What’s off-road motorbike insurance?
You need motorbike insurance for any bike you ride on the road – and that includes off-road bikes like all-terrain, scramblers, motocross, dirt and enduro bikes.
But if you want cover to use your off-road motorbike away from the tarmac, you’ll probably need a specialist insurance policy that can cover you for:
- On-road use
- Theft or damage to your bike
- Injury to yourself in the event of an accident, on or off road
- Damage or injury to a third party, vehicle or property where you’re at fault
Specialist off-road motorbike insurance can cover you at approved, organised motocross rallies, track events, trials, competitions and practice grounds.
It could also pay out for any damage that happen when your bike is being transported to a track.
Do you need insurance for off-road bikes?
If you ride your bike on any road, no matter how short the journey, then you need to be insured by law.
Even when you primarily use your bike at off-road tracks and events, if you ride it on a road to get to your off-road destination, you need at least third-party motorbike insurance. This covers you for damage to third-party property or injury to others.
You must also hold a driving licence if you ride on a road and your off-road bike should have a valid MOT certificate (if it’s more than three years old), be registered with the DVLA and be taxed.
Many untarmacked trails that are considered to be off-road - such as so-called ‘green roads’, unsurfaced ‘unclassified country roads’ (UCRs) and ‘byways open to all traffic’ (BOATs) - are actually legally classed as roads. So, you must be road-legal and insured to ride these trails, just as you need to be on regular roads.
It’s illegal to ride your off-road motorbike on public footpaths and bridleways, common or council land such as beaches and parks.
If you’re unsure of where you can ride off-road tracks and trails legally, the Trail Riders Fellowship is a good resource. They have local groups across England and Wales that share information on ‘green roads’, UCRs and BOATs you can legally ride in your area.
If you’ll only use your off-road motorbike on your own private land, or on land where you have the landowner’s permission, you don’t legally need insurance.
But if you crash your bike or cause any damage to someone else’s property, you’ll have to cover costs yourself. You’ll also need to make sure you don’t ride on any public footpaths that cross the land.
Types of off-road motorbike insurance
This type of policy covers damage to your bike and other people’s vehicles or property if you cause an accident. It also includes cover for fire damage, theft and the cost of a replacement bike if yours is written off.
Third party, fire and theft (TPFT)
Covers damage and injuries caused to other people, vehicles or property. It also covers the cost of repairing or replacing your bike if it’s stolen or damaged by fire.
Third party only (TPO)
This is the minimum level of cover required by law. It covers damage and injury you cause to others.
What else can off-road motorbike insurance include?
Riding on rough terrain in hidden countryside or taking motorcycling to another level at a motocross event is enjoyable and exciting. But it comes with its risks.
You could consider policy upgrades and add-ons to cover you for all sorts of eventualities.
Legal assistance and public liability cover
Accidents happen and if you get sued for damages, this cover can help pay any legal bills.
Personal injury cover and accidental damage cover
Tackling tabletops and jumps on a race track is no easy ride, so this sort of cover could be beneficial if you – or your bike - take a serious tumble.
In transit cover
If your dirt bike is involved in an accident while being transported in a van or trailer, this will cover the cost of any damage.
Roadside help and recovery to a garage or your home.
Frequently asked questions
No, regular motorbike insurance covers you for riding on public roads. If you want cover for off-road riding, motocross tracks, trials or enduro races, you’ll need a specialist insurance policy. You could ask your standard policy provider if they can add on cover for things like accidental damage off-road and personal injury cover, but not all insurers will be able to offer this.
Not all off-road motorbikes can be ridden on public roads and motorways.
The DVLA requires certain minimum requirements for a vehicle to be registered as road legal (these include a minimum seat height and ground clearance, and road legal tyres for example).
If your bike is DVLA registered, it also needs to be road taxed, have a valid MOT and be fitted with working lights and registration plates if you want to use it on the road. The rider must hold a valid driving licence, wear suitable safety clothing such as a helmet and have valid motor insurance.
Many off-road motorbikers put their bikes in storage for the winter. When your bike is out of use like this, you won’t need to insure it but you’ll need to get a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) from the DVLA.
Your bike won’t be covered for fire and theft if it’s not insured while in storage.
Fit your bike with an alarm system, steering lock and keep it in a secure garage or shed.
Buying a new bike? Look for dealers who are part of the Motorcycle Industry Association’s ‘MCIA Secured’ scheme. It’s a rating system which awards a star for each recognised security feature, such as ignition immobilisers and vehicle tracking systems, fitted on a new bike.
If you can demonstrate to your insurer that your bike is kept well secured then you could see a reduction in your premiums.