Motorcycle Insurance Garage Clause:
A clause contained in the small print of your policy – which could leave you without a bike.
In reality, I suspect that the majority of people don’t read the small print. It may therefore come as a surprise to many bikers that the motorcycle insurance garage clause can cause major problems if your bike is stolen from your home.
Motorcycle Insurance Policies: Beware the small print!
Let me give you an example. I was comparing insurance quotes for our motorcycle. I had received a renewal quote from Carol Nash Insurance confirming renewal details for the existing policy.
An alternative quote, obtained from MCE Insurance, was slightly higher but it gave cover for 15 months rather than for 12. The policy seemed to be good value and I decided to accept the MCE quote by phone.
Quite properly, before proceeding with the policy, the representative at MCE quickly ran through the main terms of the policy. In the list of main policy points was this little gem:
“If the motorcycle is stolen from outside your home address, the insurers may
double the excess or may refuse to deal with the claim”
If the motorcycle is stolen from outside my house it isn’t covered?
Yes, you read that correctly. If the bike was stolen from outside my home the insurers could double the excess on the claim or, worse still, refuse to pay the claim. I was not happy with this clause!
The MCE representative explained that this was a standard garage clause: a clause included in policies where the motorcycle is stated to be kept in a garage.
The small print in your motorbike insurance policy matters!
As a lawyer I’ll admit to being slightly obsessed with the ‘small print’ and I pointed out that the words “…may double the excess or may refuse to deal with the claim” did not make it clear the circumstances in which the claim would not be paid in the event of a theft from outside my home. There was absolutely no way that I was going to sign up to a policy with such a clause.
The garage clause could leave you with no bike
The MCE representative went off to check the actual policy wording. She then confirmed that, under the terms of the policy, the bike would NOT be covered against theft if it was stolen ‘from outside or within the vicinity of my home address‘.
The bike was covered if it was stolen from inside the garage. It was not covered it was stolen from outside.
Think about it:
- You get the bike out ready to go for a ride with a friend and leave it ready on the drive whilst you wait for the friend to arrive. Bike is stolen = no cover
- You leave the bike outside the house while you go to lock up the garage or nip inside back inside to fetch something. Bike stolen = not covered.
- You wash your bike and leave it outside to fully dry off. Bike is stolen = not covered.
Garage Clauses: Are They Fair?
I accept that, if a policy is offered on the basis that the bike will be garaged, it is only fair to the insurers that the bike is kept in a garage when not in use.
It is clear, however, that there are lots of genuine reasons why the bike could be left outside the house for a short time. Under the terms of the policy being offered by MCE, my fully comprehensive insurance would not cover the bike if it was stolen from outside my home at any time.
Are all motorcycle insurance garage clauses the same?
When I queried the MCE garage clause I was told that it was a ‘standard’ garaging clause used by most insurers. I’m afraid that I didn’t accept this.
I checked my old policy which confirmed that the bike would not covered if stolen from outside my home address between 10pm and 6 am. This was a reasonable clause to ensure that the bike was kept in the garage overnight.
Needless to say, I didn’t insure the bike with MCE.
When did you last check the small print on your motorcycle policy?
It’s absolutely fine to shop around and try to find a low premium for cover, but always remember that not all insurance policies are alike.
Insurance terms and conditions vary from policy to policy. It is important that you always check the small print. Make sure that the policy is providing you with the cover that you need.
If you tell your insurer that the bike will be garaged the policy will include a ‘garaging clause’. Remember: the conditions of that garage clause will vary policy to policy.
My advice – double check your motorcycle insurance garage clause, and the rest of the policy, to make sure that you are really happy with the cover on offer.
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