Richard Milling­ton

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure - - Contents - Richard Milling­ton

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.

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