Breaking down in a car can be a frustrating and stressful experience. However, breaking down on a motorbike can be far more trying. Being stranded in an unfamiliar location without shelter or emergency supplies can be extremely unpleasant. As a result, it is important that when choosing a breakdown service you choose a provider with an adequate response time that specialises in recovery and repair for motorbikes.
When it comes to assisting clients, many breakdown companies will give higher priorities to those in need. As a motorcyclist, however, you will only be given priority if you are in a dangerous predicament. Statistics show that the average response time for motorbike assistance is 40 minutes. Some providers will even offer a guarantee should they take more than an hour to arrive.
Depending on your situation, you can choose to cover yourself or your vehicle. Typically, most individuals choose to cover their vehicle, as the policy is cheaper when covering a single motorbike. On the other hand, if you frequently drive other motorbikes you may wish to cover yourself, as this will allow you to receive breakdown assistance regardless of the vehicle you are driving.
It is also essential that you ensure your motorbike qualifies under the terms and conditions set forth by your provider. Many providers will not cover motorbikes with engines smaller than 50cc. Others may not provide comprehensive coverage beyond the UK mainland, excluding regions such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Recovery following an accidents is excluded as well, with any callouts being charged to the policyholder in full.
Helmet & Leathers Insurance
In addition to breakdown cover, every motorbike user should also be sure to cover themselves for damage to their helmet, leathers, and protective clothing. In fact, often times you can bundle these two insurance products together to receive a substantial discount.
For example, Bennetts has a promotional 50% discount for those who opt for an all-inclusive policy that includes RAC breakdown cover, personal accident insurance, and cover for helmet and leathers.
Coverage Types for Motorbikes
Breakdown cover for motorbikes is usually offered in three separate levels. The best coverage for you depends on your individual needs. Those who require a more comprehensive service will tend to opt for a more expensive tier, whereas lower levels offer less cost in exchange for fewer amenities.
Honestly evaluating what extras you deem necessary and what is basically superfluous can help you determine which policy is most suitable. If things you require are lumped in with unnecessary benefits, try shopping around for a more ideal coverage, or call the provider and see if you can purchase a lesser plan with your desired benefits added on.
The following are the three basic tiers of motorbike breakdown cover:
The basic level of cover offers roadside assistance, repair and recovery. If the bike cannot be fixed at the roadside, it will be towed to a nearby garage. This package usually is priced around £40 per year.
The intermediate level of cover comes with all the benefits of a basic policy with a few added amenities. This can come in the form of Fix at Home services or onward travel compensation. Onward travel normally gives the policyholder the option of alternative transportation to their destination or emergency overnight accommodation.
For cars these benefits apply to both you and your passengers, but the terms may vary for motorbikes depending on whether the bike was lawfully operated.
The most expensive tier of coverage comes with every benefit a company can offer, which includes full coverage for breakdowns in Europe. Courtesy vehicles may also be supplied for up to 72 hours in the event your motorbike requires garage repair. Prices can go as high as £150 a year for this type of breakdown cover, even for a single policy.
Average Wait Times
Unlike those with cars or caravans, bike owners cannot find easy shelter while waiting for a mechanic, which can be problematic when dealing with cold or inclement weather. Therefore before you agree to a specific policy, you want to confirm that they have a response time guarantee. Callout times can vary depending on your need, as motoring organisations give priority to those who are in immediate danger.
On average, roadside assistance takes 40 minutes to arrive on the scene of a breakdown, and most companies guarantee that they will reach you within an hour regardless of whether you are in distress.
Recommended Motorbike Breakdown Providers
The following is a list of providers who offer breakdown cover for motorbikes:
Any motorbike with an engine over 50cc in size is covered by the AA, so long as it can be legally operated on public highways. They offer four tiers of coverage depending on your needs, including Home Start packages and European Cover. Standard roadside assistance starts from £28 per year.
As one of the larger breakdown providers in the UK, the RAC offers motorbike breakdown cover standard with the purchase of a breakdown policy. Furthermore, their special motorbike offering includes recovery for motorbike trailers, and their flatbed recovery vehicles are all equipped with motorbike stands.
Their patrols in the London area are privy to special motorbike assistance training, increasing the likelihood that you will have your problem fixed at roadside. Contrary to most providers, the RAC will also provide assistance following an accident. Common repairs performed by their engineers include battery issues, exhaust difficulties, non-starts, and inner tube replacement on smaller motorbikes. Cover starts from £28 for basic policies.
Green Flag prides itself on swift and expedited service. Their response time of 30 minutes is far quicker than the average for roadside assistance. Moreover, they back up their claim with a £10 money back guarantee should they fail to arrive within an hour. Their recovery network also has a fleet of flatbed lorries tailor made to recover motorbikes. Breakdown cover starts from £25 per year.
All GEM Breakdown policies can be applied to motorbikes as well as cars. GEM offers more flexible pricing options, with their ‘pay and claim’ options providing cheaper premiums in exchange for paying for repair and recovery costs upfront. Once the situation is resolved, a claim can be filed afterward to reimburse you for the recovery expenses. Cover begins at £51.25 annually.