Without doubt, he would have given me permission to ride his bike on his insurance policy; or allow me to ride it via my own policy.

However, unless he is coming back from the other side, he can’t do that. So my question is: can I legally ride his bike to his funeral? I think ultimately the bike is going to pass to my uncle (who is also a big biker) under my grandad’s Will so I don’t think he will mind. However, that is probably going to take some time.


Firstly, you have my genuine condolences. Losing a family member is always difficult and with Covid-19, it is making matters even more difficult.

Regarding your particular question, my heart wants to say you should ride it, but my legal head has alarm bells ringing. Firstly, do not assume you are insured without looking carefully at the policies (do not just rely on the insurance company call handler!). Whilst I haven’t seen your granddad’s particular insurance policy, many terminate on the death of the main policy holder, and this may leave the bike uninsured and/or another rider uninsured if they ride it.

Further, if you wanted to ride the bike third party by way of your own policy, in my experience, it usually states the owner of the other bike must give permission for you to do that. Now to state the obvious, your granddad can’t do that and in fact it will need to be the ‘new owner’ after the bike passes in accordance with his Will.

The general thrust is that when someone dies you are meant to tell the DVLA. Ultimately, the Triumph will pass to the correct person under the Will, at which time the V5 will need to be sorted and the bike can be insured, etc.

If you can get all this done before the funeral, then no problem. If you can’t and you were involved in an accident whilst riding the bike, I could see all kinds of issues either with the Police and/or an insurer trying to unpick it.

I had a client recently whose insurer had to pay out £130,000 to someone he hit. The insurer was then seeking that money back from my client for failing to comply with the policy and their case had legs. I wouldn’t want you to end up in the same position, especially as your intention is entirely honourable.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes February 2021