Overnight storage and motorbike insurance

Where you keep your motorbike overnight will affect your insurance premiums, so find out more about storage and where to park your ride after dark.

Key points

  • Accurately describe your overnight parking arrangements to motorcycle insurers
  • Keeping motorbikes off the road overnight could help you save on premiums, as could good security
  • Cover is still readily available if you park on the road overnight

Motorbikes make an attractive proposition to thieves operating after dark due to their size, weight and the fact that, unlike cars, they don't need to be broken into to be stolen.

Because of this, where you keep your bike overnight will affect your motorbike insurance premiums.

It's really important to be honest with your insurer about night-time storage arrangements, because if your bike is stolen and you've given your insurer false information, you could invalidate your policy.

Keeping your motorbike in a garage

Many insurers will look favourably on motorbikes being kept in a garage and will reflect this with cheaper premiums.

By keeping your bike in the garage, you're also likely to have the widest choice of premiums, meaning you might find a more competitive quote, because a few providers will only be able to cover bikes that are garaged overnight.Motorbike

Be aware, though, that this is only true of a locked garage.

When you get a quote through Gocompare.com you'll be asked whether your motorcycle is kept overnight at your home address, and if not you'll be asked to enter the postcode of the place where it is kept.

You'll also have the option to specify whether you keep your bike in a locked garage or an unlocked garage.

If your garage doesn't lock, it might keep your bike away from thieves' prying eyes, but it'll do little to keep it more secure and this will be reflected in the price of your insurance quotes.

Some insurers may even view a bike in an unlocked garage as a greater risk, because it will actually give thieves cover to work under unobserved. The simple solution is to secure your garage with a good lock.

Another advantage of garage storage is that you can add further motorbike security such as ground anchors and sturdy chains that may also give you a discount on your premium.

Top tip

  • If you're considering investing in a motorbike storage unit, check whether it's recognised by insurers

Bear in mind that security savings on your insurance might not outweigh the initial outlay for installation.

But it could help avoid the hassle and expense of a theft claim, where you'll probably have to pay an excess and may face increased premiums when you come to renew.

Dedicated motorbike storage units

You can buy specialist motorbike storage units or sheds, built from metal or wood, some of which claim to be 'insurance approved'.

These can be a great place to store a bike but are often costly, so you might want to make sure your insurer classes your chosen unit as a 'garage' before you buy it.

Garaging clauses on motorcycle insurance

If you do keep your bike in the garage, it's really important to read your policy documents carefully and take note of any garaging exclusions that are applied.Scooter

Garaging exclusions are where some providers restrict cover in various ways if you say you keep your bike in the garage, but then don't use it in the way your insurer dictates.

On 24 October, 2014, Gocompare.com reviewed 31 motorcycle policies listed on the matrix of independent financial researcher Defaqto. It was found that 62% of the policies may apply restriction of cover if the bike isn't garaged when at the home address.

Whether a restriction is applied can also depend on factors such as the make and model of motorcycle or your home postcode, and not just if you say you will garage your bike.

The way this restriction of cover was applied varied between providers - for example, some providers increase the excess on claims where a bike is stolen from within a short distance of the garage while not kept in it.

Some only applied this restriction at night so if, for instance, you cleaned your bike then left it outside the garage to dry, you needn't worry - unless you decided to sluice down your motorbike at midnight, of course.

Keeping your motorbike on the drive overnight

Many insurers will give a discount on premiums if you keep your bike on a driveway at your home, or just off the road on your property, such as wheeled into a front or back garden.

Car parks are generally considered a positive factor by insurers

This is partly because thieves will be deterred from straying onto private property where their activity may be more conspicuous.

Keeping your bike off the road overnight doesn't just protect it from thieves, either. On a driveway or in a garden, your bike should be safe from being accidentally hit by other vehicles using the road.

As with parking your bike in a garage, if you have somewhere on your property to keep it you may have the opportunity to beef-up security by fitting ground or wall anchors, which could further reduce your premium.

Keeping your motorbike in a car park overnight

Like driveways and garages, car parks are generally considered a positive factor by insurers as they take your motorbike off the highway at night and protect it from damage by passing vehicles.

Be aware, though, that when you use Gocompare.com's quote service, you'll have several types of car park to choose from and you'll need to determine which option best describes your overnight bike storage.Beginners' guide to motorbike insurance

For instance, a secure car park will be one with access restricted to those who are allowed to park there, perhaps with a locked gate or pass-operated barriers.

An unsecure car park would be unlocked and accessible to the general public.

A residential car park could be more ambiguous, but be aware that insurers won't generally include unallocated roadside residential permit bays in this, as they would be classed as parking on the road.

If you work night shifts, your overnight parking might even be in a work car park.

If you're unsure about how you should describe the car park where you keep your motorbike, you should check with your insurer to make sure your arrangements meet their requirements.

Parking your motorbike on the road overnight

If you have nowhere to park your bike overnight but on the roadside outside your house, then don't worry - this shouldn't cause problems with getting insurance.

While there are a few insurers who won't provide a quote as they'll only insure bike owners with garages or driveways, if you use Gocompare.com to find a quote you should still find plenty to choose from.

You'll also find that you can select the option of parking your bike on the road away from home.

Insurers do have a preference for riders keeping a bike at their own home, so you'll probably find you have fewer quotes to choose from if you don't keep your bike at your home address overnight.

There are some extra risks attached to parking your bike on the road, which can make insurance more costly, but there's also plenty you can do to offset this.

If your bike's at the roadside, it's on show, so security is important. A good disc lock, alarm or a chain around an immovable piece of street furniture will deter thieves and may also mean cheaper insurance premiums.

To avoid the risk of your motorbike being taken away by the authorities, look out for any signs indicating that bikes can't be locked to such street furniture and ensure that your machine isn't causing an obstruction.Jump leads

A motorcycle cover is also a good idea. Not only will it mean thieves can't tell if your bike's a rusty old moped or a tricked-out superbike, it'll also offer some protection from the weather, meaning less rust and a dry seat when you set off on a rainy day.

Finally, consider how you park. Bikes are small and inconspicuous compared to cars, so leave adequate room between your bike and other vehicles to reduce the chance of careless drivers reversing into it as they leave their space.

You might also want to park facing into or out from the kerb, rather than parallel with it, to maximise the chance of your length-ways bike being spotted in a rear-view mirror.

Don't park your bike on the pavement itself - it'll be an obstruction to pedestrians, it's illegal and it could result in your bike being removed and impounded.

By Derri Dunn