Are You Insured To Ride A Moped or Motorbike Abroad?

20 May 2024

News Travel Insurance Travel News

Have you ever considered renting a moped abroad? They’re convenient and give you freedom. However, before signing that rental slip, do you understand the insurance implications of riding on two wheels in a foreign country?

Mopeds, motorbikes, and quadbikes are widely available to Brits abroad, especially in European and Southeast Asian destinations. Countries like Greece, Turkey, and Thailand offer tempting opportunities to get off the beaten track and take the scenic route on two wheels. However, amidst the allure of these adventures lies a sobering reality: the risks of riding mopeds abroad are not to be underestimated.

Join us as we delve into the topic and shine a light on riding scooters abroad. 

Statistics & Reports 

ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents) warns holidaymakers not to use quad bikes and mopeds unless they are part of organised tours or excursions*. The warning comes after a string of serious accidents and fatalities.

In October 2017, a 25-year-old woman was seriously injured in Vietnam following a moped crash. A 23-year-old man from Ireland had to have his leg amputated after a moped crash in Thailand in December 2017. And in July 2023, a 19-year-old man died following a quad bike accident in Crete.

Research from the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) states that “two-thirds of Brits who have driven abroad have run into problems”. 

The numbers found in reports will be lower than in reality as not everyone reports their accidents. Those riding mopeds or quadbikes abroad should know the physical risk and the financial cost of an accident. Damage to the bikes is at the user’s cost, not the rental companies. It’s essential to ensure your travel insurance covers mopeds, so read the small print and add it if necessary. 

*Note: GoWalkabout Travel Insurance policies cannot cover motorbike or moped tours.

Insurance Coverage Overview

Travel insurance companies will only cover mopeds if you hold a UK driving licence that allows you to ride an equivalent vehicle in the UK. Insurance also stipulates a helmet must be worn at all times. This is regardless of the local or country laws of your travel area and what the hire company may tell you. 

Typically, this cover extends to medical expenses but does not cover personal or public liability. So, holidaymakers should ensure they take out additional cover separately or with the hire company—without this additional cover, they will be personally liable.

Unknown to most, few travel insurance policies cover quad biking as standard. Most policies require you to pay an additional premium for an activity pack. Any medical claim related to a quad bike or motorcycle incident will likely be denied without the correct cover, leaving you facing a hefty medical bill. An air ambulance home from Europe costs £30,000, not including hospital bills.

What Go Walkabout Activity Packs Cover Riding A Moped or Scooter?

Thinking of adding an Activity Pack to your Go Walkabout Travel Insurance? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Activity Pack 2 will cover riding a moped/scooter up to 125cc (driving or riding pillion) and cover quad biking. 
  • Activity pack 3 will cover riding a moped/motorbike over 125cc (driving or riding pillion)

The small print? 

  • Riders must always wear helmets and have the appropriate valid UK licence for the scooter, motorbike, or quadbike.
  • When quad biking, you must be a) with a professional, qualified and licensed guide, instructor or operator; or b) have the appropriate certification or licence to do this sport or activity at home. If operating a motor vehicle, the driver must have the appropriate valid UK licence for the machine.

Man riding a moped abroad with helmet on

Stay Safe: Tips For Riding Mopeds or Quad Bikes Abroad

As the peak summer holiday season hits, ABTA advises opting for safer modes of travel, such as cars or public transport, when abroad. However, some people will still choose to go on two wheels. Also, many holiday destinations offer quad biking excursions or tours that can be pre-booked or paid upon arrival. 

If you still plan on participating in quad bike activities or renting a scooter, here are our top tips to stay safe while riding:

  1. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. In an accident, exposed skin will suffer severe abrasions that could lead to sepsis. Sepsis is a skin disease that could result in amputation.
  2. Ensure the excursion company is reputable and fully licensed. In many countries, street vendors pose as tour operators. While this is not illegal in all countries, the majority do not have the correct personal or public liability insurance. If you are involved in an accident, no compensation will be available.
  3. Stick to assigned routes and do not head ‘off the beaten track’. As tempting as it may be to head off track and explore the surroundings, always ensure you stay on designated routes designed to withstand the impact of quad bikes and mopeds.
  4. Get insured! There are some travel insurers that will allow you to add activities to the policy on an adhoc basis, so if you are the spontaneous type this may be something to look out for.
  5. Don’t drink and drive! Just because you are on holiday does not mean you are invincible. Some countries have the same laws as the UK, some are more lenient. However, it’s never a good idea.
  6. Check the bike’s condition before renting. Ensure the brakes and lights are working, and note any scratches before signing the paperwork. 

We want you to make the most of your time away from the UK. Contact us today to discuss your travel insurance needs and how we can help you explore the world!

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