Motorcycle insurance is different to cars. Bike crashes tend to cause much more damage to the bike, but less to other vehicles and/or people.

It doesn’t take much to write a bike off-sometimes a scratch on the frame will be sufficient (because to replace the frame the whole bike has to be stripped and rebuilt-that’s a lot of labour time).

And bikes are much easier to steal. Many owners don’t use any security other than the bike’s own steering lock and even if they do, it’s al I too easy for a thief to lift a bike into the back of a van and sort out the security later.

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But motorcycle insurance is still cheaper than car insurance, especially when you consider the performance because motorcycle accidents quite often don’t involve anyone else. You don’t get the huge compensation claims for whiplash etc. arising from bike accidents. Normally when another party is involved with a motorcycle, it’s the car that’s at fault.

Like cars, bikes are sorted into insurance groups. A 90cc commuter bike is likely to be in group 1 and a 998cc supersports bike will occupy group 17.

Premiums rise according to the bike you ride, where you live, your age, experience and insurance history, plus the type of riding you’ll be doing and what sort of security you have.

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Checking a bike’s insurance history is a must because they are so easily stolen or written off in an accident.

An HPI check (or similar, there are plenty of companies now offering these checks) will tell you whether a used bike has been stolen or written off or still has finance owing on it. A written­off machine isn’t necessarily a bad buy -bikes can be written off for fairly minor damage.

There are four categories of write-off -A, B, C and D. Category A bikes have usually sustained serious damage and should only be broken for spares, while category D machines have had lighter, mostly cosmetic damage that made them uneconomical to repair.

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As an example, let’s take a 10-year ­old sports bike, valued at £2500, that takes a low-speed tumble scuffing the top fairing, middle panel, tank and seat unit.

Add in a replacement mirror, screen and indicator – to replace with new parts would be around £1500 for parts plus £200 labour. So the bike is written off. But you as an impoverished buyer might be happy to live with a few scuffs and scrapes, replace the mirror, screen and indicators and enjoy a scarred, but basically sound bike for a bargain price.

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