It turns out he was making a bloomin’ video for You-Tok or Tik-Tube or some other nonsense with his mate. (Yes, I know I sound like a grumpy old bastard… because I am!) I properly hit him, and I thought he was seriously done for.

Luckily, he bounced pretty well and both he and I got up off the floor pretty much unscathed. However, my three week-old Triumph Rocket 3 on the other hand was not so good. After I hit him, I wobbled near enough to a stop but then fell over. I have a quote of £3,377.21 to fix it. I am now pondering whether to claim off my fully comprehensive insurance policy or go after the lad. As everyone knows everyone in my village, I know he’s about 20 years old and lives with his nan after his mum and dad split up. I also know he hasn’t got too much in the way of cash as he has just started an apprenticeship as a carpenter.

My insurer is trying to put me off claiming from them, saying it will affect my no-claim bonus. They said they will put me in touch with a third-party company at no cost to me and I will get a free hire bike, etc. However, I’ve read online that some people have been proper stitched up by this company. What should I do?


I am getting more and more calls of ‘helpful’ insurers trying to put their customers off from claiming from them. In short, you have paid your money to insure a risk. If that risk happens, i.e. your Triumph gets trashed, then your insurer should pay out for that risk, if you want to claim. It’s as simple as that. Whilst your no-claim bonus will be affected, your bike should be repaired and back on the road sooner rather than later.

Alternatively, you could go after the lad, and you may even win 100%. However, if he hasn’t got a pot to piddle in, you will either never get your money; or it will take him several years to pay it. Neither is good for the speedy repair of your bike.

As for the third-party company, you’re right to question their motivations. There is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’ as they say, and they make their money off recovering/storing and hiring bikes, etc. If you sign paperwork that says you’re liable for these costs, and they do not recover their outlay from the lad, guess who they will be coming after? You guessed it, you.

One of the worst cases I have seen is a £17,000 storage/ hire case when the bike had about £500 worth of damage. In my view, it was scandalous and a lot of stress for the poor biker who they were chasing for money after they didn’t get it from the third party.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes April 2023