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Important: Travel insurance rules continue to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re

Important:

Travel insurance rules continue to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working hard to keep up and make sure our guides are up to date, however some information may not be accurate during the pandemic. It’s even more important to double-check all details that matter to you before taking out cover. Please know that some policies may not be available through Finder at this time. Here are some helpful tips:

  • If you’re buying a policy today, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered for any coronavirus-related claims
  • If your travel plans go against government advice, your policy will most likely be voided and you won’t be covered
Finally, some good news! Domestic travel is picking up, so some insurers have started offering cover again 🦘

Just remember, you won’t be covered for any pandemic related claims if you do take out domestic travel insurance.

You wouldn’t hit the road in Australia without insurance. However, when people go overseas they throw caution to the wind and do things they normally wouldn’t. One such activity is riding a scooter or motorcycle uninsured. If you’re involved in an accident overseas and you’re uninsured, you could be facing a massive medical, hospital and possible evacuation bill, plus a bill for the damage to the motorcycle as well. This article looks at why motorcycle travel insurance is needed overseas, what levels of cover are available and what is and is not covered in a normal travel insurance policy.

What you need to know

According to Smarttraveller, “Australian travellers should ensure they wear helmets, preferably full-face helmets, and other protective clothing when riding motorcycles, scooters and mopeds overseas in order to minimise the risk of serious injury.” But in order to actually be covered by your policy, most travel insurers will also require:

  • That you have a valid Australian motorcycle license
  • The motorcycle or moped must be less than the max engine size stated in the policy
  • You must be wearing a helmet
  • If you are a passenger, the driver has a valid licence in the country you are in

Which travel insurance brands cover overseas motorcycle use?

How can this page help me compare motorcycle travel insurance?

Who needs travel insurance for motorcycles?

Basically, anyone who rides on a motorcycle or moped overseas needs motorcycle travel insurance. That includes the person in charge of the motorcycle and any passengers they carry as well. They need cover for medical expenses above all else, as the greatest danger with riding overseas is having an accident and not having health insurance.

Countries like the USA charge thousands of dollars a day for hospital and medical treatment, so if you’re planning to ride a down Route 66, make sure you’ve got motorcycle travel insurance before you head off.

Case Study:

Australian insurer, Fast Cover, reveals how they paid out a claim of $493,000 following a serious motorcycle accident in Pokara, Nepal.
Stuart Hurst (56) was involved in a motorcycle accident which had him on life support and has left him a permanent paraplegic. Fast Cover took care of his emergency medical treatment which involved rib, spine and brain surgery, and his evacuation back to Australia.
November 2019


What does motorcycle travel insurance cover?

Most travel insurance policies that cover you when riding a motorcycle abroad will only provide medical and hospital cover in the event of an accident and only if the motorcycle is under a certain horsepower (usually no more than 125cc). They will also only cover you for just a few days, so if you are planning an extended motorcycle tour, you will need to take out more comprehensive cover.


What are the different levels of cover?

There are several different levels of cover provided by motorcycle travel insurance. These include:

  • No cover – some travel insurance policies refuse to cover you under any circumstances
  • Limited cover – as mentioned previously, many policies cover you if the motorcycle is low powered, but only for medical and hospital cover and only for a few days
  • Dedicated cover – provides cover for motorcycles over 125cc and for longer periods, but still only for hospital and medical cover in the event of an accident
  • Comprehensive cover – for a higher premium, you can purchase comprehensive cover, which includes bikes of any size, whether they belong to you or to someone else, for both on and off-road use and including loss or damage of belongings, panniers or riding gear and cover for pillion passengers as well

Like any insurance, the level of cover you opt for will depend on the amount of riding you intend to do and how much you are prepared to pay.


When am I not covered?

Common exclusions pertaining to motorcycle travel insurance include:

  • No cover if you were racing, riding whilst intoxicated, under the influence of drugs or behaving recklessly in any way
  • No cover if you were not wearing a helmet. Even though not all countries require a helmet to be worn, it is a prerequisite in most motorcycle travel insurance policies
  • No cover if you were not licensed. That means licensed to ride the same sized motorcycle in Australia and in the country you are visiting
  • No cover if the accident occurs due to your negligence, inattention or lack of knowledge of the road rules that apply in the country you are visiting.
  • No liability cover for injuring someone or causing property damage while in charge of the motorcycle
  • No cover for theft or criminal damage of the motorcycle
  • No cover for the insurance excess if you are hiring the motorcycle

Can I get cover if I have my L plates?

We contacted the travel insurance brands in our panel to find out whether or not you can get travel insurance for motorcycle use if you’re on your L’s.

Am I covered for motor scooters?

Whether it’s a motorcycle, motor scooter or moped, if it has two wheels and you plan to ride it while you are on holiday overseas, you will need to make sure you have travel insurance to cover you in the event of an accident. Insurers regard motor scooters in the same light as motorcycles and will only cover you for injuries sustained in an accident under the following conditions:

  • The motorcycle or motor scooter must be under a certain horsepower (usually 125 cc), unless you have arranged cover for a larger bike
  • You must hold a valid licence to ride it (either a licence to ride an equivalent machine in Australia or a local licence in the case of countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam)
  • The accident must not be the result of your racing, reckless or inattentive behaviour, lack of knowledge of local road rules or riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Am I covered for quad biking?

A quad bike is another form of motorbike that is popular to ride while holidaying overseas. It too is subject to the rules of motorcycle riding when it comes to travel insurance in that:

  • You must be licensed to ride it (which will depend on the laws of the country)
  • You must be wearing a helmet
  • You must not be racing or driving recklessly
  • You must not be using it in a professional capacity (i.e. participating in a professional sport or paid activity).

As with motorcycle insurance, you will only be covered for injuries sustained in an accident, not for damage to the quad bike, injury to other persons or damage to third party property.



Tips for popular motorcycle destinations

It’s important to take your holiday destination and planned activities into account when considering motorcycle travel insurance. If you are just going to Bali and only planning to hire a scooter for a day, then your normal travel insurance policy may be all you need (as long as you are licensed and riding legally). But if you are taking a road trip across the USA, some additional motorcycle insurance will obviously be required.

Rules that typically apply to motorcycles in SE Asia include:

  • If you have a valid Australian motorcycle licence, an International Driver’s Permit is acceptable in Bali, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, but not in Vietnam.
  • In Vietnam you need a temporary Vietnamese driver’s licence (requiring you to have a three-month residency visa) in order to ride any motorcycle over 50cc capacity.
  • While it is not compulsory for some locals to wear helmets in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Bali, the police will enforce this rule for visitors.

Find Out More About Travel Insurance for Asia

Whichever country you visit, you should observe the following safety tips when riding abroad:

  • Always wear a helmet, whether it is the law or not
  • Always wear leathers, long pants, gloves and boots to protect exposed skin, even in hot climates
  • Stay alert to what is going on around you at all times and make allowances for other drivers, particularly when the road rules are different from what you are used to
  • Know where you are going. Planning your route will reduce the likelihood of unforeseen circumstances.

Travel insurance for backpackers

Motorcycle travel insurance is particularly useful for backpackers because the motorcycle is often an integral part of their travel arrangements. If not riding one, a backpacker is often a pillion passenger on a motorcycle or scooter, in both of which cases, motorcycle travel insurance is required. The whole notion of backpacking revolves around cheap travel and seeing the country from a local’s point of view, so motorcycles and scooters are naturally going to feature heavily with backpackers who visit most SE Asian countries, as well as European countries like Italy and France.

Backpacker travel insurance that focuses less on trip cancellation and loss of luggage and more on medical and hospital expenses, including those incurred due to a motorcycle accident, would therefore be a much better investment.

How do I make sure I can claim if am in a motorcycle accident?

Most travel insurance policies that cover motorcycle use almost the exact same wording in their product disclosure statements (PDS):

No cover is provided without a current Australian motorcycle licence or a current motorcycle licence that is valid for the country you are travelling in.

If you remember this above all else, you are half way to being fully covered, as insurers including Allianz, AIG, American Express, Budget Direct, Citibank, Cover-More and Virgin Money all say the same thing in no uncertain terms.

Follow these guidelines to ensure cover

  • Wear a helmet and protective clothing
  • Know and obey the road rules of the country you are in
  • Make sure you are fully licensed to ride in the country you are in
  • If drunk, drugged or in doubt, take the bus

Compare motorcycle travel insurance policies now


warning
Finally, some good news! Domestic travel is picking up, so some insurers have started offering cover again 🦘
Just remember, you won’t be covered for any pandemic related claims if you do take out domestic travel insurance.
International travel insurance is limited and sometimes unavailable at this point.

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