Motorbike insurance terms explained

Last updated by on April 25th, 2023

Alert: Some on the information on this page may no longer be relevant post-Brexit. For the most up to date information, please visit GOV.UK

When it comes to motorcycle insurance, there are lots of different terms, phrases and jargon to get your head around.

It’s easier not to bother learning what some lingo means if it’s something you hardly ever need but when the language involved could save you money or be the difference between a successful insurance claim or an unsuccessful one, learning a couple of phrases becomes a bit more important.

Levels of cover

The different levels of motorbike cover are the same as car insurance. Comprehensive provides the highest level of cover and third party the lowest.

Classes of motorbike use

There are three main classes of use;

  • Social domestic and pleasure (SDP) – a basic usage that excludes commuting and business use
  • Social including commuting – The next level of usage includes SDP and commuting
  • Class 1 business use – This covers riders who use their bike for work purposes in addition to commuting.


Excess is the amount of money you need to pay when you make a claim There are two different types of excess;

  • Compulsary – the amount set by your insurer
  • Voluntary – an additional amount that you agree to pay.

Breakdown cover

Provides road side assistance in the unfortunate event of a breakdown.

No claims bonus (NCB)

No claims bonus is a discount insurance providers apply to your premium. The NCB increases each year that you are accident and claim free.

Green Card

A Green Card is an international motorbike insurance document. It shows that you are insured to ride in that particular country and can be used as proof of insurance.

You should check your insurance policy to see whether it includes a Green Card for travel abroad.

Security devices

These are the tools you use to secure your motorbike against theft or damage when it is not in use. There are various security devices available including disc locks, chains and padlocks.

Your insurer will have a list of approved security devices and using one can reduce the amount you pay for your bike insurance policy.

Laid Up

Laid Up motorbike insurance is a form of cover for anyone who keeps their bike in storage, usually over winter. It gives very basic cover that protects your bike from theft or damage but you cannot ride your bike on a Laid Up policy.

Motorbike insurance terms explained

Multi Bike

If you own more than one motorbike, Multi Bike insurance can save you money and reduce hassle because your multiple policies are bundled into one.

Temporary insurance

As the name suggests, Temporary insurance is another name for Short Term insurance.

Pay as you go insurance

Pay as you go insurance is another name for Short Term insurance.

Legal Expenses Cover

A type of insurance which typically provides up to £100,000 to cover the cost of legal action taken by or against the policy holder

What is Personal Accident Cover

Usually an optional add on to your insurance policy – providing compensation for certain injuries or death caused by a road accident,when you can’t claim from a third party.


Related articles you may find useful

How to get the cheapest motorbike insurance
Making an insurance claim
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