Over the course of a given year, more than a million UK riders elect to insure their bikes. A survey by Devitt Insurance revealed that, for most of the year, renewals are in steady decline, punctuated by an abrupt threefold rise in March, from 4.4% of respondents to just over 13.5%.
Now, we should state at the outset that, beyond these extremes, the spread is fairly even, with each month enjoying a healthy fraction of overall renewals. Still, we’re left with the question: what’s driving this trend?
What’s so great about March?
The most obvious influence is financial. After Christmas has been sorted, we all have a little more disposable income to draw upon. And thus, it’s unsurprising that many of choose to treat ourselves to a bike and the accompanying insurance. This one-time decision might then tick over year-upon-year, making many of us March-renewers for life.
Price, according to the survey, is the most popular factor when making the decision to purchase at 40.72%. It’s closely followed by the benefits of the cover in question (39.83%). Given that the latter remains roughly constant throughout the year, it can’t explain the change from month to month.
The reputation of the company in question was most important only to 12.5% of respondents. Only three out of 1,908 people think that a free gift is the most important thing, which, in case you’re wondering, makes these people statistically fewer than those who believe that the earth is flat.
March is also among the cheapest months to renew. The most expensive is December – and by quite some distance. Providers are aiming to wind-down for the Christmas period. There are fewer call centres available, and a lot more IT work to do. To cover their costs, insurers respond by temporarily raising prices. These forces are at work just as much in the world of motorcycle insurance as they are in that of car insurance.
So, when the Christmas period is finally done with and the administrative slack has been addressed, things return to normal – and prices fall.
What about the cold?
We should also consider the change in the weather. While the roads are all icy, we’re not likely to want to hop into the saddle. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to the cold than other road users, as we lack the luxury of a heating system.
But this isn’t just about comfort. Motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in road accidents than other users. Wintry conditions – like icy roads and fewer daylight hours – contribute to this likelihood. Now, we should say that with the proper precautions and experience it’s perfectly possible to ride a bike safely during winter – but most bikers are aware of the increased risks, and thus less keen to renew and start riding again.