Is my motorbike insured?

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 27 October 2022  | 3 mins read

It’s an offence to ride or keep a motorcycle on public roads without at least third-party motorbike insurance in place.

If you’re caught without insurance, you can get fined and will be issued penalty points on your licence. Your bike could be seized and you may even face a driving ban.

Key points

  • UK law requires a motorbike is insured at all times unless you make a SORN with the DVLA
  • The registered keeper of an uninsured motorbike may be fined and have it clamped or seized
  • You can check that your motorbike insurance is up to date on the Motor Insurance Database

How can I check the status of my motorbike insurance?

Not sure when your motorcycle insurance is up for renewal?

Whether you use your bike regularly or are a seasonal rider, you need to be sure your insurance is kept up to date or face serious consequences.

You’ll get sent a reminder from your current insurer when your policy is up for renewal. But it’s also a good idea to make a note in your diary ahead of your renewal date so you can shop around for competitive quotes.

Hunt out your insurance documents, they’ll clearly state when your policy runs out. Or give your provider a ring.

What if I’ve lost my documentation - what can I do?

If you’ve misplaced your certificate of insurance and want to be sure you’re legally insured, you can check the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

It’s a central record of all insured vehicles in the UK.

The police use it to find out on the spot if a vehicle is insured and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) also use it to enforce motor insurance law.

You can do a free check on your own vehicle to ensure it’s on the MID database.

How to use the MID motorbike insurance checker

This free service is easy to use.

You simply key in your motorbike registration number.

Then tick the ‘data protection declaration’ where you confirm that you’re entitled to obtain the insurance information on the vehicle you’re checking.

That means you must only check a bike owned and registered by you or your employer. Or that you’re an insurance broker or agent using it on behalf of a client.

Checking any other vehicle may mean you’re committing an offence under the Data Protection Act.

The search result will let you know if your bike is showing up as insured on the database or if there’s no record of it being insured.

Importantly, the terms and conditions stress that the check isn’t proof of insurance and confirms only if the vehicle is currently showing on MID.

If you’ve been involved in a motoring accident and you need to check if the other vehicle is insured, there’s a separate MID look up service you can use for £10.

Will I be notified if I don’t have insurance?

The MID and the DVLA work in partnership to identify uninsured vehicles under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme.

If the MID doesn’t have a record of an insurance policy on your motorbike, and you’ve not declared it as off road with a statutory off road notification (SORN), they’ll send you an Insurance Advisory Letter in the post.

The letter lets you know your motorcycle appears to be uninsured and that, unless you take action to insure it or to make a SORN if your bike is not in use and off the road, you could be fined and clamped.

If you get a warning letter, but believe that you’re insured, then check with your insurance company right away. Ask them to confirm that your policy is in force and if it is, they should update your records on the MID.

What happens if my bike isn’t insured?

Under CIE, you could receive a £100 penalty and your vehicle could be clamped, seized and even destroyed.

You could also face court prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

The police also have powers to seize your bike if you’re caught riding uninsured.

They can issue a £300 fixed penalty, six penalty points and/or disqualification.

You’ll also need to pay pound fees, plus show proof of valid insurance to recover your bike.

What happens to my insurance if I sell my bike?

When you’ve sold your bike and it’s officially registered to the new owner, you no longer have to pay insurance on it.

To transfer bike ownership, you need to give the new owner the V5C/2 slip from your logbook. You also need to inform the DVLA of the change of ownership.

If you’re not getting a new bike or other vehicle and no longer need any motor insurance cover, you can cancel your current policy.

You’ll be entitled to a partial refund. The amount you get will depend on how long is left to run on the policy and the terms and conditions of your provider. You may also have to pay a cancellation fee.

If you’ve got a new bike, it'll need to be insured, and you have a couple of options.

You can ask your current provider to transfer your policy to the new bike.

Your premium may stay the same or need to be adjusted up or down depending on the specification of the bike. There may be an administration fee to pay too.

If you're not happy with the terms, you can cancel the policy and compare policies to find a better deal - just remember that cancellation fees might apply. 

What happens to my insurance if my bike is written off?

If your bike’s written off by your insurance company, it’s because it’s beyond repair or they calculate that the repairs will cost more than your bike is worth.

You’ll receive a payout amounting to the current value of your bike, designed to cover the cost of buying a replacement.

You must let the DVLA know that your bike has been written off.

What else should I know about keeping my motorbike insurance up to date?

Remember, you don’t have to be riding your motorbike to get caught. It’s against the law to keep a vehicle without insurance.

So, even if you don’t use your bike and keep it under tarpaulin in the garage over winter, unless you’ve declared it ‘off the road’ by contacting the DVLA with a formal SORN, you need insurance.

However, even if you have declared your bike off the road, you may still want to keep it insured in case of fire and theft.