claims Discount (NCD)
Also known as "No Claims Bonus". Measured in years, it's simply the number of years for which you have been insured without making a claim. Put simply, the greater the number of years that you haven't claimed, the lower your insurance premium will be when you renew the insurance.
Caveat: There is also a "Protected" No Claims Bonus, which costs slightly more - this means that even if you do make an insurance claim, the insurance company will pretend you didn't.
I found out (to my cost) that whilst I thought I had a Protected NCB, it wasn't. I was the victim of a "joy-rider" a few years ago - this is the term for someone who steals a vehicle just for the pleasure of driving around in it for a bit before crashing it or setting it on fire. My Land Rover was parked outside my house whilst I was at work, and when I returned home I noticed the rear bumper was a bit bent, and the quarter panel was torn open. Radiator coolant was everywhere, and the culprit had abandoned the stolen (wrecked) Ford. To cut a long story short, I claimed for the Land Rover repairs on my insurance, but the following year my premium was much higher. When I complained, I was told it was a "No Claim" bonus, not a "No Blame" bonus. So read the small print!
If you're looking for motorcycle insurance, it pays to shop around. It's worth checking with as many providers as you can - see the links below. Online automobile insurance rates can vary from company to company. Why mention car insurance? Because some of these providers do motorcycle insurance as well. If you know of a good insurer in your country, feel free to let me know and I'll add their details here.
"The UK's Favourite Bike Insurance Specialist"
The first online motorcycle insurance solution that lets you manage your insurance policy in your own time. No call centres or automated phone lines. Their comprehensive policies come complete with Legal Expenses Insurance and Breakdown Cover.
I personally use this broker.
This site has an online comparison tool for the USA.