Am I insured to ride somebody else’s motorbike?

In the same way as driving insurance, some motorcycle insurance policies cover the policyholder to ride other motorbikes.

Generally, it is only Comprehensive insurance policies that cover the policyholder to ride other bikes with Third Party Only cover, the minimum legal insurance requirement to ride on UK roads.

Unfortunately, not all Comprehensive motorbike insurance policies include cover to ride other people's bikes and it depends on your broker and the policy you have.

There are often other conditions with policies that allow you to ride other people's motorcycles.

Sometimes policies state that you can only ride other bikes that are mid-size or over, usually 351cc or bigger, and often age and occupation are the most important factors of whether you can get an insurance policy that allows you to ride other bikes.

There can also be issues if it's your spouse's motorbike you're riding, it depends on your Comprehensive insurance policy and your insurer as they are all different.

It is up to you to check your policy wording to see whether you can ride other people's motorcycles because even if you unintentionally break the terms and conditions of your insurance, in this case by riding another bike without insurance, you may still be penalised.

What are the penalties for riding without insurance?

The penalties for riding a motorbike without insurance are serious. The penalties may be:

  • Fines -- if the case goes to court, you could get an unlimited fine.
  • Penalty points -- you will receive at least six penalty points.
  • Endorsements -- you may be slapped with an IN10 endorsement on your licence.
  • Disqualified -- this depends on the seriousness of your offence and your riding history.
  • Your motorbike seized and destroyed -- the police have the power to do this.

However there are also far reaching insurance consequences for riding without insurance.

If you have broken the terms of your insurance policy your insurer may:

  • Refuse to pay out - you could end up having to pay for any damages yourself, which can be expensive.
  • Charged the full premium - your policy may be amended to the correct terms and payment requested in one lump sum.
  • Refuse to insure you - insurers do not look kindly on riders with IN10 endorsements, which can make getting insured in the future difficult and expensive.

What does Third Party Only insurance cover?

Third Party Only policies covers you for any damage you cause to any other person and their property but it does not offer any cover to you or the bike you are riding.

So if you ride somebody else's motorbike you should remember that even if your Comprehensive insurance policy covers you to ride other people's bikes, you will only have the most basic form of insurance.