Make sure you’re cov­ered

RiDE (UK) - - Travel -

QWE WOULD LIKE an­nual hol­i­day / travel in­sur­ance specif­i­cally for mo­tor­cy­clists, or a pol­icy that is happy to cover bik­ers as part of a more gen­eral travel in­sur­ance scheme, as we do sev­eral short trips a year, al­ways to Europe and al­ways tour­ing on nor­mal roads. We want “no quib­ble” cover and repa­tri­a­tion for both our­selves and our bikes should the worst hap­pen.

How­ever we would love to know if you have an opin­ion as to which one is best. We are not par­tic­u­larly price sen­si­tive, we just want the very best “whis­tles and bells” cover with the peace of mind that it would bring.

AFIRST OF ALL you need to as­cer­tain your needs. For ex­am­ple, I do not think I need re­cov­ery of a mo­tor­cy­cle from Europe. I would rather hire a van and pick up my own wrecked bike from France but I would take a dif­fer­ent view of re­cov­er­ing it from, say, south east­ern Spain. I also speak pass­able French so can deal with a French garage but in Por­tu­gal, I would be stuffed. Bikes are pretty fre­quently repa­tri­ated, more so than cars and hav­ing Euro­pean cover and re­cov­ery back to the UK is a fairly easy add-on to most UK re­cov­ery poli­cies. Bear in mind though that you will be pay­ing for lo­cal repairs if the bike can be fixed. The lo­cal agents who speak English and the lo­cal lan­guage can re­ally smooth out prob­lems, so on bal­ance it is wise to have a good-qual­ity Euro­pean re­cov­ery scheme — but do read what it of­fers. Cheap is usu­ally the en­emy of good here.

How­ever, the nub of your ques­tion is med­i­cal cover and you are wise to be cau­tious. The first thing to do is check ex­cluded zones. My own cover does not ex­tend to the Amer­i­cas but it’s no prob­lem. It cov­ers me for the EU and Morocco, the two ar­eas I travel to the most. Do not for­get your EHIC card. It is free and greatly re­duces the amount you have to pay up front for emer­gency ser­vices. How­ever, some EU ju­ris­dic­tions treat emer­gency as “Is it go­ing to kill you?” so do not rely on it in place of proper cover.

The next thing you need to look at in de­tail is ex­cluded ac­tiv­i­ties and the ma­jor­ity of off-the-peg in­sur­ance specif­i­cally ex­cludes mo­tor­cy­cling. A smaller group limit you to 125cc and un­der (and most re­quire that you must be wear­ing at least a hel­met). A fre­quent ex­clu­sion is for a mo­tor­cy­cle you own - ie tak­ing your own bike rather than a hire bike and if not 125cc, some have a 750cc up­per limit on hire bikes. My own fam­ily pol­icy did not ex­clude mo­tor­cy­cling but I looked for the con­di­tions re­lat­ing to rid­ing and it would not cover me for either rid­ing a hire bike big­ger than 125cc or rid­ing my own bike.

This is when you need to con­tact your in­sur­ers and there is a lot to be said for us­ing Uk-based in­sur­ers rather than a com­par­i­son web­site. The more com­pre­hen­sive the cover, the more you will pay. There are very few poli­cies that cover mo­tor­cy­cling on your own bike as stan­dard. Your ques­tion is well timed as I have just been rid­ing dirt roads in Morocco with two of my busi­ness part­ners. Three lawyers all checked their sep­a­rate poli­cies and all ex­cluded larger bikes, the lim­its be­ing 600cc for one in­surer and 750 the oth­ers. It was easy enough to get my in­surer to up­grade the pol­icy, on a phone call, to cover bikes in­clud­ing un­sealed roads. The only pro­viso was I had to have a proper hel­met and “ap­pro­pri­ate” mo­tor­cy­cle safety gear. My part­ners had to re­place theirs as the com­puter said; “No”.

So, to sum­marise, check the level of cover you get for a mo­tor­cy­cle, that it cov­ers what you are go­ing to do and what ca­pac­ity is cov­ered. I would look at Uk-based in­sur­ers be­cause they are eas­ier to en­force poli­cies against and are cov­ered if they go bust. My start­ing point would be a name you know and trust and phone them, clearly set­ting out your needs. Make sure when you get your pol­icy doc­u­ments that it re­flects your risk and if it does, you’ll be fine with the rep­utable in­sur­ers. Make sure you an­swer every ques­tion truth­fully when they are sign­ing you up. If you are di­a­betic, or tak­ing statins or anti-de­pres­sants, say so. They may ex­clude cover for di­a­betic in­ci­dents, car­dio vas­cu­lar or psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues but will cover ev­ery­thing else.

If you’re mo­tor­cy­cling abroad, make sure your in­sur­ance cov­ers all your re­quire­ments be­fore you go. Then re­lax and en­joy the ride...

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