WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?

This question deals with two types of insurance; personal and motorcycle.

PERSONAL INSURANCE

Most major tour companies leave the issue of personal travel and medical insurance up to the tour participant. The same is true for my tours. Check with your personal health insurance provider to see what coverage they offer for foreign travel. Some health insurance providers have reciprocal agreements with specific medical facilities overseas. For instance, my health insurance company gave me a list of 6 – 8 hospitals for each of the countries we tour in where those hospitals have reciprocal agreements with my insurance carrier.

Additional medical insurance, as well as travel insurance, can be found though your travel agent, credit card companies, various on-line sources, etc.

MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE

The insurance issues vary depending on the rental agency and country involved. A general explanation of the potential risk assumed by the tour participant who rents the motorcycle is discussed below.

A deductible deposit, is required by all the rental sources as part of the comprehensive insurance provided by the rental company. The deposits range from approx. $500 to $1,250 depending on which shop you rent from. If you crash the motorcycle and the damage exceeds the deductible you will lose the entire deposit. If you damage the motorcycle to the tune of $200 you will have the difference between your deposit amount and the $200 returned to you. If you return the bike without any damage the entire deposit will be returned to you.

It is a good idea to go over the bike with the rental agent at the time you pick it up and record any pre-existing damage to ensure that you are not held liable for it upon return of the motorcycle. Most rental sources do this walk-around as a standard part of the rental procedure.

A damage appraisal may be required if there is extensive damage to the motorcycle. The rental company may be required by their insurance company to submit an appraisal to support the large amount of the damage claim. If an appraisal is required the person who rented the bike and caused the damage may have to pay for the appraisal.

The cost of transport for a damaged motorcycle that can not be ridden back to the rental company may be charged to the person who rented the motorcycle.

Other charges, can occur for the cost of parts not returned with the motorcycle. For instance, damage to the hard side cases that come with most BMW rentals is covered by the deductible. However, if damage to the side case is so severe that it won’t stay attached to the bike and you decide to ditch it, you will most likely have to pay for the cost of the side case plus whatever other damage is covered by the deductible when you return the motorcycle.

The discussion above covers some of the basics. As a general rule I have found that motorcycle dealerships that rent are the most lenient when it comes to charging for motorcycle damages. Rental agencies that are strictly in the rental business (as opposed to dealers that generate revenues from renting, selling, repairing, and accessorizing bikes) are more apt to be more aggressive in recouping damage costs. Obviously the best thing to do is DON’T CRASH. If you do, it may only cost a couple of hundred dollars, or much more, depending on the circumstances.

In addition to insurance for the motorcycle there is the concern about roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown or accident. Obviously, traveling in a group helps as someone can always go for help.

Car clubs in the U.S. such as AAA (American Automobile Association) have reciprocal agreements for basic roadside assistance with all the major national automobile clubs in the countries where we tour. If you a member of AAA such agreements will cover you for basic assistance.

There is always a cell phone in our group so that we can call for assistance. I’ve found the local Europeans to be very helpful in the event of an accident or breakdown, frequently having already called for local assistance before we have even pulled our cell phone out of the tank bag. Fortunately our need for such assistance has been rare and readily fixable.