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Information written by Rhiannon Philps Last updated on 19 April 2022.

What is motorcycle breakdown cover?

Motorcycle breakdown cover is just the same as car breakdown cover. It is a policy that means, should your vehicle stop working, you can call your breakdown provider for immediate assistance.

Rather than trying to find a mechanic to come and help you while you’re standing at the side of the road, you’ll know that once you’ve contacted your provider, help will soon be on its way.

Many breakdown cover policies will cover motorbikes, mopeds and scooters, as well as cars, vans and other vehicles, with similar levels of protection available for all vehicles.

What types of motorcycle breakdown cover are there?

Motorbike breakdown cover is available as a personal or vehicle policy.

Choosing personal motorbike breakdown cover means you are covered by the policy, as opposed to your vehicle. This means that you can use your breakdown cover whether you are riding your bike, riding pillion on another bike, or using a car or another vehicle.

Vehicle breakdown cover is normally cheaper than personal cover, as the cover only applies to the vehicle named on the policy. This means you will only be covered when riding the specified bike.

» MORE: Should I get personal or vehicle cover?

What’s included in motorcycle breakdown cover?

Just like breakdown cover for cars and other vehicles, motorcycle breakdown cover comes with varying levels of protection.

  • Roadside assistance is the basis of all breakdown policies. If you break down, it will make sure a mechanic comes to try to fix your car at the scene and, if further work is needed, they will take you to a nearby garage. With a stand-alone roadside assistance policy, the help will end there. However, if you have a more comprehensive policy, you can get further protection.

  • National recovery, also known as vehicle recovery, is similar to roadside assistance, except you can choose to be taken to any destination rather than the local garage. This can allow you to get home or continue your journey, to minimise the disruption of the breakdown.

  • Onward travel is the most comprehensive level of cover. As well as the above, you are covered for the costs of any accommodation or alternative transport you may incur if your car needs to stay in the garage for a while. Providers will set a limit on how much you can claim on replacement transport or accommodation.

  • Home start cover is another key element of breakdown cover. It means that, if your vehicle stops working at home or within a certain distance of your home, you can still claim assistance. Without this, most policies won’t cover you if you break down close to home. Home start may be included with policies or be available as an add-on.

There is also an option to get European motorcycle breakdown cover if you plan to ride your bike abroad. It offers the same recovery features as if you were in the UK, and some European policies will also cover the costs of getting you and your vehicle back to the UK if necessary. It is available as a single-trip policy or an annual policy.

You may be able to add some extra features to your motorcycle breakdown cover including:

  • Key cover
  • Parts and labour cover

What are common exclusions with motorcycle breakdown cover?

Motorbike breakdown cover comes with many of the same exclusions as other types of breakdown cover. For example, you may not be covered if:

  • You break down because you haven’t looked after your bike and kept it in good condition.
  • You break down at home or close to home (unless you have home start cover).
  • You have already used the maximum number of call-outs available with your cover.
  • You call your provider for help about the same problem.
  • You use your bike for business.

Motorbikes will also need to meet the provider’s criteria to qualify for cover. For example, bikes may need to be within a certain age limit and be above a certain cylinder capacity (CC), while some providers may not cover certain types of bikes, such as electric bikes, under their standard policies.

How do I get a quote?

To get a quote for motorcycle breakdown cover, you will need the following information:

  • Your name and other personal details.
  • The number plate of your bike.
  • Whether you want personal or vehicle cover.
  • What level of cover you want and if you want any extra features added to your policy.
  • Whether you want to pay annually or monthly.

What should I do if I break down?

If your motorbike breaks down, the priority is to pull over as safely and quickly as possible. Once you are out of immediate danger from oncoming traffic, you can then call for help.

It may be an idea to carry a reflective jacket whenever you ride your bike, just in case you break down. Especially if you need to wait at the side of a busy road, wearing a reflective jacket can help make sure you are clearly visible to other road users and so minimise the risk of an accident.

» MORE: What to do when you break down

Motorbike Breakdown Cover FAQs

Is personal-based motorbike breakdown cover better than vehicle-based cover?

Not necessarily. Both types of cover have their pros and cons. Personal motorbike cover is likely to be more expensive, but it should cover you no matter what vehicle you use, not just with your own bike. You will also have cover if you are a passenger.

Vehicle-based cover will normally be cheaper as cover only applies to the bike named on the policy. This is likely to be the best option if you only ride your bike and rarely use any other vehicles.

What levels of motorbike breakdown cover are there?

Motorbike breakdown cover is available with different levels of protection. You could choose a basic policy which simply offers roadside assistance to make sure you’re not stranded by the side of the road if you break down. But there are also other policies which offer more cover, including home start recovery, national recovery to any UK location, and alternative transport or accommodation. Some providers may also offer optional extras to further increase your cover.

Do all motorbike breakdown policies offer similar options?

Yes, all motorbike breakdown policies will offer emergency assistance and will help you to get to a nearby garage to repair your car as standard. However, details will vary between providers and you can get additional options depending on the level of cover you choose.

Can I get European motorcycle breakdown cover?

Yes, European motorbike breakdown cover is available if you are planning to ride your bike abroad. If your provider offers it, you may be able to add it to your existing policy. With European breakdown cover you would just need to call your provider if you break down, rather than trying to find a nearby garage that can help you.

What parts of Europe are covered if I choose European motorbike breakdown cover?

This will depend on your policy and where you plan to travel. Most providers will offer different policies for different “zones” in Europe, so you will need to get a policy that covers the countries you will be riding your bike in.

Is breakdown cover in Europe essential?

Breakdown cover isn’t legally required when you ride your motorbike in Europe, but it does come in handy should anything happen. If you break down in Europe without cover, you would need to sort out recovery yourself. Arranging an emergency call-out and the subsequent repairs are likely to be very time-consuming and expensive, so taking out cover before your trip is likely to make things easier and also be considerably cheaper.

Is my European motorbike breakdown policy valid following Brexit?

Your European breakdown cover shouldn’t be affected by Brexit, although you should check with the individual provider to confirm this.

However, there are other changes to be aware of if you plan to travel to the EU, including what documents you need to take. Find out more about driving in Europe post-Brexit.

How many times can I claim on my motorcycle breakdown cover?

This will vary between providers. Some will set a maximum limit per year, while others will have unlimited call-outs. However, even if you have unlimited call-outs, you still won’t be covered if you try to make a claim for the same, recurring problem.

Do I have to pay an excess?

Breakdown cover won’t normally charge you an excess when you make a claim. However, there are a few policies that may give you the option of paying an excess for each claim in return for a cheaper policy premium.

Will I be covered if I break down at home?

It depends if you have chosen home start cover or not. Most standard policies won’t automatically cover you if you break down at home or within a certain radius of home, but if you have the home start option, you will be covered.

Will I be covered if I drive a car?

This depends on the type of cover you have. If you have a vehicle-based policy, you will only have cover for the bike/vehicle named on the policy. However, if you have personal cover, you should be covered whether you are riding your bike or in a car.

Am I covered if I ride someone else’s motorbike?

If you have personal breakdown cover, then you are covered whatever bike or vehicle you use (as long as you are insured to use it). However, if you only have vehicle breakdown cover then your cover will only be valid when you ride your specified bike.

About the author:

Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more

Compare Breakdown Cover

2 products found
  • GEM Motoring Assist logo

    Motorbike Cover

    • Available
      • Roadside Assistance
      • National Recovery
      • Home Start
      • Onward Travel
      • European Cover
    • Personal
      Price (From)
    • Vehicle
      Price (From)
      Option unavailable
  • AA logo

    Motorbike Cover

    • Available
      • Roadside Assistance
      • National Recovery
      • Home Start
      • Onward Travel
    • Personal
      Price (From)
    • Vehicle
      Price (From)

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