The Legal Requirements for Scooter Insurance
The scooter has become the most popular mode of transport for an ever-increasing number of the population for a variety of reasons.
It is quick, convenient, costs less on petrol than a car and there are no parking charges. Additionally, because it takes up less space than a car, it is easier to avoid the traffic congestion which is today so prevalent.
Using a scooter is therefore regarded as being less stressful than using cars or public transport. Many scooter riders enjoy the experience and freedom of travelling on the roads and are mainly recreational users rather than commuters.
However, assuming an individual already has the right licence to ride a scooter, there is a legal requirement to have scooter insurance.
There must be a cover to pay for treatment or repairs if the scooter injures another party or vehicle. There may also be an accident which causes injuries to the scooter rider and the cost of medical bills must be covered or the scooter may be damaged if it slips on an icy road and hits something else
Types of Scooter Insurance
There are three types to choose from:
1. Third Party – this is the cheapest and the insured rider is covered for damage or injuries to other individuals or their property.
Bearing in mind that a scooter can do considerable damage if it hits another vehicle or road user, there must minimally be third party insurance cover in place to cover financial cost of damage or even hospital bills. This is mandatory and the least expensive scooter insurance.
2. Third Party, Fire and Theft – this insurance covers for the scooter being set on fire or stolen in addition to cover for third parties as above at No.1.
This cover means the rider will be compensated if his/her vehicle is set on fire or stolen. This is additional to Third Party cover above, but if the scooter is new and a more expensive model, this is often the preferred option. Also, the cost of insurance cover will be affected by factors such as where the scooter will be parked overnight, i.e. in a garage, or on the road in a neighbourhood where there is a high crime rate.
3. Fully Comprehensive – in addition to insurance coverage for the third party, fire and theft, fully comprehensive insurance cover repairs to the scooter and rider after an accident even if there was no other party involved. This is obviously the most expensive type of insurance.
This will cover all repairs to the scooter following an accident even if no other road users or parties were involved. If there is a claim following an accident, an excess must be paid by the insured rider – this is an amount to be paid towards the repair agreed beforehand in the insurance policy. Needless to say, some of the factors considered by insurers in the cost generally are the age, experience and road history of the scooter rider him/herself.
Additionally, the insured person will agree on an “excess” which is the amount that he/she will have to pay towards the cost of any repair.
Generally, the higher the amount of excess agreed, the lower the cost of the scooter insurance.
If fully comprehensive insurance is chosen for scooter insurance, the insurance company may request that the insured buy a lock or security device to ensure the safety of the scooter when not in use.
Choosing Scooter Insurance
Before deciding on which agent or broker to choose, it is advisable to compare scooter insurance on websites online. Many insurers will offer preferential rates to scooter drivers who are, for example, aged 16 to 24 years old, or 50 years old and over, or who are female.
On the other hand, there are insurers who will not provide insurance coverage for Japanese scooters or other imported scooters. It may be wiser to choose an insurance company who specialises in scooter insurance and can provide a wider range of cover options.
When an online quotation facility is used, the applicant for scooter insurance will fill in one form which can be circulated instantly to a wide range of insurers. This will certainly increase the probability of finding a lower cost for insurance.
Once the choice has been made, it is better to phone the company the policy is being arranged with and check the details and small print.
The cost of scooter insurance cover will probably decrease in real terms once a scooter rider has more experience on the road and has a good road safety record with the insurance company.
While the scooter was initially for personal transportation and mainly 50cc to 250cc, there is now arose a large variation in size and power of the scooter. Maxi scooters up to 800cc became available in many countries. These differences in size and power mean the cost of scooter insurance will vary.
Other Factors Affecting the Cost of Scooter Insurance
Other factors affecting scooter insurance will be the age of the scooter rider and his/her previous driving history. Having an accident record will drive the cost of scooter insurance up just as first-time rider will be charged a higher rate than one with several years of experience on the roads.
Insurers will take into account the neighbourhood where the scooter will be parked as this will affect the probability of fire and theft of the scooter.
Scooter insurance will also be less expensive if the scooter is parked safely and securely in a garage or lockup rather than on the street.
The cost of scooter insurance may be affected, therefore, by the level of crime in the area and by how securely parked it will usually be.
Some insurers will recommend that a lock and/or engine immobiliser be used and, to prevent the scooter being physically lifted into a truck, the scooter should be attached to something solid when it is parked on the street or road.
Another factor affecting scooter insurance will be the condition of the scooter itself. It will usually cost more to insure a brand new, more expensive scooter than a second hand or economy model.
On the other hand, some insurers offer discounted rates for new scooters. When purchasing a new scooter, it is important to be aware that, if the scooter is an import, some insurers will not wish to offer insurance. Sometimes a bargain import scooter will be harder to repair because replacement parts may not be readily available in the UK.
Scooter insurance and the motivations for driving scooters
Scooter insurance is certainly amongst the highest pricing of motorbike insurances. Like cars, they come in many different shapes & sizes, as do the engines, which feature between 49 & 125cc. Scooters can, of course, be driven on a conventional/full UK Driver’s Licence passed up to the 31/01/01 & on The Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) Pass for all other engine sizes up to and including 125cc.
Of course, to be able to drive your scooter, you just need to pass the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). It’s quite a straightforward teaching course which can be taken over one day, teaching you all you need to know for driving and controlling your scooter safely.
You can, of course, obtain your own insurance to drive your own scooter whilst training. However, most learning centres have their own fleet of training scooters, so it may be better to simply use one of theirs.
As with most types of insurance, the biggest threat to premiums is theft. Particularly given the small scale of scooters, they’re even more vulnerable to theft. As with most problems in life, in our interdependent world – one man’s problem, in time affects us all.
Of course, like all theft, you can only do so much to prevent it, no matter how sophisticated your technology is. Indeed, being a scooter, it’s a lot easier to have it lifted into the back of a thief’s van than your 4×4. What also makes the theft of your scooter more likely is the fact that so many scooter types have a number of starter alternatives. For example, kick starts.
Facilitating a theft so much more than a simple and single ignition of a motor vehicle. Of course, this only points to the obvious benefit of having a concrete garage versus leaving your scooter parked outside, even in the quietest of streets. Not to mention the Premium Discount such Safe Housing will attract.
Furthermore, alterations and modifying your scooter can, like a car greatly increase your insurance premium. Whilst already in a high insurance premium bracket, if enhanced in performance and or looks, your Scooter is an even greater attraction now to potential theft.
A typical example of improving/modifying your Scooter would be to De-Restrict it. De-Restricting, as the name suggests, is a common way of simply raising your Scooter’s top speed from the original manufacturer’s concept and specification.
Modifications of this nature will have a significant negative impact on your Scooter’s annual insurance premium. As a matter of fact, in many cases, such an enhancement to your scooter could even lead to your insurance company even refusing to cover you.
Given the inherent attraction to the younger market, scooter insurers appear to face more of a risk of accident than car insurance companies. Other than being a symbol of youth and style, the main attraction of scooters towards a younger audience is that scooter travel is, by comparison, a relatively cheap mode of transport.
Also, unlike a car, learning how to drive a scooter is fairly easy, quick and cheap. Scooters also provide good road experience towards ultimately becoming a better motor vehicle driver and more insurable at that given your apprentice Road Experience, albeit if you have had no claims in that time.
Again being young, whilst an enviable virtue, will by its nature automatically raise your insurance premium. It’s, therefore, no surprise that as a result, many young scooter drivers opt only for third party insurance versus fully comprehensive.
Which is in itself a risk, if in an accident which proves to be your fault; resulting in a hefty bill or worst still your scooter is a write-off and you’re back to taking the bus.
UK Scooter insurance FAQ
Q: I am 16 and looking to get a 125cc, why can’t I get a quote?
A: Unfortunately you aren’t able to ride a 125cc until you are 17 years old.
Q: Do I need to be the registered owner and keeper of the vehicle?
A: Most insurance companies will require the insured to be the registered owner and keeper of the vehicle they are looking to insure.
Q: I am 16 years old with a new scooter, I don’t have my provisional license yet am I able to set up an insurance policy?
A: Unfortunately most insurance companies will require you to have your provisional license and CBT booked in. If you have applied you will still need to wait for it to come in the post and book the CBT.
Q: I am looking to modify my scooter; will this affect an insurance quote?
A: Any modifications that enhance the performance of the vehicle may cause you a problem when looking to insure the bike.
Q: I have bought a new bike but it isn’t registered yet, can you help?
A: There are some insurance companies that will not insure unregistered scooter/bikes. The majority of companies available to quote on our system are happy to insure against the VIN/chassis/frame number, this normally comes with a small fee. If you obtain a quote and are happy with the price ask the company before going ahead.
Q: What is the difference between social, domestic pleasure including commuting to business use?
A: Social, Domestic and Pleasure including Commuting entitles you to go to and from one permanent place of work or study. Business use entitles you to go to various different places of work.
Q: Can additional drivers use the bike to go to and from work or study?
A: Only the main rider is permitted to use the bike to go to and from one permanent place of work or study. Additional riders are only allowed to use the bike for social, domestic and pleasure use.
Q: My bike is worth £300 but the Third Party Fire and Theft excess is nearly as much as the bike, what should I do?
A: We would suggest looking at Third Party only, as there isn’t excess with this. If you went ahead with Third Party Fire and Theft and the bike was stolen the insurance company will pay out the market value of the bike at the time of the theft minus the excess before paying you anything.
Q: What can affect insurance quotes?
A: There are many things that will affect an insurance quote or indeed an existing policy. Each insurance company will have different criteria, below is a list of some things known to affect quotes…
- Where you live
- Where the bike/scooter is kept
- License type
- Motoring convictions/claims
Q: How often do I need to take a CBT?
A: Your certificate will last for two years; we suggest when it is close to renewal you book the CBT with your local centre. At different times of the year, there are increased numbers of people wishing to take a CBT, there are occasions where you would have to wait a couple of weeks to a month to be able to retake it locally.
Q: I live in Northern Ireland do I need to complete a CBT?
A: For the time being you are not required to do a CBT but the DVLA are looking to introduce this in Northern Ireland by December 2010. Please note when this happens you must go to an Approved Motorcycle Instructor.