Is Motorcycle Insurance Needed For Your Travel Plans?
People who love motorcycle travel say that there’s nothing like the feel of hitting the open road. The sense of freedom and possibility is intoxicating. Motorcycle travel is often less expensive and more eco-friendly than car travel – plus it’s so easy to find a parking space! But on the flip side, it can be dangerous. Very much so. An estimated 3,400 people die every day from road traffic accidents and half of the victims are motorcyclists, cyclists, or pedestrians. Having motorcycle insurance coverage included with your travel is absolutely essential. However, there’s a lot you need to know about inclusions, exclusions, and planning a safe motorcycle trip.
Proper Licensing Is Essential When Traveling Abroad
Getting motorcycle coverage as part of your travel insurance plans isn’t as simple as buying a policy and keeping it tucked in your travel papers. You must first have a motorcycle license that is valid in your home country. Your license must be valid for the type of bike you are riding. And lastly, you also have to have a motorcycle license which is valid in the countries you are visiting. Very often this takes the form of an International Driver’s Permit, which you can easily receive at any AAA office.
Not All Motorcycles Are Created Equal
You also have to be riding a motorcycle that meets your insurance policy’s definition of what a motorcycle is. Confused? A motorcycle is anything with two wheels that goes fast, right? Not according to many companies! Low capacity bikes, like those at 50cc, are sometimes included in general travel focused insurance policies. And some motorcycle specific policies exclude bikes that are over 200 or 250cc. Still, others have no limit, provided you purchase a premium policy add on or opt into sports/adventure coverage.
Don’t Leave Home Without A Helmet
Helmets are non-negotiable when it comes to the terms of motorcycle travel insurance. However, in many countries wearing a helmet is optional or simply not part of the culture. Plan ahead to either bring your own helmet or ask the rental company what kind of helmets they have available. You want to ensure you have a high-quality option available to you.
Stick To The Road MORE Taken
Coverage is always predicated on keeping your motorcycle on a legal road. In a world that’s made up of alleyways, dirt paths, short cuts, and side streets, it’s not always easy to determine what exactly makes a road a REAL road. The rule of thumb is that if a regular car would be able and allowed to drive on it, a motorcycle can as well. But off-road activities negate insurance coverage.
Keep It Legal
Insurance coverage will also be denied if you are participating in illegal activities. This includes street racing and anything else the insurance company deems to be a “needless risk”. In some cases, even participation in a legal event, such as a motorcycle rally or a sanctioned road race, might be trouble. If this would apply to you, you need to look at potential coverage through extreme sports policies.
Learn About Liability
Note that even if you’ve met all the requirements for motorcycle coverage in your travel insurance policies and are fully committed to following the rules, there are some additional considerations before you hit the road. Motorcycle coverage in your travel insurance policy is coverage for YOU. It’s designed to cover your expenses should you be in an accident and need medical attention. It doesn’t provide any coverage for your motorcycle should it be damaged or stolen. Nor does it include any liability coverage should you cause damage to another vehicle or injury to a person.
If you’re renting, your outfitter will often include such coverage in the price or offer to you as an add on. For owners, carrying a vehicle and liability insurance policy is often called “green card” insurance, especially in Europe. You might also hear it referred to as “border insurance”. That’s because if you cross a border on your bike, you’ll be asked to provide proof of liability coverage. If you’re dreaming of an epic, cross-continent adventure on your own bike, start your “green card” or other liability research early to make sure you’re covered.
Apply Common Sense
Remember that the greatest insurance is knowing your limits and engaging in safe biking practices. If you aren’t comfortable riding in rainstorms or dense urban traffic at home, you certainly won’t be in Bangkok or Mumbai. The same recommendations that keep you safe at home – from wearing sturdy shoes to always driving sober – are just as applicable anywhere else in the world.