How to get the cheapest motorbike insurance

Motorcycle insurance provides financial protection in the event of a motorcycle accident, loss, theft or damage, but it can be pricey. Here’s what you need to know about finding the right cover and keeping costs down.

Do you need motorbike insurance?

If you ride a motorcycle, it’s a legal requirement to have insurance. You must have motorbike cover before you can ride your bike on a public road in Ireland.

You also need a valid certificate of insurance to pay motor tax.

The type of motorbikes that need insurance are:

  • Mopeds & scooters
  • Classic or vintage bikes
  • Sports bikes
  • Supermoto bikes
  • Off-road bikes
  • Choppers
  • Touring bikes
  • Cruisers

Once you have bought your motorbike cover, you’ll receive an insurance disc and a certificate of insurance which has to be clearly displayed on your bike at all times.

You don’t need motorbike cover if you’ve declared your bike off the road.

Do you need a licence to get insurance?

Yes, if you hold a learner permit insurers won’t provide cover until you’ve completed the Initial Basic Training Course (IBT). You must hold a current driving licence or learner permit to drive a motorcycle or moped.

What does motorbike insurance cover?

Motorcycle cover works like other types of insurance; you pay a monthly or annual premium in return for financial cover if things go wrong.

Motorbike insurance policies usually cover riding for social, domestic and pleasure purposes. If you use your bike for business purposes, for example as a courier or for fast food delivery, you may need a different type of cover.

It’s important that you disclose any business use with your insurer so you don’t void your policy in the event of a claim.

Levels of motorbike insurance

You can choose from three levels of motorbike cover:

  • Third party: This cover is the minimum required by the law. It insures you for damage to others or their property. It won’t cover theft, motorbike repairs or any medical expenses.
  • Third party fire and theft: This offers the same protection as third party with added cover for fire or theft of your motorbike.
  • Comprehensive insurance: As well as cover for third party, fire and theft, you are insured for repairs to your motorbike in the event of an accident. Comprehensive sometimes covers personal injury, but not always.

For more information about which level of cover to choose, read our in-depth guide about insurance types.

What’s covered as standard?

Your standard features will depend on the level of cover you choose, however, most motorcycle insurers in Ireland also offer extra benefits with their standard cover.

Some examples of extra benefits are:

  • Breakdown assistance
  • Short term UK & EU travel cover
  • Multi-products discounts
  • Legal expenses cover
  • Motorcycle replacement

When you’re comparing quotes for bike cover, examine the policy benefits, but also check any exclusions that may apply.

Types of motorbike insurance

If you don’t have a standard motorcycle, you could benefit from specialist insurance tailored to the type of bike your ride.

Here’s some of the main types of specialist bike insurance:

  • Moped & scooter insurance: This type of insurance may be cheaper, especially if you are over 25 and have limited mileage.
  • Classic motorcycle insurance: This specialised cover takes into account the likelihood you’ll have low mileage and look after your bike well.
  • Trike or custom bike insurance: This cover often provides free agreed value and no limit to road-legal modifications. This means the insurer has agreed the value and set it in the policy, but won’t charge you.
  • Multi-bike insurance: If you have more than one bike, it’s often cheaper and easier to get multi-bike insurance instead of insuring all your bikes separately. You even can insure modern, vintage and custom bikes all on one policy.

If you have a non-standard motorcycle, it’s worth using an insurance broker to help you find the cheapest insurance policy to suit your specific needs.

How much is motorbike insurance?

You can expect to pay anywhere between €150 and €1000 depending on your age, experience and claims history. Insurance quotes vary considerably so always shop around to find the best price.

Motorbike insurance can be very expensive if you’re under 25 years, and you could pay up to 35% more than an experienced, older rider.

Some insurers may not insure you at all if you’re under 25 with a high powered bike, or cover could be prohibitively expensive. If you’re in this age bracket, get quotes or speak to a broker before you buy your dream machine.

What affects the cost of motorbike insurance?

There are a number of factors that affect the cost of your policy, such as:

  • Your age: Your age is a major factor because it indicates your level of experience on the road.
  • Your driving record: Your driving and claims history indicates the likelihood of future accidents.
  • Where you live: Your postcode will indicate the risk level of theft or damage to your bike.
  • Your bike: The bike’s make and model, its mileage and any modifications that have taken place.
  • The policy: The level of cover you choose, the policy excess and any discounts added like ‘no claims discount’ or ‘multi-vehicle discount’.

What is a no claims discount?

It’s a discount based on the number of years you’ve held a policy without making a claim. How much you’ll save is based on the number of years you go without making a claim on your policy. For example

No.of years with no claims % discount  
2 years 5%  
5 years 10%  
10 years 15%  

Where to get motorbike insurance in Ireland

These are five companies offering motorbike insurance in Ireland:

  • Carole Nash Insurance
  • AXA
  • Liberty Insurance
  • Principal Insurance
  • Adelaide Motorbike Insurance

You can go directly to an insurance provider or use a broker who will get quotes from a panel of insurers.

Both Principal Insurance and Adelaide Motorbike Insurance work with a range of insurers to find the best value policy for you and your bike.

How to find the cheapest motorbike insurance

Motorcycle insurance can be costly, especially if you have a high powered bike or are a young, inexperienced rider.

Here’s some tips to keep insurance costs down:

  • Search for discounts: If you have at least five years no claims bonus, you can get sizeable discounts on your policy. You’ll also be eligible for a discount if you already have car insurance - this can be up to 40%.
  • Check with your existing providers: Some insurers offer discounts if you already have an insurance policy with them e.g. car insurance. A discount won’t necessarily make the cover cheaper than elsewhere, so still shop around.
  • Take the Motorbike Skills Assessment programme: AXA provide a Motorbike Skills Assessment Programme to, not only improve your skills but reward you with discounts on your motorcycle insurance.
  • Use a broker to compare quotes: It could save you time and money, but they may not cover the whole of the market and there are only a couple of insurance brokers dealing with motorcycle insurance in Ireland.
  • Set the excess as high as you can afford: This will bring down the cost of the policy, but remember, if you need to claim you’ll have to pay more towards the costs.
  • Pay the premium upfront: Cover may cost more if you pay the premium in monthly instalments, so if the annual premium is cheaper, pay the lump sum if you can afford to.

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Motorbike insurance FAQs

Do I need different motorcycle insurance if I use my bike for work?

Yes, you may. It’s vital that you let your insurers know what you intend to use your bike for.

The ‘use’ categories are usually:

  • Personal use - using for social and domestic, but not travelling to work
  • Commuting - travelling to work regularly as well as personal use
  • Business use - travelling to me than one place of work, for instance as part of a sales job or call out an engineer
  • Delivery and courier use - using to deliver or pick up goods, food or parcels

Any wrong information or undisclosed use could void your policy, so when you make a claim you could find that you’re not covered at all.

Do I have to attend a Skills Assessment programme to get motorbike insurance?

Yes, for certain types of motorbike you may have to complete a skills assessment, which you can get from an accredited trainer.

Even if it is not compulsory for your cover, you’ll get a discount on your premium if you complete the assessment. It’s a graded assessment and the higher your grade, the better the discounts.

What type of licence do I need to ride a motorcycle?

There are four licensing categories for motorcycles AM, A1, A2 and A.

Riders can progress through these categories by either:

  • Progressive access: If 20 years or under by doing prescribed training up to A class motorbikes.
  • Direct access: If 24 or over, you can take your motorcyle test and drive A class motorbikes without progressive access.

For more information about Irish motorbike licence categories, visit the National Driving Licence Service website.

What is IBT?

Initial Basic Training (IBT) is a mandatory training course of 16-18 hours in 3-4 modules with a mixture of theory and practical skills depending on size of the motorcycle.

You need your IBT to get motorbike insurance for bikes under 125cc. To drive more powerful bikes, you need to complete the RSA practical driving test and apply to the NDSL for your full motorcycle licence. For more information, visit the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

How do I cancel my motorbike insurance policy?

You can cancel the policy by informing your insurer and returning the certificate of insurance.

If you want to cancel your policy within the first 14 days, your premium will be refunded for any period of insurance remaining, less an administration fee.

If you cancel your policy in the first year after the first 14 days, your insurer will work out a percentage refund based on their cancellation rates. You can find this within the policy document.

What is No Claims Discount Protection?

This is a benefit where you don’t lose your ‘no claims bonus’ for making one claim in the insurance year.

There are two levels of protection:

  1. Stepback protection - your discount will only be stepped back a couple of levels, instead of back to zero.
  2. No claims discount protection - you keep your full no claims bonus if you only make one claim, however, further claims will reduce the no claims years you’ve accrued.