AdviceInsurance advice

If you’re bike-jacked on a test ride, you are liable for up to £2,000

Dealers’ insurance policies make the test riders liable if the bike is stolen, including bike-jacking.

If you’ve ever taken a dealer’s bike for a test ride you’ll know you have to sign an agreement where you will be liable for any fines for parking, speeding, bus lane infringement and so on. Fair enough.

You’ll also be liable to pay an excess of anywhere up to £2,000 for any damage to the motorcycle while it’s in your possession. Even if it’s not your fault (the specific clause to look out for is ‘however caused’, or similar). OK, we can see where this is going…

Worse still, if the motorcycle is stolen during your ride, you, not the motorcycle dealership that actually owns and insures the bike, will be liable for the excess.

This includes stopping off at a cafe halfway around your test ride and coming back to find the bike is gone.

And it also includes bike-jacking. If going through the harrowing experience of being threatened with injury if you don’t hand the bike over isn’t enough, you are going to pay for the experience. Literally.


Out of your pocket, not the dealers

On a recent test ride, we checked the wording of an agreement the dealer asked us to sign. The words in bold were highlighted on the dealer’s form.

‘… if while the motorcycle detailed above is in my possession for demonstration purposes there should be any damage to the motorcycle, however caused, or theft of the motorcycle, or damage to any third party vehicle or property or person, I will be personally liable for contributing up to the first £1,000 (one thousand pounds) of the cost of repair or claim for damages.’

We checked with one of the leading providers of insurance policies for motorcycle dealerships, Lexham, and they confirmed riders would be liable if the bike was stolen, by any means or method, when the vehicle was on a test ride, if such a clause was included in the test ride agreement.

It is down to individual dealers as to whether they make the rider liable. Anecdotally at least, it seems most do.

Lexham also told us the rider should inform any insurer of the claim when taking out new a policy, although they did point out it was up to individual insurers as the whether they used the information in calculating a premium.


Up to £2,000

The amount of excess you’ll have to pay varies from dealer to dealer. During a recent test ride at an Oxfordshire BMW dealer we were asked to sign forms where the excess amount was £1,500.

Lexham said the amount varies hugely between dealerships and can be as high as £2,000.

Get yourself sorted:

It’s well worth considering taking out an excess protection policy if you regularly do test rides. It’s also worth it, often only £30-40, if you hire cars on holiday a lot. Although check the amount matches the CDW amount.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that anyone with an Excess Protection Policy might be able to recover any excess payout using their policy. We have been made aware this may not be the case and anyone with this type of cover should read their policy document to see if they are covered during test rides.


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B&B Staff

B&B Staff