I’m frequently asked about on the road insurance. Travel and motorcycle. What do you do if you are planning a long distance adventure outside of your country or region?
We in the developed world are brought up to realise the value of insurance. If we can afford to buy it in the first place it’s a no brainer isn’t it. But hang on a minute! If we can afford it? Surely we should make sure we can afford it.
You insure your house and its contents don’t you? Your bike is your on the road house, and the content’s? Your own mini version of home contents.
But what about the legal situation? And what about general travel insurance. Should you? Do you need to?
Do you take out motorbike insurance before you leave home and in fact, can you?
Over the years many people have searched for such a thing, with no luck. I guess it’s not surprising in the end. After all, who would risk such a cover? Having said that I was once told that if you make it across Europe without getting your bike nicked, you’ll make it round the world. Could be something in that. If you know I’m wrong about this then please do comment and add a link even!
When you set off on an overlanding journey you undergo a change of mind-set. It could well surprise you. It doesn’t take long before you really accept that your bike can be trashed and that well, so be it. That’s the risk of adventure. If you are precious about your bike, don’t take it.Take a clunker that’s in great condition mechanically, and of course that you like riding. If you are a realist then you’ll begin to realise something special. Every time you put a dent or a scratch on your bike you have collected a souvenir. Each mark is a bit like a non-lethal notch on your gun belt. It’s a set of experiences that have changed who you are, and given you a story to tell. Be warmed, you might become a bore to the lads and lasses back home!
Stolen? That can be a big deal and very complicating for an overlander – costs and admin wise. I can’t think of a country that doesn’t require you to have some form of temporary importation document. Some countries even stamp your passport with the point that you’ve entered with one. They won’t let you leave without it. That’s why no sane overlander leaves his bike parked on the street, anywhere, unless he has no choice. And always locks it with a D lock or a chain – every time, regardless of how safe it feels.
Is it too expensive/ or they don’t cover ‘the world’ anyway?
I’ve not found anyone who covers bike insurance for the world – if you the reader know of someone, enlighten me please!
If that’s the case then what about third party? You need it across Europe, but then…
Or is that obtained at borders etc?
Yes, exactly, or at the next town into the country. Customs officials tell you where to go. Sometimes, if its the next town, you have to ride to the town, get the insurance and then rode back to the border to finish off the entry paperwork. But mostly it’s done on trust.
I have met riders who ‘save’ money on it and don’t bother. The worst thing is to get involved in something and then without it you can be well stuffed. Or in some countries you have frequent road blocks and if you don’t have it you’ll either be fined or ‘fined’.
It frequently cost buttons so it makes no sense at all not to get it. And anyway, its not a chore. It’s part of the experience. What do I mean? The places (offices, back streets etc) you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, the odd challenge to deal with and the satisfaction of having learnt something new. Wouldn’t get half of that as a backpacker! Oh and peace of mind as you ride on.
It’s also a respect thing. Respect the rules of the country you are in – after all, you are a guest.
What about personal insurance?
Full Travel Insurance is a no brainer. People really need to check this one out.
It must have 7 key things.
1. Enough medical cover for quality care in the areas the person is travelling through – eg, USA is steep but face the costs on your own? Gulp.
2. Repatriation in case things go really wrong.
3. That the company has a bank of interpreters in case you need one to talk to hospital staff.
4. Cover for the number of ccs the bike is
5. That it lasts a full year – many are just 3 months
6. That there are no restrictions on any countries eh if the Foreign Office says don’t go to a country on the planned route – some companies won’t cover you for that country.
7. And is renewable from the road – many require you to be resident in the UK to be able to renew.
It’s also well worth doing full Google searches on the companies, AND their underwriters. There are some all singing and dancing policies out there that actually do neither. Some people have had their fingers very badly burnt.
Insurance? You and your bike? I think you’d be daft not to. Peace of mind, and your life is not only more interesting but it’s easier too!