Does my travel insurance cover me if I'm injured riding a motorcycle or scooter?

There is a good chance that we will rent a scooter, moped or motorcycle when we travel to Vanuatu, Southeast Asia, and/or South America. It’s a very common and affordable way to get around in many countries. However, there is one thing that many people don’t consider before renting. Will your travel insurance cover you if you are in an accident?

We are using World Nomads for our travel insurance. Here is what they say on the Help Desk section of their web site for United States citizens (the answer varies based on your home country so be sure to check for yourself):

Q: Am I covered by travel insurance if I’m riding a motorbike or scooter?

A: Yup, hop on that moped or motorcycle with confidence…we’ve got you covered. Just remember you need to be properly licensed for whatever you’re riding and you always need to comply with local laws and the fine print of the plans, like the part about how you can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and still expect to be covered if you crash. Also, we don’t offer collision damage waiver for motorbikes or motorcycles. 

Notice the part that says “you need to be properly licensed for whatever you’re riding.”  If you’re not licensed to drive a motorcycle, scooter or moped, you are not covered if you get in an accident. I called World Nomads and verified that this was the case. That medical bill for a broken ankle, road rash, etc. – all yours! That’s a big and expensive risk if you’re not licensed. It also makes complete sense. The insurance company knows that a licensed rider will be a lower risk, especially as compared to someone who suddenly decides to rent a scooter on vacation. 

Review the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage, too!

Something else important to check on is if your insurance policy (1) includes a Collision Damage Waiver and (2) whether the CDW includes motorcycles. The World Nomads Explorer Policy includes a CDW (where allowable; for example, some states in the United States don’t permit it). However, their CDW specifically excludes motorcycles. Therefore, just because your travel insurance policy includes a CDW, don’t assume you’re covered. 

Motorcycle Licensure Course

Neither one of us had our motorcycle licenses, so we took a two-day comprehensive course that required us to pass a written and practical exam. There were several experienced riders in the class and they said that they learned a lot about maneuverability and safety skills that they never knew before. At the end of it, because we passed both exams we received our motorcycle licenses. There were only two perfect scores (out of 10 students) on the practical portion of the test. Guess who got one of those? Rachel! My score was…um, not perfect. 

The class cost us $175 per person, but was well worth it. Now we know our World Nomads policy will provide medical coverage if we decide to rent a bike. Plus, this is one more new experience that is a part of our RTW life reset!

Long story short, if you’re thinking of renting a two-wheeler while traveling, check with your travel insurance carrier to see how their coverage works. If they require licensure, we recommend a class like the one we took – it was a lot of fun and now we feel like there is one more activity that we will be able to take advantage of while on the road.

On a related topic, click here to check out our article about International Driving Permits.

Do you have any thoughts to share about hitting the life reset button? Please post below or contact us directly!


Ira · August 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Great piece full of useful advice, thank you. As a fellow Virginian about to embark on a year-long RTW trip, I would like to know where you took your motorcycle lessons.

    Peter · August 14, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Hello! We’re very excited for you! We took our course through – it was terrific and well worth the time and investment!

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