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 ?
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 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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 ???
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 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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 ?
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 guava_girl has been a member since 21/10/2010. Posts: 252
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 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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).
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.
#13 PeterJW has been a member since 30/8/2011. Posts: 19