When looking at a quote from an insurer, it helps to know how they calculate their prices. Insurance quotes are based on a range of factors, but these tend to fall into one of two categories: how likely the rider is to make a claim and how much the bike would cost to replace. While you can't do much about some factors such as your age and your location, you have more control over others such as the type of bike you choose and how often you use it.
Younger riders are statistically more likely to have an accident, and their insurance premiums reflect this. If you are under 25 you can expect to pay significantly more for your insurance. Luckily there are some companies that specialise in insuring younger riders, and others will offer a discount if you take an accredited motorcycle safety course.
Insurers will want to know where you live, and this will affect your premiums a great deal. They will look at the crime rates in your area in order to gauge the likelihood of your bike being stolen. Insuring a bike in the city is usually more expensive than insuring a bike in the countryside as the increased traffic makes an accident more likely.
As well as the general safety of your area, insurers will also want to know about your plans for storing the bike. If you have a garage or a secure driveway your premiums are likely to be lower than if you keep the bike on the street. Insurance companies may also ask if you have fitted any additional security measures such as a ground anchor or an immobiliser. If you have installed a security device but your insurer doesn't ask about it, make sure that you tell them in order to maximise your chance of a discount.
Your lifestyle is a big factor in the cost of your insurance. Certain jobs are considered high risk for accidents because they involve more time spent on the road. For example, if you are using your bike to work as a delivery driver or a travelling salesman, insurers are likely to charge you more. The amount that you plan to use your bike is also important. Commuting to work on your bike every day will increase your insurance premiums as you are more likely to be riding in rush hour. Riders who stick to cars or public transport for commuting and only use their bikes for leisure are likely to be charged less.
Previous insurance record
Insurers will look at your insurance history in order to work out how likely you are to make a claim. If you have made several claims in the past you will be considered a higher risk and will therefore be charged more. Most insurers will offer a no claims discount based on the number of years you have gone without making a claim.
Make and model of bike
Generally speaking, more powerful bikes are considered more dangerous and are therefore more expensive to insure. A good way to reduce the cost of your insurance is to choose a bike with a smaller engine. Cheaper bikes are also cheaper to insure as they cost less to replace. Insurance companies will usually charge more to insure rare or imported bikes as these would be difficult to replace. The same goes for classic bikes containing parts that are no longer in production.
Insurers will ask if you have made any modifications to your bike. Modifications will usually result in higher premiums as they make a bike harder to replace, and often make it more powerful and therefore more dangerous. You should never lie to your insurance company about modifications as this is fraudulent.
Your voluntary excess
Insurers will ask if you wish to increase your voluntary excess. This is the amount you are willing to pay towards a claim. Setting a higher voluntary excess will reduce your premiums, but will cost you more in the event of a claim.