On the subject of having a spare in the cupboard. And Insurance.
As you will no doubt be aware our revered editor Mikko took a tumble while trying to mate a motorcycle with a tractor recently. Apparently the tractor did not look favourably on these advances and the motorcycle, with Mikko on board, was firmly rebuffed, resulting in a hospital stay and some enforced time off from MSL. The good news, part one, is Mikko is on the mend. The good news, part two, is that MSL quickly opened the spares cupboard and whipped out the venerable Tony Carter, temporarily slipping him into Mikko’s chair as if it was his own. Of course it once was, as Tony is a former editor of this very tome.
It got me to thinking once again about insurance and accidents. Running a motorcycle touring company for a day job, insurance is always in my thoughts. We are insured for financial failure with a bond, for public liability, professional indemnity and of course travel and medical insurance for all our tour leaders wherever they are in the world. Each year the renewals come up and each year I carefully read the small print. Yes it makes me a bit of a saddo, but time spent now is much better than after the horse had bolted to find horses are not covered.
Our travel insurance policy is a mighty broad one. It covers any of the tour leaders, leading a tour anywhere in the world, riding any size of motorcycle and includes millions in medical and repatriation costs. It is obviously a bespoke policy with a bespoke premium to go with it. However it does not provide me with a replacement tour leader and unlike MSL I don’t keep a spare chained in a cupboard at the back of the office just in case.
If you are not in the saddo brigade and don’t read your insurance policy carefully then I can only suggest you should join us. Last year we had several examples where doing so would have been very beneficial. On tour in Europe we had a customer have a low speed off in some roadworks that resulted in several cracked ribs and a few days in hospital. Painful, unpleasant but not too serious. This left him unable to ride and so out comes the travel insurance policy. He asks me to call as he is in quite a bit of discomfort. They were very helpful as I explained the situation right up until: “Sorry we don’t cover motorcycling, it is a hazardous activity.” Now the rider is stuck in Luxembourg in hospital with a mounting bill, a motorcycle he can’t ride with no cover to get him home.
Why a mounting bill? The rider had an EHIC card, but in Luxembourg the system doesn’t include the
B&B costs of your stay. For every night in hospital you pay a fee effectively for your food and lodging. Don’t
Take your time and read that small print. It’ll pay off (or maybe, out) in the long run.
think your EHIC, or E111 card as it used be called, is sufficient. You should absolutely have one but it may not cover all your treatment costs and will never repatriate you back home. Remember they also expire and need renewal. Oh and it’s not yet clear if the EHIC card will even exist for UK citizens after Brexit.
Another rider who did read her travel insurance renewal noticed that the terms had changed. Motorcycling was still covered but the compensation payout, you know – have ten grand if you loose an arm and twenty for a leg etc. no longer applied if you were on a motorcycle. Same company, same premium, fewer benefits.
We have seen policies that include motorcycling but not over 125cc and even one that had an altitude exclusion. Over X metres you are not covered and it was low enough that several passes in the Alps would have been a problem. So take the time, be a saddo, and read the details of your cover and check your renewal as things change. There are lots of policies included with bank accounts and other financial services these days which you should take particular care to check. It may be free but if it doesn’t cover you it’s worthless.
Getting back to our friend in Luxembourg, he did get home and we arranged to ship his bike home. Your bike can be a second problem. Check your breakdown cover. There are breakdown policies that are just that, breakdown. They don’t cover you in the instance of an accident. Most will cover for both but only if the bike is un-rideable. Our friend in Luxembourg’s bike was rideable with only cosmetic damage and his recovery company blanched at the cost of shipping it home when clearly it could be ridden. We did persuade them in the end but only after several rounds of a game called ‘Non monsieur’. So you have got good travel insurance that covers riding, will get you home, isn’t cc limited, covers the countries you are visiting and isn’t altitude limited; you also have breakdown cover that covers accidents – then you are ready to go, hoping that you never test either of them out.
Depending on your employment and your employer you might want to look at one more thing. If you are incapacitated for a while then you may be relying on sick pay from work for a bit. If you are self employed you should maybe look at a policy to cover you like Critical Person Insurance. How do you and your business survive if you are out of commission for a few weeks? Not all of us can be like MSL and keep spare editors chained in a cupboard just waiting to be released back into the hot seat.