Annual mileage is a major factor in insurance policies. The more you ride, the greater the risk. Then again, some insurers see it the other way. Regular riders, goes the logic, are more practiced and more competent on the road. Therefore, they’re safer. Therefore they pay less.
Ditto for age. Younger is generally riskier. But being significantly older can also carry a penalty. Owning a car and a motorcycle might well work in your favour (see elsewhere on this page), or it might work against you. Once again, when looking for quotes, you need to ask and pitch yourself accordingly. That’s not to say you should ever lie. But there are truths within truths, and how you present yourself to the computer can make a difference.
So you just have to accept whatever quote comes your way?
Not necessarily. If you think you’re getting a particularly lousy or irrational quote, remember that you can always ask to speak to the supervisors. These people are usually hovering around the insurance office dealing with queries that are beyond the remit and control of the sales staff, and these supervisors often have a fair amount of latitude. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they can ultimately override the whims of the computer. But they can usually tweak the discount numbers.
Winding back the clock
"Clocking" is commonplace. It's illegal. It's fraud. Your mother will tell you off. And you could go to jail for it. But in practice, hardly anyone ever does (unless they're clocking vehicles on a larger/industrial scale such as at a motorcycle dealership).
The practice simply involves actually winding back the miles on a mileometer/odometer, or switching speedometers, or disconnecting the speedo cable. Or whatever.
We don't recommend you do anything illegal (and not simply because the law might tune into this channel). Firstly, it's immoral. Well okay, forget that. Instead, just keep in mind that insurance assessors are shrewd. You might play a dodgy game once or twice a year, but the assessors are exploring these games day in, day out. And they know all the tricks.
They might, for instance, check credit card statements to see how far and how widely you're buying fuel. So if you own just a single motorcycle and no car, they'll note your recent bike ride from Lands End to John O'Groats and back (or wherever), and will see that the 874 miles each way doesn't tally with the fact that you're claiming a mileage of only 1,000 miles per annum overall.
They might check MOT certificates to see if you got advisories for tyres or brakes pads, and they might inspect the items in question and draw whatever conclusions present themselves.
They might check social media sites and find a posting about your legendary ride around the British Isles or across Europe.
They might ask your wife/husband when your back is turned.
They might count the flies splattered on your screen.
They might slyly interrogate you about bike shows you've visited.
They might count the trophies/awards for furthest travelled rider.
They might do a lot of things.
So, we recommend you play it straight and pay da man. And remember that if you have a crash or have a bike stolen, you could lose the (potentially huge) payout if there are significant discrepancies.
Be smart. Stay legal.
Make sure you ask about mileage limits, and try and be realistic. On one of our bikes, we recently realised that we'd covered over 9,000 miles in seven months when we'd "budgeted" for just 5,000 for the year.
It's easy to lose track, especially if you're covering a lot of daily mileage running small errands here and there. It racks up, and your innocent mistake could look like fraudulent activity.
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