Motorcycle holiday insurance

Make sure your motorbike adventures are covered with insurance designed for motorbike holidays.

Key points:

  • If you're planning a motorcycle road trip, you might find suitable elements of cover under your travel insurance or motorbike insurance policies
  • Don't assume your motorbike insurance will cover you abroad or that your travel insurance will extend to motorbiking - always check before travelling
  • If they fall short, insurance bolt-ons or a dedicated motorbike holiday insurance policy might offer the cover you need

Motorcycling abroad is one of the most enjoyable and exciting ways to travel - few things beat a motorbike when it comes to the freedom to explore new roads and discover exotic places.

But whether it’s a weekend away in France or an extended tour through South America, it’s essential to check that you have the right insurance cover in place before you go - including travel insurance.

Covered from all angles

The first port of call is to check you've got adequate levels of cover under both your travel insurance and motorbike insurance policies as often there are gaps to plug.

For instance, full UK motorcycle licence holders with comprehensive motorbike insurance may only be covered for personal liability (third party) and possibly theft while riding abroad - the absolute minimum.

And, there may also be restrictions on the length and frequency of any trips abroad.

To fill the gaps left by your motorcycle insurance, you may turn to a standard travel insurance policy, but alone it probably won't provide sufficient cover, either.

For example, most travel policies don’t include riding anything bigger than a rental moped or motorcycle up to 125cc.

So you may be covered to rent a scooter for a few days’ sightseeing, but not for a touring holiday on your own machine.

Motorbike

The solution is simple - you can add or bolt-on motorcycling to a regular travel insurance policy but for ultimate peace of mind, take out a policy tailored specifically for motorcycling abroad.

Accident and injury cover for bike tourers

It’s the last thing you want to happen, but in the event of even a minor accident, the number-one function of motorcycle travel cover is to ensure that all your medical, transport and possible repatriation costs are covered.

The same goes for a pillion, which many policies will include for an extra fee.

Thanks to the popularity of activity holidays many regular travel insurance policies now offer adventure sports or hazardous activities bolt-ons – usually for an additional premium - which should cover medical costs and expenses in the event of an accident, up to a limit set by your insurer.

Just make sure your planned biking activities – whether a quad bike safari or two weeks on the open road – are covered under the activities listed.

Specialist motorcycle travel insurance may also offer medical cover options for guided tours, off-road riding and even track days or racing.

Motorcycle travel tips

  • EHIC card for medical treatment in Europe Economic Area is free, so make sure you take it with you and that it hasn’t expired
  • Take your full UK motorcycle licence, UK insurance with emergency contact numbers and log book for your bike
  • If necessary, inform your UK motorcycle insurer who may issue you with a green card (especially if travelling outside of the EU)
  • Obey local traffic laws and always wear a helmet

Put your EHIC in your pannier

In the European Economic Area (plus Switzerland) countries your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare at the same cost as locals, but repatriation to the UK and private healthcare won’t be covered.

In non EHIC countries and especially in the USA where all costs must be met it’s worth taking out an appropriate level of medical cover.

Bike, baggage and accessories insurance

Even a minor spill can result in a big repair bill and if you are touring the extra kit on the bike can also be easily damaged. From tank bags to sat-nav, leathers, helmets, action-cams, and pannier contents, motorcycle travel insurance should cover the cost of replacement in the event of a crash or theft.

It’s worth double checking that your UK insurance policy covers for theft of the motorbike abroad, as a motorcycle travel policy may not include theft of the machine itself.

If your motorcycle is too badly damaged to continue there are motorcycle travel policies which will pay for a replacement machine as well as arrange for the damaged bike to be recovered to the UK.

Take note that motorcycle travel insurance will not normally include breakdown recovery abroad.

Check that your UK breakdown policy includes European cover and either pay the extra or take out an annual or single-trip recovery policy for the duration of the holiday.

Make sure it covers you for the countries you intend to visit.

Cancellation cover

There could be numerous reasons for delays and even cancellation of a holiday which could affect you during a motorcycling holiday abroad.

Cancelled or delayed ferries, visits or excursions which you may have been paid for in advance can all be the subject of a claim on certain policies and if you’re making a long tour with a busy itinerary it’s well worth including cover for delays and cancellations.

Insurance and hiring a motorbike on holiday

Hiring a motorcycle for some or all of a holiday abroad is a very popular option for motorcyclists, especially if travelling further afield than Europe.

Popular bucket list holidays include cruising across the USA on a Harley or taking a BMW through rugged New Zealand.

While most reputable rental companies include public liability, theft and damage cover in their packages it is still down to you to take out a motorcycle travel policy with sufficient medical cover for the region.

Also check the excess values on any policies offered by either the excursion company or your individual policy.

Luke Edwardes-Evans