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$370K bill prompts travel insurance warning


Many travellers are unaware that standard insurance policies rarely cover moped or motorcycle riding - but protection is widely available.

A distraught mother is urging Australians to check their travel insurance policies carefully after being hit with a $370,000 bill.

"Please, please check your insurance papers thoroughly before you leave the country," Rosslyn Gibbs told 9News this week.

The warning comes after Rosslyn's son, Blake, was thrown from his motorbike while holidaying on Indonesia's Lembongan Island.

Gibbs suffered multiple skull fractures and traumatic damage to his brain. He was taken to a local clinic before being transported by boat to a Bali hospital for emergency surgery. Gibbs was then medevaced back to Australia.

Freely, Gibbs' travel insurer of choice, paid for the bill so Gibbs could return home for life-saving treatment. However, Gibbs' family signed an agreement with Freely that they would repay the amount if it was determined he was not covered.

Unfortunately, Gibbs had not added motorcycle or moped cover, so his family is now required to repay the $370,000 bill for medical treatment and medevac costs. The add-on policy would have cost just $7.

A spokesperson for Freely said the company is pleased it could help Blake return to Australia after his accident and wished him a healthy recovery.

"We stress to anyone travelling overseas who is thinking about getting on a bike as a rider or passenger to consider adding motorbike cover to their travel insurance policy," they added.

Jessica Prasida, travel insurance expert at Finder, said it's rare for insurers to provide moped or motorcycle cover as standard but most offer cover as an optional extra.

"Lots of Australian travellers hire a moped or motorbike when they're on holiday so it's become very common for insurance brands to offer some type of cover," she said. "Be aware - both drivers and passengers will need to add this to their policy if they want to be protected."

Which insurance brands cover motorcycles and mopeds?

We've looked at some of our popular travel insurers to see how they cover motorcycles and scooters.

BrandHow to get coverMaximum engine capacityDo I need a motorcycle licence to be covered?
southern cross travel insuranceOptional add-on200ccYes
Covermore logoOptional add-onUnlimited (conditions apply)Yes
Tick LogoAutomatically includedNot mentionedWhen operating a motorcycle that's more than 125cc
Fast Cover LogoOptional add-onNot mentionedYes, unless the motorcylce/ scooter is less than 50cc
Medibank Travel InsuranceOptional add-on250ccNo, but you'll need an Australian motor vehicle licence

Note: This information was last updated August 2023

Attention to detail

In most cases, there are still limitations to the add-on cover offered for motorbikes and mopeds.

For example, it's highly likely that, even with add-on cover, you would only be protected if you are wearing a helmet, the engine size is within the stated limits, and whoever is driving the vehicle has a valid Australian licence.

Many policies also withhold cover if the vehicle is being ridden in a race, for motocross purposes, or professionally in any capacity.

"As always, the most important thing is to check your PDS carefully," said Prasida. "That document tells you everything you need to know about your policy, including what is and isn't covered."

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