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Want to embrace the feeling of freedom and excitement that comes from journeying across the open road on the back of a motorcycle? Then you’re in luck! If you plan on driving a motorbike, scooter or moped, it’s possible to be covered by travel insurance while overseas.

Whether you’re a veteran of driving two-wheeled vehicles or have recently received your full motorcycle driving licence, we’ll take you through what kind of travel insurance you’ll need for riding motorcycles overseas.

Can I get travel insurance cover for riding motorcycles?

You may get cover for riding motorcycles, mopeds and scooters through either a standard travel insurance policy or an adventure activities add-on (which costs extra). It depends on the insurer and what they offer, as well as your individual circumstances, needs and budget.

This makes it crucial to review the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you purchase a policy to check what’s covered, especially if you plan on riding a motorcycle on your travels.

What’s included in motorcycle, scooter and moped cover?

Getting cover for motorcycling means that you can claim on medical fees and hospital expenses related to motorcycle accidents, as long as you were wearing a helmet and following road rules. Depending on your level of cover, you can also be covered for emergency evacuation and repatriation back to your home country of Australia.

Without motorcycle cover, you will typically need to cover these costs yourself, which could put you back thousands of dollars. A standard travel insurance policy without this cover will often exclude motorcycles, mopeds and scooters. However, as motorcycle cover is not a stand-alone product when protecting yourself against road accidents, you would also be covered for other potential expenses, including cancellations, flight delays, lost or stolen baggage and more.

a couple riding on a scooter together through the streets of BIiza, Spain

What do I need to drive a motorcycle overseas?

For you to be covered for losses relating to riding a motorcycle overseas, most insurers will require you to have an Australian motorcycle licence. Other insurers may be satisfied if you have a valid licence in the country that you’re riding in.

The vehicle’s class and engine size you’ll be covered for will differ between insurers. The engine size covered by your policy may be based on what you’re licensed to ride in Australia. Some insurers might set a specific limit on the allowable engine capacity of your motorbike, even if you’re licensed to ride a more powerful machine back home. For example, some insurers set the limits at 250cc for motorcycles and 50cc for mopeds and scooters.

Depending on which country you’re heading to, you might need an international driver’s permit, as some countries may not accept an Australian licence on its own. Whether you’re getting travel insurance to cover scooters in Bali or motorcycles in the USA, it’s vital to check each country’s rules regarding tourists driving (or riding) on their roads.

As coverage can differ between insurers, it’s essential to check the PDS to ensure you’re covered for your choice of bike and for riding it in your chosen destination.

What to be aware of when driving overseas

  • In many Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, road safety is not as high a priority as in Australia. Both motorcyclists and car drivers alike often speed, ignore road rules and grapple for space without consideration for other drivers on the road. Accidents are common, so driving with care and caution is extremely important for your safety.
  • When visiting places like Bali, Indonesia, tourists often drive scooters and motorbikes without a valid licence. Not only can this get you into legal trouble, but without a valid driver’s licence, you cannot claim on any injuries if you have an accident on your two-wheeled vehicle.
  • Unlike with renting a car, when renting a motorcycle, scooter or moped, your travel insurance policy will not cover the rental vehicle excess if you have an accident. This means any damages to your vehicle are paid directly out-of-pocket. Your motorcycle cover will, however, cover medical treatment or hospital expenses if you are injured while riding.
  • The required driver’s licence can vary between countries. Some countries only require a valid Australian motor vehicle licence, while in others, you can get a local licence once you arrive. However, some destinations, like Vietnam, require you to have both.

Girl travelling overseas on a moped

Travel insurance exclusions for motorcycle riding

Like most types of travel insurance, some things won’t be covered. While policy exclusions can differ across insurers, common travel insurance exclusions relating to two-wheeled vehicles include:

  • Riding a motorcycle, moped or scooter that is more powerful than what’s covered by your policy
  • Racing, speeding, disobeying a country’s road laws or driving recklessly
  • Being intoxicated by an illegal substance or alcohol
  • Not wearing a helmet
  • The vehicle hire excess (some insurers only cover this for cars and not motorbikes)
  • Driving without a motorcycle licence that is valid in your destination country
  • If you’re participating in a competitive or professional event.

Furthermore, your personal liability for damage caused to people or property while you’re riding a motorcycle, and medical costs for injuries to any passenger on the pillion seat, is likely to be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Lower levels of cover (like basic or standard) may only cover your motorcycle-related medical expenses.

Check the PDS to know exactly what’s excluded. Knowing to what extent an insurer covers these instances can help provide peace of mind when exploring an international destination from the seat of a motorbike.

Is motorcycle, scooter and moped cover automatically included in my policy?

No, many travel insurance policies will exclude motorcycles, scooters and mopeds from their standard policies. Whether or not two-wheelers are covered depends on the insurer; some policies will include it automatically, while others may require an additional premium for your travel insurance policy.

Am I covered if I’m a passenger on a motorbike?

You can be covered as a passenger so long as the driver:

  • Has appropriate insurance (that states pillion passengers are covered)
  • Has a license to ride motorcycles in that particular country
  • Is in control of a motorcycle, moped or scooter with an engine that falls within the insurance policy’s bounds.

Having this cover in your travel insurance can be handy for couples who plan on travelling together on one hired bike. However, coverage for passengers may vary among insurers, and it is important to check the PDS to see how much a policy provides for a passenger on a motorbike.

Are learner drivers covered for riding a motorcycle overseas?

No, learners and provisional licence holders typically aren’t covered by travel insurance for their driving, whether they’re in a car, motorcycle, moped or scooter.

Do quad bikes count as motorcycles?

Quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) generally fall in the same category as motorcycles regarding travel insurance. For example, a standard travel insurance policy may cover low-powered scooters, but mopeds, motorcycles or quad bikes might only be covered by an adventure sports add-on.

Always check the PDS of an insurance policy for details on what you will and won’t be covered for.

Can I still be covered for motorbikes if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, be sure to declare them when taking out your travel insurance policy. Not all conditions are covered, however, and depending on the nature of your condition, you may have to pay an additional premium for them to be covered.

Can I still get annual cover with motorcycle, scooter and moped protection?

Yes, whether you’re taking a single trip or interested in an annual multi-trip policy, you can still be covered for two-wheeled vehicles.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Top tips for riding two-wheelers overseas from our expert, Stephen Zeller

  • If you’re not an expert rider, try to avoid riding on the busiest streets and most congested times until you gain more experience.
  • Even though you may not be going all that fast, falling off at any speed can lead to injuries in many cases. Always wear protective clothing and a helmet. Consider wearing sensible, enclosed shoes and long pants, as they will provide more protection than thongs and shorts.
  • Familiarise yourself with local road rules, always obey them and never exceed the speed limit. And if you’re planning on drinking alcohol, stay off the bike and consider other means of transportation; travel insurance may not pay out a claim if you are under the influence in any case.
  • Always give way to bigger vehicles as you never know if they have seen you or if they have, they still may not stop. And avoid road rage at all costs.
  • Check the policy wording so you know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for. If you have any doubts, contact your insurer for clarification, and if still in doubt, you may be far better off catching a cab!

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If you’re looking to compare travel insurance, our free comparison service puts the power in your hands. For every policy available on our service, you can view the PDS online to see the details of exactly what’s covered.

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