However, I’m none the wiser when it comes to what to look for if I’m going away on my bike or planning to rent one when I’m away. What should I be looking for and considering?


Basically, unless you want to spend hours reading exclusion terms on policies, go for a policy that is aimed at motorcyclists. This is because just about every general travel-insurance provider excludes cover for injuries arising from ‘proper’ bikes and many exclude hire-moped-caused injuries.

Insurance is governed by contract and it will have exclusions. The key document is the policy schedule, which will have EXCLUDED ACTIVITIES. Unless you go for a motorcycle-specific policy, then there is usually an exclusion for motorcycling along with lots of other activities, and it is on you to read them.

In my time I have seen: flat exclusions for any ‘powered two-wheeler’; under 50cc and under 125cc being covered; hire bikes less than 700cc covered; any motorcycle covered as long as you did not travel to your destination by bike; cover on any motorcycle so long as you wear an EGE-compliant crash helmet; and another which insists on appropriate clothing.

So, if you are going to be riding a motorcycle overseas, if you read just one Insurance document, read the excluded activities on your policy.

I will give you two examples. The Carole Nash policy says in clear terms that you are covered for harm to yourself but not others (that is a road-traffic risk) for driving motorised vehicles (other than quads) for which you hold a UK licence, so long as you are wearing a helmet; straightforward and entirely clear.

Then we look at another reputable insurer, Direct Line, which does not aim at the motorcycle market and only covers for a motorcycle up to 125cc with a helmet worn; so if you fell off your Tiger 850, you have no health cover. Direct Line will extend cover, if you declare your use of a bike and it insured me on my own Husqvarna 701 without increasing my premium in the EU, all of Europe and Morocco.

This brings me onto my next point – geographical cover. Most policies adopt a default position to the EU, then all of Europe, then all Europe plus one other continent, and then some go worldwide. However, travelling in the USA packs a hefty insurance premium.

The third factor is your application for a policy. You will be asked a number of questions about your health and activities, including your mental health. Treated anxiety and depression will usually result in exclusion for treatment arising for mental-health issues on the policy but likewise, taking statins for cholesterol can exclude heart-related problems.

The final point that I have known, in my professional practice, is UK insurers to go bust. When a British insurer does, it is a bit of a mess but, eventually, the rest of the Insurance industry picks up the pieces. If your insurer is foreign and goes bust, would you know how to pick up the pieces? That German, French or Moroccan hospital still needs paying.

Your Global Health Insurance Card (the old European Health Insurance Card and covers the same places as EHIC did but no more, so perhaps ‘Global’ is a little misleading) will get you emergency treatment as though you were a local.

However, different countries have different schemes, including co-payment or an expectation of insurance. So the GHIC is better than nothing but not as good as decent travel insurance.

Ask the following questions and make sure you are happy with the answers. If not, ask them of another insurer. Do you know who is underwriting your policy? Is it a name that you feel comfortable with? For me, I want an underwriter based within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. Does it cover where you are going? Does your bike use fall outside of the restrictions on the excluded activities?

Andrew Dalton

RiDE Magazine May 2023