What makes good travel insurance for bikers?

Q: I bought what I thought was good-quality travel insurance before a European tour last year. But when I had a fairly big off, thanks to a front tyre puncture, and made a claim for damaged leathers and gloves as well as my crash helmet, the insurer rejected it.

They claim that the leathers are “valuables” according to a clause in their terms and conditions.

I am going to take this to the Insurance Ombudsman as I think leathers are Personal Protective Equipment and not a ‘luxury’.

In the meantime I am planning this year’s getaway, and I want to make sure I have got better cover in this regard.

So what advice do you have to offer?

Andy Court, Ashford 


A: You sound like you have fallen foul of a clause that lumps ‘leather’ in with gold, platinum and jewelry, which is unfortunate.

Travel insurance is really about big-ticket items like hospitalisation and repatriation, so you need to look beyond the clothing and helmet stuff and get cover for those circumstances first and foremost.

In an accident you should be looking for a Policy where:


  • The bike is repaired or returned home to your dealer (but be aware that a badly damaged bike will often be written off abroad and not brought back to the UK).
  • You get Medical Cover for your injuries that includes the cost of helicopter and ambulance at the scene and then subsequent flight home (think about the costs involved in THAT one…)
  • Help with repairs and breakdown issues
  • Car hire if your bike cannot be repaired so that you can complete your holiday.


Be very careful about territory. Many policies are for Europe only – note that USA and Rest of World is a lot more expensive.

If you travel abroad more than twice a year consider an Annual Policy that includes skiing, golf equipment or business use (if you do those other things) – it’s much more cost effective.

Make sure you declare any pre-existing injuries and medical conditions.

Although it’s a bore, once you have bought a policy be prepared to go through the terms and conditions for clothing and equipment cover. You have got a 14-day cooling off period to cancel the policy in.

Alastair McFarlane, MCi Tours

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