In 2007 alone, 1000's of Chinese bikes, scooters and mopeds were imported into the UK. This seems to be a growing trend, with more and more manufacturers importing them into the UK. Currently an estimated 450 separate manufacturer's import into the country and this grows every year. With this in mind, more insurers are joining the game to get these insured. However, import bike insurance can still be difficult to find.
So why buy a Chinese import bike? For one, they are generally half the price of a standard moped or scooter; this is despite the import costs. They are normally based on current mopeds and scooters manufactured by major companies, just with a different name on them. These are also known as replica bikes. A majority of these bikes will need registering in the UK, at a cost of £55.00, a small price to pay considering the cheaper cost for the bike itself.
Import bike insurance can be tough to find, a majority of insurers and brokers have never heard of the vehicle you're looking to insure, and that's usually where the conversation ends. However, with the popularity of these scooters and mopeds, more and more insurers are providing competitive schemes to support the demand on these types of vehicles.
One of the main problems with import bikes and in particular the import bike insurance is that many of these vehicles parts are not readily available. In the event of a claim and the bike needs repairing, it's difficult and costly for the insurer to source the parts and authorised repairers. That's why many of the insurers will opt out of offering a fully comprehensive quotation, or may offer an expensive quote, often more than the value of the vehicle itself.
As many import bikes, scooters and mopeds are based on current models manufactured by major names such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha. The parts and spares can be easily picked up at the usual local repairer. This all helps with the insurance side of things, but with over 450 different import manufacturers, you can imagine how difficult the parts are to find.
Another problem with import bikes, scooters and mopeds, is that they require registering in the UK. Many are sold without first being registered. However, before registering a vehicle, it requires insurance, and many insurers will not insure without a registration number plate, a perfect catch 22 situation. Although many insures understand this and are providing this insurance, it still can be difficult to track this type of insurance cover down.
The most popular scooter on the road today, is the Baotian BT 50cc, an import bike, over 1000 were imported during 2007, figures supplied by the MCIA (The Motor Cycle Industry Association Limited). This gives you an idea of just how popular these bikes are, out selling major manufacturers like Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.
You may ask yourself, where can I buy these bikes? Well, many local dealers are starting to sell them, and there are plenty of bargains to be had on Ebay's auction site. The majority are sold through internet only bike shops, delivered direct to your door, again this promotes the problem of repairs and spare parts, a lot of these vehicles aren't sold with any warranty.
In short, these bikes, scooters and mopeds are a perfect way of commuting to and from work. They are cheap to buy, cheap to run, very economical, and parking is generally not a problem, and with more insurers realising the demand on these bikes, they are helping on the insurance availability, cost and cover provided.