Probably due to the fact that we all hope never have to claim on a motor insurance policy, nobody really likes to pay for it. It is however one of the legalities that goes hand-in-hand with riding a motor scooter in this country, so like it or not we are all obliged to cough up.
However, there are ways to make sure you don't over pay for the scooter insurance you need, so here are a few tips…
Licence and Training
Insurance is based on risk and it stands to reason that an inexperienced rider is likely to have more accidents than one with plenty of miles under their belt. First and foremost pass your bike test and get a full licence. Not only will this reduce your insurance premium but the training you receive along the way should prove very useful too.
If you have passed your test, consider taking an approved advanced rider training course. Again there is the opportunity to learn new skills, but also a number of insurance companies will offer a discount if you have taken certain courses.
The more powerful and expensive the scooter, the higher your insurance premium will be. Not only is there a greater chance of someone crashing a faster scooter, but the more it costs to buy then the more it costs to repair or replace. If you are a novice rider then don't set your sights too high to begin with. Get to grips with riding on a cheaper, low capacity machine and progress up. Different insurance companies will have set ages when insurance becomes cheaper so ask their advice of when is best to sell your 125 and buy something bigger. Equally, classic scooter insurance often applies only to riders of a certain age, along with the bikes too, so check out the qualifying criteria before splaying out on your dream 277cc Maicoletta from the 1960s.
Watch the mods
Aftermarket modifications and accessories can have more than one effect on your insurance. Like a magpie is to shiny things, thieves may be more attracted to a scooter with added bling or go-faster goodies bolted on to it.
Insurance companies will also see certain engine modifications as an increase in risk, especially with regards to tuning your scooter. If you increase your 125cc scooter's performance to that of a 250 then expect to be insured as a 250, or higher.
Higher? Yes. As it is altering the factory specification of the vehicle an insurance company may ask for an engineers' report to prove the mods have been done correctly. They may also refuse to insure you altogether.
Not only that, but if your scooter is stolen and you've not told your insurance company about any extras on it, then they are unlikely to pay for those accessories. This can include anything from expensive suspension to performance exhausts, spotlights and mirrors, rare period accessories, or basic luggage. Note also that a custom paintjob is also worth declaring too, as are an abundance of standard parts you may have had chrome plated.
The less you ride your scooter, so the odds of an accident are reduced. If you only use it for a Sunday rideout on a summer's day then ask about premium discounts for maximum mileage. Some companies even offer special winter insurance when your scooter might be laid up in the garage for a few months and not ridden at all.
Sadly one of the biggest threats today – especially in certain cities – is theft. Some scumbag decides to take your scooter because they are too lazy and low life to get a job to earn the money to buy one, but it is you that pays for the scumbag's crime. Yes your insurance company will hopefully payout but once you've taken into account the vehicle's depreciation, the excess you have to pay towards the claim, and your increased premium for your replacement scooter, then unfortunately it is you that is out of pocket due to the thieving scum's behaviour.
Another sad fact of life is that it is you that has to invest money in making your scooter as difficult to steal as possible, a task that will hopefully go towards reducing your premium a little. Put it this way, a scooter parked overnight on a street in London with only a lock around the wheel will cost far more to insure than one tucked away in an alarmed garage complete with a chain through a ground anchor, even on the same street.
If you'd like to know more about some of the best ways to secure your scooter to motorcycle, check out:
- Motorcycle Security Guide - Secure your Bike
- Scooter & Motorcycle Security: Ten tips to keep your bike safe
- Scooter Security: Apply Datatag Datadots to your Scooter or Motorcycle
- Scooters & Motorcycle Security Tracking
Read the small print
It would be churlish of me to suggest that insurance companies use their small print to wriggle out of paying a claim, but the fact remains that any company uses small print for their zillions of terms and conditions and as boring as this maybe, you really do need to read them to make sure you are covered. For example, if you have stated your scooter is garaged at night, it could mean that if it is parked on your driveway after 10 pm that it is not covered in the event of a theft. You also need to check the amount of excess you are expected to pay in the event of a claim. When getting a quote initially this can be used to reduce your premium. However if the excess you must pay exceeds the value of your vehicle or at least the claim, is it really worth it?
The biggest mistake most riders make is automatically renew with the same insurance company every year. Unfortunately, as the customer you must do the legwork and research the best deal out there. A rival might have an introductory offer that is too good to miss, or a better deal could be had elsewhere by jointing a recognised owners' club. It's worth getting at least three or four quotes every year when your renewal is due, check out the small print to confirm the deal is the same, and don't be afraid to return to your original insurer and ask them to match the deal you found elsewhere.
Finally, do not tell lies
They'll catch you in the end. Trust me. If your scooter is insured as being in a garage that doesn't exist, then the required police report is likely to reveal that. Telling them you live at granny's house in the countryside when you're at the top of an inner-city tower block could also leave you unstuck, as could claiming your partner with a clean licence is the main rider when in fact you yourself use it every day in your profession as a despatch rider! The bad news is that if discovered, the chances of you getting fully paid out in event of a claim are slim if you get paid out at all.