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Motorcycle travel insurance

Are you looking for travel insurance that covers you for riding a motorbike overseas? Find out who will cover you.

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You wouldn’t hit the road in Australia without insurance. However, when people go overseas they throw caution to the wind and do things they normally wouldn't. One such activity is riding a scooter or motorcycle uninsured. If you’re involved in an accident overseas and you're uninsured, you could be facing a massive medical, hospital and possible evacuation bill, plus a bill for the damage to the motorcycle as well.

This article looks at why motorcycle travel insurance is needed overseas, what levels of cover are available and what is and is not covered in a normal travel insurance policy.

What you need to know

According to Smarttraveller, "Australian travellers should ensure they wear helmets, preferably full-face helmets, and other protective clothing when riding motorcycles, scooters and mopeds overseas in order to minimise the risk of serious injury." But in order to actually be covered by your policy, most travel insurers will also require:

  • That you have a valid Australian motorcycle licence.
  • The motorcycle or moped must be less than the maximum engine size stated in the policy.
  • You must be wearing a helmet.
  • If you are a passenger, the driver must have a valid licence in the country you are in.

Which travel insurance brands cover overseas motorcycle use?

BrandMax engine size of motorbikeApply
1cover50ccMore info
American Express200ccMore info
Budget Direct125ccMore info
columbus direct travel insurance logoColumbus Direct125cc. Cover is available for unlimited engine size with the Sports/Adventure Pack add onMore info


50ccGet quote
InsureandGo125ccGet quote
itrek50ccMore info


125ccGet quote

Picture not described

Travel Insurance Saver

250ccMore info
Travel InsuranzLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)Get quote
virgin money logoVirgin250ccMore info
World Care250ccMore info
zoom logo


Under 50cc: You must hold a current Australian driver's
licence or driver's licence valid for the country you are riding in. Over 50cc: You must hold a current Australian motorcycle licence or
motorcycle licence valid for the country you are riding in.
More info
BrandMax engine size of Motorbike
1300 travel insurance250cc
AHM Travel Insurance200cc
American Express200cc
AussieLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Australia Post200cc
Australian Seniors200cc
Australian Unity250cc
Bank of Melbourne250cc
Big SkyLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Budget Direct125cc
BupaLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
CGULimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
ChiLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Columbus DirectOver 250cc with the Sports/Adventure Pack A
Commonwealth Bank250cc
CotaLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Cua Travel Insurance250cc
DownunderLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Fast Cover50cc
Go insurance125cc
HIF Travel Insurance200cc
HSBC Travel Insurance50 cc
Insure4LessLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
National SeniorsLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
NIBLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
NoWorries Travel Insurance125cc
NRMA Travel Insurance200cc
Online Travel Insurance250cc
OverSixty Travel Insurance250cc
Professionals Travel Cover50cc
Southern Cross200cc
St George Travel Insurance250cc
SuncorpLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
SureSaveLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Teachers Health250cc
Tick Travel125cc
Travel Insurance DirectLimit not specified in the product disclosure statement (PDS)
Travel Insurance Saver250cc
Travel with Jane50cc
Virgin Money250cc

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Who needs travel insurance for motorcycles?

Basically, anyone who rides on a motorcycle or moped overseas needs motorcycle travel insurance. That includes the person in charge of the motorcycle and any passengers they carry as well. They need cover for medical expenses above all else, as the greatest danger with riding overseas is having an accident and not having health insurance.

Countries like the USA charge thousands of dollars a day for hospital and medical treatment, so if you’re planning to ride down Route 66, make sure you’ve got motorcycle travel insurance before you head off.


Australian insurer, Fast Cover, reveals how it paid out a claim of $493,000 following a serious motorcycle accident in Pokhara, Nepal.

Stuart Hurst (56) was involved in a motorcycle accident that had him on life support and has left him a permanent paraplegic. Fast Cover took care of his emergency medical treatment which involved rib, spine and brain surgery, and his evacuation back to Australia.
November 2019

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

What does motorcycle travel insurance cover?

Most travel insurance policies that cover you when riding a motorcycle abroad will only provide medical and hospital cover in the event of an accident and only if the motorcycle is under a certain horsepower (usually no more than 125cc). They will also only cover you for just a few days, so if you are planning an extended motorcycle tour, you will need to take out more comprehensive cover.

What are the different levels of cover?

There are several different levels of cover provided by motorcycle travel insurance. These include:

  • No cover. Some travel insurance policies refuse to cover you under any circumstances.
  • Limited cover. As mentioned previously, many policies cover you if the motorcycle is low powered, but only for medical and hospital cover and only for a few days.
  • Dedicated cover. Provides cover for motorcycles over 125cc and for longer periods, but still only for hospital and medical cover in the event of an accident.
  • Comprehensive cover. For a higher premium, you can purchase comprehensive cover, which includes bikes of any size, whether they belong to you or to someone else, for both on- and off-road use and including loss or damage to belongings, panniers or riding gear and cover for pillion passengers as well.

Like any insurance, the level of cover you opt for will depend on the amount of riding you intend to do and how much you are prepared to pay.

When am I not covered?

Common exclusions pertaining to motorcycle travel insurance include:

  • No cover if you were racing, riding whilst intoxicated, under the influence of drugs or behaving recklessly in any way.
  • No cover if you were not wearing a helmet. Even though not all countries require a helmet to be worn, it is a prerequisite in most motorcycle travel insurance policies.
  • No cover if you were not licensed. That means licensed to ride the same sized motorcycle in Australia and in the country you are visiting.
  • No cover if the accident occurs due to your negligence, inattention or lack of knowledge of the road rules that apply in the country you are visiting.
  • No liability cover for injuring someone or causing property damage while in charge of the motorcycle.
  • No cover for theft or criminal damage of the motorcycle.
  • No cover for the insurance excess if you are hiring the motorcycle.

Am I covered for motor scooters?

Whether it’s a motorcycle, motor scooter or moped, if it has 2 wheels and you plan to ride it while you are on holiday overseas, you will need to make sure you have travel insurance to cover you in the event of an accident. Insurers regard motor scooters in the same light as motorcycles and will only cover you for injuries sustained in an accident under the following conditions:

  • The motorcycle or motor scooter must be under a certain horsepower (usually 125cc), unless you have arranged cover for a larger bike.
  • You must hold a valid licence to ride it (either a licence to ride an equivalent machine in Australia or a local licence in the case of countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam).
  • The accident must not be the result of your racing, reckless or inattentive behaviour, lack of knowledge of local road rules or riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Am I covered for quad biking?

A quad bike is another form of motorbike that is popular to ride while holidaying overseas. It too is subject to the rules of motorcycle riding when it comes to travel insurance in that:

  • You must be licensed to ride it (which will depend on the laws of the country).
  • You must be wearing a helmet.
  • You must not be racing or driving recklessly.
  • You must not be using it in a professional capacity, for example participating in a professional sport or paid activity.

As with motorcycle insurance, you will only be covered for injuries sustained in an accident, not for damage to the quad bike, injury to other persons or damage to third party property.

It’s important to take your holiday destination and planned activities into account when considering motorcycle travel insurance. If you are just going to Bali and only planning to hire a scooter for a day, then your normal travel insurance policy may be all you need (as long as you are licensed and riding legally). But if you are taking a road trip across the USA, some additional motorcycle insurance will obviously be required.

Rules that typically apply to motorcycles in SE Asia include:

  • If you have a valid Australian motorcycle licence, an International Driver’s Permit is acceptable in Bali, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, but not in Vietnam.
  • In Vietnam, you need a temporary Vietnamese driver’s licence (requiring you to have a 3-month residency visa) in order to ride any motorcycle over 50cc capacity.
  • While it is not compulsory for some locals to wear helmets in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Bali, the police will enforce this rule for visitors.

Whichever country you visit, you should observe the following safety tips when riding abroad:

  • Always wear a helmet, whether it is the law or not.
  • Always wear leathers, long pants, gloves and boots to protect exposed skin, even in hot climates.
  • Stay alert to what is going on around you at all times and make allowances for other drivers, particularly when the road rules are different from what you are used to.
  • Know where you are going. Planning your route will reduce the likelihood of unforeseen circumstances.

Travel insurance for backpackers

Motorcycle travel insurance is particularly useful for backpackers because a motorcycle is often an integral part of their travel arrangements. If not riding one, a backpacker is often a pillion passenger on a motorcycle or scooter, in both cases, motorcycle travel insurance is required.

The whole notion of backpacking revolves around cheap travel and seeing the country from a local’s point of view, so motorcycles and scooters are naturally going to feature heavily with backpackers who visit most SE Asian countries, as well as European countries like Italy and France.

Backpacker travel insurance that focuses less on trip cancellation and loss of luggage and more on medical and hospital expenses, including those incurred due to a motorcycle accident, would therefore be a much better investment.

How do I make sure I can claim if I am in a motorcycle accident?

Most travel insurance policies that cover motorcycles use almost the same wording in their product disclosure statements (PDS):

No cover is provided without a current Australian motorcycle licence or a current motorcycle licence that is valid for the country you are travelling in.

If you remember this above all else, you are half way to being fully covered, as insurers including Allianz, AIG, American Express, Budget Direct, Citibank, Cover-More and Virgin Money all say the same thing in no uncertain terms.

Follow these guidelines to ensure cover

  • Wear a helmet and protective clothing.
  • Know and obey the road rules of the country you are in.
  • Make sure you are fully licensed to ride in the country you are in.
  • If drunk, drugged or in doubt, take the bus.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TimMarch 3, 2017

    I am travelling overseas with a tour company by motorcycle and am looking for specific excess removal insurance,from USD4000 down to USD1000 for a 14 day period. The motorcycle size is 600cc.I already have excellent travel insurance for all the other requirements and am an extremely competent motorcyclist.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZubairMarch 3, 2017Staff

      Hi Tim,

      Thank you for your question.

      Generally, travel insurance does not provide cover for the insurance excess if you are hiring a motorcycle. However, travel insurance can cover you for car hire excess. If you are hiring the motorcycle from a rental company then it’s a good idea to check directly with the rental company as they might have the option of some basic cover.


  2. Default Gravatar
    BradJanuary 21, 2016


    I am looking for travel insurance which will have motorbike cover for a 250cc offroad bike to ride for 8 days in Cambodia. I only have a learners permit for a motorbike here in Australia, is that enough to get cover or must I be full licence with no restrictions?
    Thank You

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardJanuary 21, 2016Staff

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for your question. It’ll depend on the insurer but generally you won’t be able to get cover for riding a 250cc bike overseas if you only hold a learners permit. You may find cover for a bike with a lower engine capacity. For example, 1Cover will cover L platers who are riding 50cc motorcycles.

      I hope this was helpful,

  3. Default Gravatar
    GarryJanuary 14, 2016

    “Compare Travel Insurance Policies For Motorcycles”
    the PDS of some of these policies do not seem to clearly mention motorcycle cover and specifically over 250CC. have these all been checked by finder for verification as such

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardJanuary 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Garry,

      Thanks for your question. Yes, all of these conditions have been checked. Some of the policies do not make specific mention of the maximum engine capacity. However, none of the insurers in our panel (which outline a maximum) cover engines above 250cc.

      I hope this was helpful,

  4. Default Gravatar
    RosalindAugust 10, 2015

    Good Morning,
    I was just wondering what choices i have regarding travel insurance policies that include Motorcycle under 120cc with me holding an Indonesian Motorcycle license?
    Also, the policy pay out the hospital direct if anything were to happen rather than me paying & then having to submit a claim to get my money back.
    Thank you

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardAugust 10, 2015Staff

      Hi Rosalind,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to make product recommendations. The table above displays the limits and some of the conditions surrounding the use of motorcycles overseas. As for the payments to hospitals, this is policy dependant and varies from insurer to insurer.

      All the best,

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