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What is pillion cover?

22/07/2021

Pillion Cover
Whether you own a moped, a scooter, or a more powerful motorcycle, it’s possible you might want a friend or family member to ride pillion at some stage. But will your motorbike insurance cover this, or do you need separate pillion cover?
What is pillion cover?

If you carry a passenger on the back of your 50cc moped, your 125cc scooter or your 250cc or 400cc motorbike it’s known as ‘riding pillion’. Pillion cover, then, is an insurance policy (or a motorbike insurance add-on) that insures you to carry a passenger on the back of your motorcycle.

Some motorbike insurance policies will include pillion cover as standard, so if you’ve already taken out a policy it’s worth double checking your policy documentation to confirm whether or not you’re insured to carry a pillion.

If your existing policy doesn’t cover you to a carry a pillion passenger you should be able to add this to your insurance for a small additional fee.

Of course, if you haven’t taken out a policy yet it might be a good idea to ensure pillion cover is included, because you never know when you might want to carry a passenger on the back of your bike.


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Why would a motorcyclist need pillion cover?

Carrying a passenger in the pillion position can affect your risk profile, because it not only alters the weight and handling of the bike, but can also increase stopping distances when the motorbike is braking.

If the motorbike is involved in an accident when someone is riding pillion it’s also likely that both the rider and the passenger will be injured, which increases the risk of personal injury claims.

That’s why it’s critical that motorcyclists check that their existing policy covers them to carry a pillion passenger before someone climbs on the back of the bike – or adds pillion cover to their insurance if pillion passengers are currently excluded.

What are the rules around carrying a passenger in the pillion seat?

Firstly, there needs to actually be a pillion seat. If the motorbike in question doesn’t have a seat or seating pad that is specifically designed for a pillion passenger, including a second set of foot rests for that passenger, it’s against the law to carry a pillion passenger on that bike.

Secondly, the rider needs to hold a full motorcycle licence in order to be allowed to carry a pillion passenger. So if you’re a young rider that has recently completed your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) but you don’t hold a full motorbike licence you won’t be able to carry a pillion passenger.

Thirdly, motorcyclists can only ever carry one pillion passenger at a time – it’s against the law to carry two or more pillions on the same motorcycle in the UK.

Failure to comply with any of these rules risks invalidating your motorcycle insurance, even if your policy does include pillion cover.

Do motorcycle insurance policies usually exclude pillion cover?

Some standard motorcycle insurance policies do exclude pillion cover, since carrying a passenger in the pillion seat increases the insurance risk for the insurer.

However, many providers do include pillion cover as standard, and many others will add it to the policy for a small admin fee, so if pillion cover is excluded on your policy it’s worth speaking to your insurance provide


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Does motorcycle insurance cost more when it includes pillion cover?

Not necessarily. As already mentioned, some motorbike insurance providers will include pillion cover as standard, in which case it won’t cost anything extra because it’s already written into your policy’s existing features.

If it isn’t mentioned in your policy documentation, or your terms and conditions specifically exclude carrying a passenger in the pillion seat, it’s possible you might have to pay to have it added to your policy, although the cost is usually fairly small.


This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.

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