Unless you have protected no claims bonus, your no claims is shot. Even if you have protected no claims your premium is likely to go up because your risk has increased. You have, after all written your motorcycle off. So you will have a loaded policy to which your no claims will attach.

To rub a grain or two into the wound, if, aggrieved by your policy cost rising, you want to move insurers then don’t expect another company to recognise the contract to protect your NCB. Contract has a concept called ‘privity’, which means only the contracting parties are bound by the arrangement.

No claims bonus

Sure, your insurers will say you have ten years NCB but your crash five months ago will be registered on the mysterious Gibraltar based database which the insurers pay a fee to look at but do not control, carefully making sure they are not data holders within the meaning of the Data Protection Act.

As a matter of well established law, insurers insure risk. Once that risk has occurred, then the policy is over and the premium is payable in full. So if you have bought your policy for £6oo, used it for one month, and your motorcycle is written off, you will not be entitled to a refund on your unused £550. The insurers covered the risk of that bike for one year and in one year, the bike was written off.

If you are bringing a claim against another driver, your unused premium may be recoverable. Sadly there are two contradictory cases on this point but the courts are fairly sympathetic to losses arising from another harming you. Your contract of insurance is governed by, well, your contract but that contract has no ‘privity’ with the driver who knocked you off. The driver who sent your expensive pride and joy down the road has got bugger all to do with that contract so the usual rule of damages apply, namely losses naturally and foreseeably flowing from the harm caused are recoverable.

Fully comp

So, in the event of your bike being damaged in an accident where you have a solid claim against the other driver, should you use your fully comp policy?

I would. Your insurer will fix your bike quickly and usually with a franchised repairer, and thus keep any warranty intact. Unlike cars, motorcycle manufacturers can insist on only franchised dealers getting a spanner on your bike or invalidating your warranty. Your own insurer will send the repair bill off to the other driver’s insurers, they will tot up how many vehicles they have repaired which your insurer is at fault for against the repairs your insurers have made on their liabilities and send each other the difference.

Older riders may recall this as the ‘knock for knock’ agreement. Your no claims will be reinstated and the other driver’s insurers will meet your excess so long as you ask. If you let your bike disappear into the gaping maw of credit repairs and ‘approved repairers’ expect it to disappear for months as storage charges and various pointless flummery gets attached. You have paid for fully comp so use your insurance where your insurer has a contractual obligation to fix your motorcycle.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine January 2022