Temporary motorcycle insurance

Some insurers offer motorbike insurance policies that cover you for a day up to just a few months. We don’t compare short-term motorbike insurance, but we can help you can find the right temporary motorcycle cover with a standard policy.

Alice Morgan
Alice Morgan
Updated 12 February 2021  | 2 min read

What's temporary motorbike insurance?

Short-term motorbike insurance only covers you for a limited period - useful if you're borrowing someone else’s bike, or ride seasonally.

You can get cover for a day, a week, a month or a few months, depending on which insurer you choose.

Key points

  • Short-term motorcycle insurance policies are rare, but there are specialist providers
  • If you’re borrowing a motorbike from a friend, you could ask to be a named rider on their policy instead
  • Taking out an annual policy, and cancelling it when you don’t need it, is another option

You don’t have to be the registered owner of the bike - you can get short-term cover to take a bike out for a test ride.

There might be age restrictions on policies, so check the terms carefully.

When would I need short-term motorbike insurance?

It’s against the law to keep a bike that’s uninsured, unless you’ve filled out a statutory off-road notification (SORN) .

This means you’ll either need to take out insurance for the full year or get short-term cover for the months you’re riding it and then SORN it.

You could take out short-term motorcycle insurance if:

  • You’re borrowing someone else’s bike. Though you could try adding yourself to their existing policy for a short time instead
  • You’re test-riding a motorcycle
  • You’re riding a courtesy or replacement motorcycle
  • You’re riding a motorcycle on holiday

Taking out short-term bike cover could be a cheaper option than changing your existing policy and, if you need to make a claim on a temporary policy, it won’t affect your no-claims bonus.

What's covered

Most policies will offer the same kind of cover as standard motorbike insurance.

Third party only (TPO) temporary bike insurance will cover damage or injury to other people and their property, but not your own bike. It’s the minimum level of cover required by law.

Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) includes third party cover, as well as fire or theft damage to your own motorcycle.

Comprehensive short-term bike insurance covers damage to your bike, injuries you suffer, as well as third party claims.

You should also be able to choose from different classes of use and there might be additional extras you can add to your policy – it depends on the insurer though.

Should I choose short-term motorbike cover or an annual policy?

If you only ride occasionally, an annual motorbike insurance policy might not be the right choice.

Temporary insurance is usually the most cost-effective way to get comprehensive motorbike cover for a bike you don’t own or only need to insure short-term.

It’s best to compare annual insurance and short-term cover. You'll be able to see any difference in cover and work out which is cheapest for you.

Is it cheaper?

Not always. Short-term bike insurance is specialist cover and insurers still have to cover the cost of things like setting up the policy, so it can seem disproportionately expensive.

Your quotes will be based on your age, experience, no-claims bonus, bike features and more. You should get prices for short term cover as well as standard annual policies to work out which would be cheaper for you.

If you choose an annual policy, that you plan to cancel after a few months, you might have to pay a cancellation fee, so factor it in.

Out of 48 comprehensive motorcycle policies listed on Defaqto, 87% charged a cancellation fee and 77% charged over £40.[1]

If you cancel your motorbike policy before the full year is up, you won’t get your no-claims bonus.

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It’s a legal requirement to keep your bike insured all year round or to notify the DVLA that the bike is off road with a SORN.

There are various short-term options out there, but, by law, you’d still need to make sure the bike is insured once that policy ends or SORN it.

If you don’t, you could face a fine or be prosecuted.
Ryan Fulthorpe - GoCompare’s motoring expert

Will I need to SORN my bike?

Once your short-term bike insurance runs out, you’ll need to either take out another policy or make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) for it.

You can make a SORN by filling out this form.

You’ll need either the reference number from your tax renewal letter, or the one from your bike’s logbook.

Once your SORN's processed, you’ll be refunded for any full months of tax you might've already paid.

If you want to take the bike back on the road you’ll need to tax it again.

You can still insure your bike while it's off road from things like fire and theft with laid-up bike insurance.

[1]Last checked 27 February 2023