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Renting a scooter in Thailand

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    We've all done it, right. Especially on the islands - zipping about on your little bike. Great fun. I've rented lots of 'em over the years and thankfully have never had an issue, never crashed or been injured - though you see plenty of people who have.

    I reckon its probably the riskiest thing I do on a trip usually. Accidents can happen in lots of ways on a holiday, but renting and riding around on a little bike has to be right up there as one of the most risky. So, for my forthcoming trip I thought I'd better check the small print on travel policies I was considering. We're covered for Personal Accident, right - plus Public Liability cover - just better be sure. I've got a UK Car License - I rode a bike when younger when all you needed was a provisional license - but not a full bike license. Unfortunately, it seems to me that NO company will pay a claim if that's the case. You HAVE to have a full motorbike license in your home country. Otherwise you are NOT insured at all. Null & void. No cover for injuries, no cover in case you hit someone else - you are considered to be riding illegally.

    Nice, huh. Especially as I reckon the vast majority of tourists think their policies do cover them. OK - they know the rental company should really ask about your license - but don't - that's how it is in Thailand - but you're still insured with your policy from home, aren't you ?


    Seems to me you're not. Unless anyone knows anything different ?

    #1 Posted: 8/12/2011 - 11:03

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6050
    Total reviews: 10

    Different countries have different rules and different laws regarding motorcycles. In Thailand, a car license for an international drivers license is good for a motorbike 125cc or less. So you are driving legally here if you have an international license unless you ride a bigger bike. In Germany you do not need a full motorcycle license to ride a scooter. Those have simplier licensing requirements there (although I am not sure what they are). Bottom line - you should check your policy before you leave and make sure it covers motorcycles.

    #2 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 03:26

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    From what I can see some travel policies exclude renting a motorbike completely. Its buried away in the small print. Other policies do include it - but only for motorbikes up to 125cc, only if the insured is wearing a helmet and importantly only if you have the full and proper license in your home country.

    This may mean a different treatment for people from different countries. It sounds like Germany, like the UK some years ago, do not require a full bike license to ride a smaller bike. This may be reflected in German travel insurance policies, I don't know. But for British people, you need a bike license to ride a bike. No full bike license and you are not insured for renting overseas. Or so it seems.

    Thousands of tourists are riding around on motorbikes every day in Thailand and elsewhere in the region. I reckon relatively few of them have full bike licenses. I also reckon most of them think their travel insurers will pay up if they have an accident. Well, from what I see - they won't. For me this is a bit like going on a skiing holiday and taking out a policy which excludes skiing. The insurers make this as clear as mud - but ask the question - and you may not like the answer.

    Each will make their own decision about whether to rent a bike. As said, I've done so many times - but I'd always assumed I was properly insured. Looks to me like we ain't - but I'm interested to know if anyone has had a different experience ???

    #3 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 04:47

  • altmtl

    Click here to learn more about altmtl
    Joined Travelfish
    18th May, 2009
    Location Earth
    Posts: 825
    Total reviews: 5

    just offhand, does nomads cover it...?

    #4 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 05:48

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6050
    Total reviews: 10

    The other thing you might do is see if you can find an insurer that does cover it and get the word out so that that company gets rewarded for better servicing the consumer.

    #5 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 06:31

  • altmtl

    Click here to learn more about altmtl
    Joined Travelfish
    18th May, 2009
    Location Earth
    Posts: 825
    Total reviews: 5

    Seeing that Travelfish promotes World Nomads, it would be important to know this...

    #6 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 06:51

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    World Nomads is a well regarded policy, but no license no cover. They are one of the companies who give cover up to 125cc and if you wear a helmet. But they also require you have a full UK bike license. They also don't give Public Liability cover to anyone regardless of license.

    I wonder how many people are aware of this when they buy cover ?

    #7 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 06:54

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    Here's the link to their cover for UK residents. Scroll down to Activities and look under M for Motorbiking.

    http://www.worldnomads.com/policy_wording.aspx?pid=8daddda18f854f00a1c9eaba105122ff

    #8 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 06:59

  • guava_girl

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2010
    Posts: 251

    Most travel insurance companies allow you to pay an extra fee to cover you in case of a motorbike accident. I did this years back, I think it was the 'extreme sport' insurance.

    #9 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 20:28

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6050
    Total reviews: 10

    At any rate, it's certainly a good thing to know and confirm, so good on Nokka for bringing it to everyone's attention.

    #10 Posted: 9/12/2011 - 20:44

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  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    guava girl - I think you'll find you can only do this if you have the appropriate license.

    The more I think about this the more I think it extremely unlikely that any insurer will pay out for anything for someone who has an accident on a motorbike UNLESS you have a full motorbike license in your home country.

    If you have a full license then you can insure - though even then you may need extra insurance if you hire a bigger bike. (anything above 125cc).

    #11 Posted: 10/12/2011 - 13:23

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2045
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Maybe the question to ask is 'Isthere anyone out there who HAS received a insurance payout for a motorbike accident, and if so, what was their particular situation"

    #12 Posted: 10/12/2011 - 18:27

  • PeterJW

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2011
    Posts: 19

    MADMAC where did you get the info for post #2? Is there a thai government website that displays this information because if this is the case Travelguard will cover me in the event of an accident which will be a great weight off my mind. I have a full UK Driving licence for car only, but I'll apply for the international driving licence today.

    Thanks

    #13 Posted: 12/12/2011 - 07:48

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