Travel insurance for motorbike tours and holidays

Alert: We’re just as confused about Brexit as you are! So beware, some of the information on this page may no longer apply post-Brexit. For the most up to date information, please visit GOV.UK.

Motorbike tours and holidays are becoming increasingly popular for UK riders, especially with the cost of air travel rising and pump prices dropping at home.

But while fuel prices will probably start to grow again, the temptation of jumping on your bike and taking a ferry to the European mainland is one that gets many UK riders excited and reaching for their passports.

For others, travelling abroad on your motorbike is a bit daunting but it doesn't have to be. Thinking about it logically, it's the same as riding in the UK but you'll probably be on the other side of the road and have a few other road laws and regulations to read up on.

Am I covered to ride my motorbike abroad?

Most motorbike insurance policies will cover you to ride abroad for a certain period of time, sometimes for as long as 90-days.

Usually you can only use this allowance for a single trip for up to 90-days, rather than multiple trips abroad for a combined total of 90-days. And usually this period will only apply to travel within the European Union.

As ever in insurance, this period and whether you have any allowance at all to ride abroad depends on your individual insurance policy and your insurer.

So if you're likely to go abroad you should look for this condition in your policy before buying it as you won't be able to change it later on and you should always check you are insured for foreign travel with your insurer before you go away.

What level of cover will I receive?

In most cases, you will only be given the most minimal form of cover if you travel abroad on your motorcycle. So if you've got a comprehensive insurance policy in the UK, you will probably not have the same level of cover abroad. Instead you're likely to have Third Party cover only. Again, you should check with your insurer to see what level of cover you have.

My insurance doesn't cover me for travel abroad

If your motorcycle insurance policy doesn't cover you for travel abroad, you want a higher level of cover or you need cover for longer, you can still get insured -- don't panic!

There are travel insurance companies and brokers who will cover you for all manner of motorbikes and riding while you're abroad.

Some standard travel insurance policies will automatically cover you to ride small capacity motorbikes, usually up to 250cc however if you're touring across a continent or state lines, you'll probably be riding something a bit more powerful.

The good news is that there are specialist insurance companies who can cater to your needs.

Travel insurance for long motorbike tours

The Bike Insurer recently went to America on a ten-day road trip along the West Coast of California.

We rented a motorbike from Eagle Rider, a well-known motorcycle touring company, which meant they provided some basic cover for their bike.

However we still needed travel insurance to cover personal injury and medical cover, fortunately, lots of insurers offer cover for long range trips and more, including off-road riding and track riding.

Insurance description

What do I need to know?

When looking for travel insurance for motorbike trips and tours, you need to know what bike you are riding, the type of riding you will be doing and also where you are going.

How will my travel insurance premium for motorbike touring be calculated?

Your travel insurance for motorbike trips and tours is calculated in much the same way as your motorbike insurance at home.

If you're off-road riding on a 1000cc bike, you're going to be deemed more of a risk than somebody who is travelling along quiet roads in rural France on a 50cc scooter.

As such the insurer will need to know what bike you're riding (including capacity, make, model and age, for example), what country or countries you're going to travel in and through, and the type of riding you're doing (off-road, road or track, for example).

You can see what The Bike Insurer learned after our American road trip in early 2015.

Who's going to be expensive to insure?

If you were after travel insurance for your off-road trip through the Gobi desert on your 1000cc Harley-Davidson, you're going to pay a substantial amount for your insurance, if you get any offer at all.

If you're riding to the south of France on your 1000cc Harley-Davidson, it's probably going to be a bit more affordable.

What policy should I go for?

Like any insurance pursuit, your final decision should be based on more than just price.

The policy you go for should provide you with the cover you need (for example if you're off-road riding then you need a policy that covers off-road riding).

You should make sure that you can afford both excess costs and that the policy will cover any medical costs in the event of an accident or injury.

For example, you will need a much bigger allowance for medical cover in the United States (where healthcare is completely privatised and expensive) than you would in Europe (where your European health card will get you the equivalent medical care to residents of that country).

You must make sure that the policy is right for you, before price comes into the equation.