Hailstorm, marten or theft: what risks should you insure your bike against?

Full casco or partial casco? That depends on the motorcyclist. Source: iStock / Kesu01

Motorcyclists have to take out motor vehicle liability insurance; all other kinds of insurance are optional. Which of the latter are worth considering and how can you find the cheapest insurance?

Motor vehicle liability insurance is mandatory. It covers the damage that drivers inflict to third parties with their motorcycle.

Comprehensive insurance (partial casco and collision casco) and occupants insurance are optional. Partial casco includes, among other things, damage due to hailstorms, martens and, most of all, theft. This insurance usually pays off, not least of all because the theft rate is significantly higher with motorcycles than with cars while much fewer cases are ever solved. For example in 2012 more than 2300 motorcycles were stolen in Switzerland while "only" about 1900 cars fell into the hands of thieves.

Full casco insurance is a combination of partial and collision coverage. It covers the damage to the policyholder's motorcycle, for instance following a collision not involving any third party or object or a collision with another road user or object caused by the policyholder. Full casco insurance is worth buying for newer or more expensive motorcycles.

Sunshine premiums
The number plates may be deposited at the Road Traffic Licensing Department (Strassenverkehrsamt) to avoid paying premiums during the winter. The insurance company will not charge any premiums during this suspension period so that, ultimately, you will have to pay less. However, make sure that risks such as theft from your garage continue to be insured. This option mainly makes sense for drivers who only use their motorcycle during a few months of the year, since depositing and re-registering the number plates is also subject to charges.

Many insurers also offer the possibility to waive suspension. This means that the policyholder will not have to deposit the number plates. Instead, he/she pays a flat premium for the entire year because, taking into account that the motorcycle is used very little during the winter months, the insurer grants the policyholder a discount of 25 to 30 percent. Another advantage of this option is that the motorcycle remains ready to be used, i.e. the policyholder is able to take it out in winter, too, weather permitting.

Saving on insurance increases the pleasure of driving
For you to be able to enjoy riding your motorcycle – and not having to think about the expensive insurance premium – we recommend comparing premiums before taking out an insurance. Usually, it is possible to change insurance at the end of the insurance year (while observing a three-month notice period), if contract terms change or following a claim.