I insured my motorcycle six months ago and it was stolen last week. I reported it to my insurer, and it is now telling me it wants to ‘void’ the policy and not pay out.

It says I lied on the insurance form by selecting the box ‘bike stored in a locked garage’ – I live in a flat in London and my bike is locked in the flat’s underground car park, for which you need a key.

In addition, there is a chain around my bike to which only I have the key. This sounds really unfair, and the insurer was happy to take my premium. It feels as if the company is just trying to avoid paying out. Help!


The insurance world changed in 2013 with the arrival of the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012, aka CIDR. No. Not alcoholic beverages. This changed the law in as much as your duty, as a biker, was to not make a misrepresentation to the insurer. The ‘old’ law was much wider and meant you had a duty to disclose all facts that a prudent underwriter might consider material. The obvious difficulty was, how do you know what the insurer considers material? You’ re not an insurer!

The new law, while much better for the consumer, can still cause some problems. In your case, it appears you selected a drop-down box option and selected ‘locked garage’ when buying the policy. I can also see from your postal address that you live in a block of flats. A 10th-floor flat will not have a locked garage outside the window. But I do actually think you have a good chance of appealing this to the ombudsman, or even issuing court proceedings against the insurer.

The issue to be tried will be, was your response honest? If it was, then I think you will win this claim and the insurer must pay out. If the insurer can prove that your response was deliberate or reckless, you will lose. The insurer won’t have to pay a penny. If it can prove that your response was careless, then it might be able to claim for the value of the stolen bike, less any excess. The terms of the policy might be changed and you will be stuck with those new terms.

The burden is on the insurer. You don’t have to prove anything; rather, it has to show that your response was deliberate, reckless or careless in those proceedings. The moral of the story is this – always treat your insurer with caution. If something looks unclear, make it clear to save yourself this sort of hassle later down the line.

Gavin Grewal

Fast Bikes June 2023