It is hard enough travelling on UK roads, where you will be familiar with which direction the traffic is coming from and the way that Brits drive. Trying to travel around, say, Rome on a moped might be appealing, but there is a greater chance that you will make a mistake than you would if you were riding around London, simply because of the different traffic laws.
Getting around a city or town while you are on holiday is certainly made easier by using a motorcycle or moped, and many standard travel insurance policies will offer cover for mopeds for a few days up to 50cc or even 125cc in some cases.
Who is motorcycle travel insurance for?
Dedicated motorcycle travel insurance will usually cover anyone who is planning on riding a motorcycle from 50cc to 350cc and above - depending on the policy - for more than a couple of days whilst they are abroad. With the average travel insurance policy, you should find you are covered to ride a scooter, moped or low-powered motorbike, but don't forget to check the terms and conditions of any prospective policy to confirm this.
However, If you plan on riding a motorcycle for longer than this time period, or a motorbike with a bigger engine - usually above 350cc - then you would need to get specific cover that will allow you to do this.
What does motorcycle holiday insurance usually cover?
On a standard policy it is usual to receive basic cover for the use of motorcycles which do not exceed 50cc. For higher engine sizes up to 350cc or above, you will usually have to pay extra and opt for a policy bolt-on or tailored cover to ensure you are fully covered.
Unsurprisingly, you will not be covered for racing a motorcycle on your policy, and you must have a UK licence that entitles you to drive a motorcycle of equivalent size. You should also check the local road laws, as any infringement which leads to a claim could see your insurer refuse to payout.
Minimum cover levels
On a comprehensive motorcycle travel insurance policy you should be looking to have at least £2m of medical cover (double this figure when travelling to the USA), plus air ambulance cover if you need to be taken from the scene of a traffic accident by helicopter.
Your cancellation cover should be at least as much as you have paid for your holiday, including any pre-paid trips and excursions (don't forget to halve this amount if there are two of you travelling). Your baggage cover should, again, be at least as much as you are taking with you, and check any single item limits in case you have items that are above this.
You should also have at least £1m of personal liability cover in case someone makes a claim against you for an incident while you are away.
Make sure you have cover for travel delays - so you can claim for costs you incur as a result of your flight being extensively delayed - and if possible get catastrophe cover, so if there is a repeat of the Icelandic Ash Cloud, or some other major incident, you will not be left out of pocket.
Motorcycle safety tips
Once you've got you motorbike travel insurance sorted for your holiday, it's time to think about some safety precautions. There are many things you can do to improve your safety when riding a motorcycle abroad and the most important are:
Wear a helmet. It might be tempting to travel around a hot country without a helmet on, but if you have an accident you are far more likely to suffer a serious injury without this crucial piece of safety equipment. Any helmet you use should comply with current safety standards, and make sure it fits properly.
Read the road ahead. This is not as easy when you are abroad, but it is still something that is important to do. You should try to judge ahead, and estimate what other road users will do to try and steer clear of trouble.
Wear protective clothing. Again, in a hot country it may be appealing to wear flip-flops and shorts to ride your motorcycle, but it is important to cover any exposed skin in case you fall off.
Try to wear protective clothing where possible, such as gloves, proper boots or shoes, and a leather jacket and trousers.
Be careful going round bends. Most crashes will happen on corners, either because you are going too fast or you are on the wrong side of the road. The latter is a particular problem if you are driving on the right rather than the left while you are abroad. Take it easy, and try to look around the corner as you are riding.
Check your blind spots. Blind spots are the points in your mirrors where you cannot see a vehicle moving up behind you. Since you will often be driving on the opposite side of the road to the UK, you may find it harder to work out where your blind spots are. So take some time before you set off to check where your blind spots are, and if necessary, turn your head to check for traffic behind you before making a manoeuvre.