How to claim on your motorbike insurance
If you have adequate motorbike insurance cover, you shouldn't encounter any problems when you make a valid claim – but to smooth and speed up the payout process, it's important to make sure you provide your insurer with all the relevant details for your claim as quickly as possible. They will need to know exactly what happened, and who else was involved if it was an accident, as well as any other relevant details.
If you're claiming from someone else’s insurance rather than your own, remember that this could delay the process a bit – mainly because of potential disputes over who was at fault, and the extra administration involved.
A large proportion of claims follow collisions of some sort. If you’re involved in an accident but escape serious injury, the first thing to think about is making the scene of the accident safe. Switch on your bike's hazard lights to make other traffic aware of the incident; call an ambulance if anyone is injured; and contact the police to inform them of the accident and any debris or blockage on the road. Remember to also let the police know if anyone involved left the scene straight away – it is an offence not to stop after a collision.
Next, think about your insurance. Focus on gathering factual information: the registrations of other vehicles involved; the names and contact details of other motorists, passengers and witnesses; and a sketch of the scene of the accident showing what happened. If you have a camera phone or digital camera, take photographs of the scene from different angles. Note down the road and weather conditions; the time of the accident; and the exact location, including any street names, the nearest house number, or any other landscape features you can identify.
Never admit liability or offer to pay any compensation – if you admit fault, this could affect any insurance payout you're entitled to. You may be in shock, and unable to think straight – and there could also be other factors that you are not aware of that led to the accident.
Other types of claim
If your bike is stolen, damaged or vandalised while it was parked, once again you need to take down all the relevant details: try to photograph the scene as you found it; note down details of the exact location; and ask for the contact details of any potential witnesses. Contact the police and make a note of the crime reference number they give you.
Contacting your insurer
Contact your insurer as soon as possible – at least within 24 hours – after any accident or incident, regardless of whether or not you're planning to claim. Pass on all of the details you noted down at the scene of the crime or accident.
If you want to make a claim on your own insurance after an accident, remember that you will have to pay the excess amount yourself. Your insurer will ask for an assessor – usually at an approved local garage – to look at the damage and quote for the cost of repairs. You can't simply take your bike to the garage of your choice and get it repaired then claim back the money. If the assessor decides to write-off your bike because the cost of repairing is too high in relation to its value, your insurer will offer you a cash sum, minus your excess. Do some research to find out the cost of equivalent bikes to check that their offer is fair, and talk to them if you believe the sum is inadequate. If you find you're unable to agree on a sum with your insurer, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which will help to negotiate a settlement.
You won't have to pay the excess if you're claiming off another motorist's insurance for an accident that was their fault.
If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured vehicle, you will be able to claim on your own insurance policy as long as you have comprehensively cover – but bear in mind you could lose your no-claims bonus and you'll still have to cover the excess amount yourself.
If you don't have comprehensive cover, you may be able to claim from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau for compensation relating to personal injuries and other losses, although these are currently subject to a £300 excess.