Insurance and Other Considerations When Motorcycling Abroad

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If you’re desiring to roll some serious mileage on two wheels but the roadways leading to all the familiar haunts (Sturgis, Daytona, Laguna Seca, et al.) are seeming somewhat lackluster, the cure may be to ride outside your national comfort zone and travel abroad.

When traveling to a country with an unrideable ocean in between, a motorcyclist must consider whether to ship his own bike or rent a motorcycle upon arrival.

A foreign escapade brings with it a litany of uncertainties, one being insurance and how to make sure you’re covered in the worst case scenario, a long way from home in a place where English isn’t the ubiquitous language.

The easiest route for Americans is to simply pack up your bike and head north, eh. As similar as it may be, Canada is a foreign country and for anyone wanting a trial run to familiarize oneself with passports, border crossings, metric road signs, currency exchange and the looming thrill of getting lost, Canada provides a relatively safe environment in which to experiment. And, to simplify the matter even further, most insurance policies cover you and your bike while in Canada. But don’t just assume, place a quick call to your insurance provider to first confirm you’re covered before riding out.

Although a part of the North American continent, traveling south to Mexico will provide a greater level of unfamiliarity than a Canadian experience. Not only are roadsigns metric, they’re written in Spanish and the deeper south you ride the less spoken English you’ll hear. You’ll certainly want to establish the terms of your insurance policy and purchase any additional coverage prior to crossing the border.

Motorcycle Canada

Traveling north to Canada not only offers scenic roads with little traffic, but your current motorcycle insurance is usually valid.

At this juncture (with Mexico’s drug violence in mind) it’s a good time to mention travel medical insurance. Also known as international medical insurance, travel medical insurance covers you for emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation while traveling outside your home country. Emergency medical evacuations will get you out of a remote area and transported to a place where you can receive proper medical care, while repatriation coverage ensures your body is properly transported home or to a nearby funeral home.

Travel medical insurance generally provides for:

● Reimbursement for unexpected medical and dental costs
● Help obtaining emergency medical transportation when you are injured.
● Payment for emergency medical evacuation services, including medical care
● Emergency travel assistance to help you locate a local medical facility
● Accidental death and dismemberment to help take care of your family if you are seriously injured or killed while traveling

If you plan on taking an overseas trip, the expense of such an endeavor requires you to consider trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation (and trip interruption) insurance provides reimbursement of prepaid non-refundable costs in the case of a cancellation or interruption due to a covered reason. With trip cancellation insurance an unexpected occurrence such illness, a visa or passport delay, business conflict, etc., will not cause you to forfeit a large sum of money.

Motorcycle Travel

Don’t worry…it only looks like you’re going the wrong way.

When traveling to a country with an unrideable ocean in between, a motorcyclist must consider whether to ship his own bike or rent a motorcycle upon arrival. Another consideration is touring solo or purchasing a spot in a tour group such as Edelweiss.

If you plan to ship your own bike the same advice above applies: check with your insurance provider to understand your current coverage and whether or not you need to purchase special international insurance, travel medical insurance and trip cancellation insurance. If you’re travelling with a tour group and using one of its motorcycles, insurance for the bike is usually provided by way of your deposit. Traveling with a tour company also helps lessen the pressure and anxiety of touring in a foreign country with different laws, languages, procedures, money – they may even have you riding on the wrong side of the road!

Lastly, consider purchasing either a temporary international plan for your cell phone or a prepaid, disposable phone when you arrive. It also never hurts to have a good motorcycle GPS. Safe travels!



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  • Jeffrey McCollum

    Good grief ! The American fear mongols hard a work. This is all about insurance, and little else and placing fear in riders. Riding abroad is an adventure, and I assume very few do and even less ship there bikes. Many place you will ride, insurance is less, way less than America and health care is free or just pennys. Some of the best riding in the world is in Thailand, Rental bikes are every where some for as low as $2 a day and include insurance ! Good rental companies like “Red Ride” in Chiang mai Thailand will help set things up for you and plan your trip or even arrange a guide or companion to go along with you. Some of the best rides of my life !