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Travel Insurance for Motorbike riding

Travel Insurance for Motorbike riding

You're travelling through Thailand, and you've decided to rent a motorbike to get around and see the sights. Before you jump on, there are a few things you need to know about travel insurance for riding on a motorbike.

To be covered under a SureSave policy, you must:

  • Hold an appropriate and valid licence recognised in the country you are travelling in for the motorcycle you operate.

  • Obey the road rules of that country.

  • Hold an equivalent licence in Australia to operate the same class of motorcycle.

  • Wear a helmet, whether as a driver or a passenger - even it isn't required in the destination country. Not only is this for your own safety, but failure to do so will result in your claim being denied.

What do we mean by "motorbike"?

References to motorbikes include motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and any other motorised bike.

Note: Quad bike riding is not covered by SureSave travel insurance, except where the traveller is:

  • Over the age of 15; and

  • Participating with a licensed tour operator.

What licence do I need?

The licensing requirements for motorbike riding overseas can be complicated, but the insurance requirements can be broken down into a few key considerations:

  • You must hold an appropriate and valid licence in Australia for the class of motorbike you’ll be operating (for scooters under 50cc check the requirement for your state).

  • In addition to the above, you must also hold an appropriate and valid licence recognised in the country you’re travelling in. If you don't have a valid licence, you're riding illegally and are therefore not covered.

  • If you hold an International Drivers Permit (IDP), check whether it is accepted in the destination country.

Can I use an International Driving Permit?

The International Driving Permit (IDP) is proof that you hold a licence at home. You must obtain it before you travel – you can’t apply for the permit once you’re in the destination country.

Whether it’s recognised or not, depends on the country. For example, in Italy, if you have an Australian motorcycle licence, the International Driver’s Permit is accepted. In China, it’s not recognised - you will need to apply for a temporary Chinese driving permit.

In Vietnam, you need a local Vietnamese licence to ride a motorcycle 50cc or greater, and the IDP isn’t accepted. However, it’s difficult to get a local licence on a tourist visa.

So in a nutshell, always be sure to check with the consulate of the country you are travelling to before you go to confirm licensing requirements.

Tips for riding a motorbike safely

  • Wear a helmet, whether as a passenger or a driver. This is also one of the requirements for cover.

  • Wear protective clothing – bare skin v. gravel is never going to end well!

  • Ensure you book through a reputable company who have well maintained motorcycles. Dodgy bikes can be a nuisance to operate and cause issues on the road (not to mention the safety risk!)

  • Don’t ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (if you’re tempted, bear in mind that this will result in your claim being denied).

  • Follow the road rules. We don’t cover illegal and reckless behaviour, but also, it’s always a good idea to exercise greater caution in an unfamiliar environment. In South East Asia for example, you may find yourself negotiating your way through roads that are overcrowded and under-maintained.

The Smartraveller website has information about local travel and advice on overseas road safety.

Motorbike riding - exclusions

We don’t cover the motorbike itself

While we can offer cover for your overseas medical expenses while travelling on a motorbike, we do not cover theft of or damage to the motorcycle itself, nor do we cover the insurance excess if you are hiring a motorcycle. For this reason, it's a good idea to purchase personal liability insurance and physical damage insurance from the rental provider for the time the bike is in your care.

Personal liability when riding a motorbike

We do not cover your liability arising from your ownership, possession or use of a mechanically propelled vehicle (this means you’re not covered if you injure someone or cause damage to someone’s property whilst the motorcycle is in your care).

Racing and off-road riding

We do not cover off-road riding (e.g. dirt bike riding; motocross) or racing of any kind.

Australian licence requirements for scooters/mopeds under 50cc

The licence requirements in Australia for scooters/mopeds under 50cc vary from state to state. We've put together a summary of the current requirements, however travellers should always check with their state licensing authority to confirm what requirements apply to them.

  • QLD: Under a C class licence you can currently operate a moped (with a maximum capacity of 50mL) with a maximum manufacturer’s top rated speed of 50km/h. If you are riding a moped on a car licence you must not carry a passenger. For more information visit the QLD government site here.

  • SA: The holder of any class of South Australian driver's licence can currently ride a moped with an engine capacity of 50mL or less, as long as it's registered, insured and compliant with Australian design rules. For more information visit the SA government site here.

  • WA: If you have an unrestricted C class licence, you may currently operate a moped provided it does not exceed 50cc, and is not powered by a piston engine. For more information, visit the WA Department of Transport.

  • NT: Currently you must hold a drivers licence to ride a scooter in the Northern Territory. For more information visit the NT government site here.

  • ACT: You currently must hold a motorcycle licence to operate a moped in the ACT. For more information visit the Access Canberra site.

  • NSW: All motorcycle and scooter riders currently must have a Class R (Rider) licence. For more information visit Roads and Maritime Services.

  • TAS: Currently you must have a motorcycle licence to operate a moped, a car licence is not sufficient. For more information visit the Tasmanian government transport site here.

  • VIC: You must have a motorcycle licence to operate motorised scooters that are classed as motor vehicles - that is, they fulfil the following criteria - are powered by petrol, or have a max power of more than 200 watts, or can go faster than 10km/h on level ground. For more information visit VicRoads.