Read the small print

Read the small print

I have, or I should say I had, an old ZZR1100. To say I love this bike is an understatement.

I have had it for over 20 years and it was polished to within an inch of its life. About a month ago I left it on my drive overnight as I had an early start the next day. The plan was to head south to catch a ferry and head off on a two-week jolly around Spain. And then my ZZR got nicked.

Now whilst I accept my holiday is a financial write-off, I didn’t expect my insurer to shaft me. I’ve been with the same insurer for 10 years and spent thousands with them. However, they are refusing to pay out for my bike being nicked.

They reckon they can rely on the ‘small print’ that says if I do not keep it in a garage overnight, they don’t have to pay out. I think I may have told them I kept it in a garage overnight, but I can’t remember.

Some friends online have said I should sue them or contact the Financial Ombudsman Service and make them pay. Do you reckon I will win?


You need to check the insurance policy itself to see if they can refuse to pay out. If there is nothing in the policy about it being garaged, you need to raise a formal complaint with your insurer.

If that does not get a result then make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. If that does not work, then you can get legal advice with a view to starting legal action. However, if the policy says the bike must be garaged overnight at your home address and it wasn’t, then they will be well within their rights not to pay out.

Whilst I appreciate it’s a bitter pill to swallow, the insurance premium would have been set in line with the risk they have to the insurer. So the bigger the risk, the higher premium cost. Therefore, if you have not complied with the terms of the policy they can refuse to pay-out.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast

Motorcycle Monthly July 2019

Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Last modified: March 23, 2020 at 9:37 am

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.


  1. Barry TurnerMarch 27, 2020

    Makes no difference…. They will shaft you anyway. Google ‘Motorbike Garage’ and you will find lots of folding bike garages that can be bolted to a hardstand. Like mine was. Additionally I had a blacksmith craft 2 hasps so that the ‘door’ end could be locked to the floor. Inside my beloved KTM Duke (alarmed) was secured with chain and ground anchor. Didn’t stop gang stealing it. 2nd blow came when insurers reduced payout by 1/3 because they claimed it was not a garage. So that’s 2 gangs of crooks!

  2. Nicholas KotarskiMarch 28, 2020

    The difference in premium between being garaged and not being garaged is usually miniscule which is why I never say my bike is garaged but kept on the drive, just in case I need to leave it out after a rare wash it gets.

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About Motorcycle Monthly

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The MCM legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew 'Chef' Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.

The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences.

White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law, and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.

White Dalton is Britain’s premier specialist motorcycle law practice, and if its professionals don’t know the answer to your question, there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice.

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