Insurance

Motorcycle insurance: which add-ons do you need?

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Source: iStock / Jag_cz

When you take out motorbike insurance, you can be faced with a whole host of cover options to choose from. If you're not familiar with them all, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Comparis explains what cover is recommended and when.

Motorcycle insurance is similar to car insurance in that every motorcycle owner is required by law to take out liability insurance, while partial or full casco cover is usually optional (except with a lease). And just like car drivers, motorbike riders can add extra cover to their policy like roadside assistance or damage while parked. But which type of protection do bikers really need? Comparis sheds light on the matter.

What level of motorcycle insurance cover is compulsory?

To register a motorcycle, you will need to take out motorcycle liability insurance. This covers any damage you might cause to third parties with your motorbike. Partial and full casco insurance, on the other hand, cover damage caused to your own bike.

Partial casco insurance covers damage to a stationary vehicle caused by external events such as theft, natural hazards (hail, rockfall, floods etc.), fire, acts of vandalism (excluding scratches and dents) and marten damage. Partial casco also covers damage caused by collisions with wild animals.

Full casco insurance is a combination of partial and collision casco. The latter covers damage caused by the rider to the bike, such as in a rear-end collision.

How long is it worth taking out full casco insurance for?

Casco insurance is a good idea for newer motorcycles: partial casco for vehicles up to seven years and full casco for vehicles up to four years from first registration. Whether you need to continue with these insurance types after that depends mainly on your personal budget considerations.

Good to know: full casco insurance is compulsory for leased vehicles.

Which add-ons are recommended?

You can add the following options to the standard cover:

Personal effects

The personal effects option covers personal items carried by the rider and passenger in the event of theft as well as damage in connection with an event covered by casco insurance. High-value items such as cash, credit cards, securities and jewellery are excluded. Electronic devices, motorcycle clothing and professional tools are often not included in the cover either.

Our tip: since any personal effects you take with you are often already covered by your home contents insurance for theft, this option is not absolutely necessary. If your contents insurance already includes accidental damage to home contents, then this option is definitely superfluous.

Motorcycle clothing

You can take out the helmet and leathers option to cover accidental damage to motorcycle clothing. Theft cover is also included if the items in question were kept in a locked container or secured using a helmet lock. If you already have accidental damage cover through your contents insurance, you do not need this option.

Damage while parked

The damage while parked option covers scratches and dents caused by unknown third parties to a parked motorcycle. It sometimes also covers graffiti and spraying damage caused by unknown third parties.

Our tip: if you have a new motorcycle and often park it in public parking spaces, you should definitely consider this cover.

Bonus protection 

This cover protects you from moving up a bonus level in the premium level system used in liability and casco insurance, after you make the first claim of the year. This prevents your insurance premium from going up the following year.

Our tip: include this option in your cover. The additional cost of bonus protection is negligible especially when compared with a potential increase in premiums.

Good to know: some insurers use fixed premiums and do not apply a bonus level system. This means that the premium will not change if you make a claim. These insurance companies are particularly attractive to young drivers, as these drivers are normally assigned to a high premium level.

Gross negligence cover

If you add gross negligence cover to your policy, the insurer will waive the reduction in benefits (right of recovery) in the event of a grossly negligent violation of traffic rules. Gross negligence in this context includes failing to stop at a stop sign or exceeding the speed limit, for example.

Our tip: since the extra cost is usually minimal and a grossly negligent violation of traffic rules can happen even to careful drivers, this cover is recommended.

Accident insurance, breakdown cover and waiver of suspension – consider carefully

Accident insurance 

The accident insurance option protects riders and/or passengers against the financial consequences of an accident.

Our tip: it is mainly worth taking out if you ride with passengers from abroad who have inadequate accident cover. However, if both rider and passenger are resident in Switzerland, this option is usually unnecessary, as they are usually covered by their employer or by their health insurance. Examine the details of cover carefully to avoid doubling up on insurance.

Breakdown cover / roadside assistance

This type of insurance provides support in an emergency. Cover varies between insurers, ranging from breakdown services and vehicle repatriation to accommodation and return journey for the vehicle users.

Our tip: if you are a member of Touring Club Schweiz (TCS) or are already covered under a travel policy, you can do without this cover. Otherwise, it's worth adding it to your policy. Don't forget that some insurers automatically include this cover in their partial casco insurance.

Waiver of suspension

The waiver of suspension option allows motorcyclists to avoid having to deposit their number plates during the winter months. Although insurance premiums still have to be paid for the full year, you usually get a premium discount of 25-30%.

Our tip: whether a waiver of suspension is a worthwhile investment must be considered on an individual basis. If you do not ride your motorbike for six months during the winter, it's probably worth depositing the number plates. 

Summary

The rates and specific cover offered by these add-ons can vary quite considerably depending on the insurer and the policy. It is therefore always worth getting a few quotes and comparing them carefully.

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