Navigating Motorcycle Rental Insurance When Traveling


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By Linda Dailey Paulson

Navigating the need for insurance when renting a motorcycle can seem as challenging as handling a series of switchbacks, but, with adequate preparation, vacationing riders can enjoy the opportunity to see unfamiliar terrain from a two-wheeler.

Some credit card companies provide insurance for rental cars. However, this typically does not apply when the cardholder is renting a motorcycle.

It can be confusing to know whether you are covered fully by your existing policy. Even travel insurance may be inapplicable or inadequate. It is helpful to know the engine size of the vehicle you plan to rent, as some types of insurance don’t even extend to mopeds.

WebBikeWorld says the site frequently receives emails with questions about temporary motorcycle insurance for visitors to the United States, as well as American motorcyclists traveling outside the country.

Motorcycle Services says that those motorcyclists traveling outside the United States, even if they are using their own vehicle, must carry proof of insurance while riding. Typically, U.S.-based policies provide no coverage for the driver or their motorcycle when outside the United States.

If you are a resident of the United States or Canada traveling in Europe, there is a special type of insurance known as “Green Card” insurance, which reportedly meets the foreign regulatory requirements for tourists in most European nations. Again, check carefully before traveling to determine whether you have sufficient insurance for the countries in which you will be traveling.

Those who are visiting North American will typically need insurance if they intend to ride a motorcycle. Coverage required in the United States and Canada typically includes some sort of liability policy for the period during which you will be traveling. This reportedly includes liability coverage for $50,000 to $500,000 per accident and bodily injury/property damage coverage, along with medical coverage.

Some types of coverage may be optional. This may include collision, guest passenger coverage, or uninsured motorist coverage.

Another challenge for owners is whether or not they legally own the vehicle with which they intend to travel. Visitors or tourists typically rent a motorcycle while traveling, but they sometimes bring their own. Most nations’ customs officials will not release a motorcycle without proof of insurance. The lien holder typically will not provide a release to ship a motorcycle without proof of insurance applicable to the nation in which the driver will be traveling.

 If you are renting, the firm may require you to comply with local laws. California Motorcycle Adventures and EagleRider, for example, require each rider to wear an approved helmet.

You may also wish to consider optional types of insurance coverage. This may include collision or passenger coverage.

Obviously, you will want to carefully check to determine what motorcycle insurance coverage you will need for your trip and the laws of the roads on which you will be traveling. Read the terms of your policy carefully. Ask questions of your provider to determine if any additional coverage is needed.

Another factor to consider: Determine whether you have all the appropriate visas and licenses needed to legally operate the motorcycle in the areas in which you plan to travel before renting. You won’t need insurance if you can’t drive the motorcycle.

Linda Dailey Paulson is a professional journalist who writes for, a leading car hire comparison site that searches over 50 car suppliers from London to Sydney. Linda has been covering auto and legal stories for over 20 years.

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