In Italy, locals use the word “motorino” (literally, a little motor) for any moped or scooter, no matter how cheap or luxurious it is. But as you can imagine, there are a vast range of types of motorcycle you could ride around on overseas. It pays to be in the know when it comes to exploring the world on two wheels, because your travel insurance will only cover you to ride certain vehicles.
All data below comes from Canstar’s 2016 Star Ratings for Travel Insurance.
Are you covered to ride a motorbike overseas?
The short answer is that it depends on your licence.
We asked travel insurance providers whether you would be offered motorcycle cover if you had an Australian motorcycle licence:
- 243 providers said Yes – this is included as standard cover
- 32 providers said Maybe – it can be covered if you buy an optional additional cover
- 5 providers said No – they do not cover riding a motorcycle overseas at all
- Only 9 providers said Yes – you would still be covered under standard cover without a motorcycle license
- 18 providers said Maybe – it can be covered if you buy an optional additional cover
- 244 providers said No – they do not cover riding a motorcycle overseas without a valid Australian motorcycle licence
As you can see, it’s pretty important to have your bike licence if you want to ride while overseas, as only 9 providers that we rate will cover you if you don’t have one. These providers are:
- Budget Direct
- Go Insurance
- Travel Insurance Saver
- 1st for Women
- Zoom Travel Insurance
Another important thing to remember is to always wear a helmet – no matter which country you’re riding in, whether they care about helmets or not. All insurers that cover you to ride a 2-wheeler or 3-wheeler require you to wear a helmet while riding or driving. If you’re not wearing a helmet during an accident, you won’t be covered.
It may be obvious, but you should also follow all local road rules in order to remain covered.
When it comes to legal liability, if you are involved in an accident while riding a motorcycle, moped, or scooter and you injure someone, you will not be covered by most of the insurers we rated this year.
What size of bike engine is covered?
If you do have a motorcycle licence, then providers may cover you to ride a motorcycle with an engine size of…
- Up to 100cc with 12 providers
- Up to 125cc with 10 providers
- Up to 200cc with 56 providers
- Up to 250cc with 53 providers
- Unlimited maximum engine size with 143 providers
- No coverage with 6 providers
This means that with 6 providers, even if you have an Australian motorcycle licence, you still will not be covered to ride any kind of 2-wheeler or 3-wheeler motorcycle overseas.
On the smaller scale, you can see that some insurers even require you to have a motorcycle licence just to drive a moped or scooter of up to 100cc. In New Zealand and also in Australia, we can actually already ride a moped on our car licence, so most scooter riders don’t have motorcycle licences. So you might be fine to ride moped or scooter at home but not allowed to ride overseas.
If you do not have a motorcycle licence, but you do have a valid Australian driver’s licence for a car, many providers will cover you to ride a moped or scooter – nothing more powerful (and therefore more risky). It must have a motor engine size of…
- Up to 50cc with 7 providers
- Up to 125cc with 10 providers
- Up to 200cc with 18 providers
- No coverage with 245 providers
Very importantly – note that there are strict policy conditions for all insurers. Don’t assume that you can jump on a bike and go, just because you have insurance through a certain provider. Read your insurer’s product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully.
And by the way, are you covered to ride a motorcycle back home as well?