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Storing a French registered bike in UK


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Hi, wonder if anyone can help with this scenario. I brought a Laverda Jota to France years ago, registered it as a moto de collection. I am going off travelling for a couple of years, and don't have a storage option in France, but a relative in the UK has garage space. So I plan to ride it to the UK in the next few weeks (AXA French insurance) leave it for 2 years and then ideally boot up French insurance again to bring it back to France.

AXA have been delightfully unhelpful so far. I now know that I can't NOT insure a bike if it's in France. Their best offer is I can cancel the insurance when it expires in September. BUT they then say I cannot re-insure the bike (no clear reason given why – but presumably it was the 2 year thing).

I'm going to talk through the same scenario with Allianz.

If necessary I know I could register it in the UK after 2 years, so at least that's a way out.

My main questions are: can I really not take out insurance after cancelling it once? Is 2 years the problem with that? And/or is the real issue the bike being in the UK at the point I take out insurance. I've also read there may be a a very basic premium I could change to while it's in storage. Although the law has changed to stop rusting heaps being left everywhere.


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Unfortunately that correct but it's nothing to do with the two years.

Because technically a vehicle should be continuously insured, even if off road and in storage, a break in cover will result in a refusal to re-insure.

I'm pretty sure that the reasoning is that an insurer taking on a vehicle which has not been continuously insured potentially becomes liable for claims which might arise from the period when it wasn't.

The only way to re-insure in that case is with a change of ownership which is only a paperwork exercise which you can perform with your OH or a friend but it will of course involve two lots of registration costs as you 'sell' it and then 'buy' it back.

You may be able to get laid up cover but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't apply for what you want to do.

If you've held the policy for over 12 months then you can cancel it any time you like, you don't have to wait for the anniversary.

A friend of mine had enormous hassle when he bought a car which the seller (a mutual friend) delivered to his house but because he was due to be disappearing off to Spain although he did the registration change before he went he didn't insure it and just parked it up until his return.

When he got back it wouldn't start so it was collected by a garage for repair so it wasn't until it came back from that a couple of weeks later that he went to insure it and quickly found that nobody would touch it because by then he'd owned it then for nearly 3 months without insurance.

Eventually he managed to get the garage where it had gone for the repairs to declare that it had been in their possession for the whole of the time which satisfied the insurers but if he hadn't got that then he would have had to go through a sham change of ownership.

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Thnaks, that's helpful to know. Still a strange rule …sigh…

My thinking is I will ride the bike covered fully comp to the UK. I am a French resident so I'm entitled to ride a French plated bike there. When it's in the garage, I change my insurance to third party or a low form of cover without discussing the bike's whereabouts. I appreciate after 3 months laying in the UK that cover would be useless and I effectively wouldn't be covered – but I'm not concerned about theft from this garage. I'd rather not have to do it this way, but it's becoming a paperwork exercise just to hold onto French insurance. Meanwhile in principle if the bike stays 6 months in the UK it should be registered there. But I spoke to the DVLA and they had no concern that I necessarily inform to HMRC on arrival in the UK, and if I were to change the plates to UK they were also OK with doing that after two years. Still, a very grey area! The main thing is the bike is stored on private land and won't be going anywhere.
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I am not aware of any time restriction of driving outside of France under a French insurance policy where/what are the conditions in your contract

In English terms you have 12 months Green card

If they are adverse, in the UK seek a lloyd's broker and it will be easily sorted

PS I was a broker 30 years back and cover then was easily available

PPS Find a local betting office and make a bet your bike will not be nicked at favorable odds it beats most insurance costs
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I'll need to double check that 3 months only in the UK is for real, as I say AXA we're being… let's say, difficult. I know that if bringing a vehicle this direction you're on a time restriction insurance-wise. But I would prefer to keep the bike on French plates, even if I need to keep the insurance ticking over (at 27E per month fully comp at present so won't break the bank). Love the Ladbrokes idea though...
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I reiterate my previous reply, insurance policies are by EU law valid for the whole 12 months regardless.

To cancel a policy an insurer must write to you at your last notified address giving you reasonable notice and a precise time and date when their cover will be withdrawn, they cannot do it any other way.

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Hi Charlie,

Maybe I'm being thick here, but if the bike's going into store in the UK, why can't you simply buy a UK storage policy - thru someone like Carole Nash for instance, if they still do them. (And now part of Groupama, itself a French company).

That way you would retain a continuous insurance record which you could produce to reactivate your on-road insurance when back in France.



RGS Corsa owner

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OP is not not UK resident therefore UK insurance not available.

Bike is not UK regged therefore UK insurance not available, (maybe for re-registration purposes but that's not relevent).

The plan fails in any case because non French insurance won't count.

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