Sydney, April 14 2023: Authorities in Bali have threatened to clamp down on tourists who behave badly on their roads. Leading Australian travel insurance company TID warns there are limits to what your insurance will cover if you’re injured or involved in a collision.
Bali is a top destinations for Australians, with just over 90,000 hitting their shores in January this year alone. Riding a bike can be part of a true Balinese experience, and a few tips can go a long way when it comes to ensure good behaviour and safety.
The Australian government has warned motorbike accidents are common and tourists planning to rent a motorbike should have riding experience, rent only from a reputable place and ensure that the motorbike has been well maintained.
“It is highly recommended that you obtain full medical and take out insurance on the bike. In order to be legal you must have either an Indonesian or international licence. Failure to have the correct licence may invalidate any insurance and be very costly,” warns travel advice from the Australian Embassy in Indonesia, aimed at Australian travellers to Bali. It may also have serious consequences.
Ali Diaper, head of travel marketing at TID, said TID offers travel insurance that covers motorbike and scooter riding while abroad.
“We want people to be able to do things they enjoy when they go on holidays,” Ms Diaper said. “And that includes riding a motorbike or a scooter. But travellers must follow basic legal requirements and use common sense.”
Ms Diaper said a valid driver’s licence, for the vehicle hired, is a must. And you must wear a helmet. “If you’re not qualified to operate a motorbike in Australia, but decide to start riding in Bali, you’re not covered by TID if things go wrong,” she said. “You’re also not covered if you are licensed to ride back home but the Indonesian authorities don’t recognise your licence. That’s an important distinction. No company can insure against an illegal activity.
“It’s also a condition of coverage that you wear a helmet for motorbikes with an engine capacity greater than 250cc, even if it’s not a requirement in the country you’re visiting.,” she said.
A common misconception is that licensing laws around motorbikes and scooters in Southeast Asia are not as stringent as those in the UK, Europe or Australia. It’s a common trope of travel in that region – tourists hopping on motorbikes and weaving their way from place to place.
“This misconception around the legal requirements is often reinforced by the fact that many shops renting you the bike will do so without asking for your licence. That doesn't mean you don't need one. It's not their responsibility if you don't check out the local law,” Ms Diaper said.
She said regardless of what action the Balinese authorities take, Australian travellers need to exercise care when riding overseas. “To start with, the road rules and drivers are different from those at home,” Ms Diaper said.
“Check the conditions of your travel insurance around riding motorbikes while travelling,” she said.
Ms Diaper said passengers could also find themselves without adequate medical cover if the person driving the scooter or motorbike is not qualified to drive or deliberately flaunts the road rules.
“You’ll need to check for yourself what the rules and laws are in the country you’re in and abide by them. And if you’re a passenger on a bike, you’ll need to make sure the person operating it is appropriately licensed,” she said.
“It’s not about stopping people having fun, it's about helping to protect yourself from what we’ve seen go horribly wrong.”
Some fast facts
How does travel insurance work for riding a motorbike or scooter?
What’s not covered by TID when riding a motorbike or scooter?
The policy isn’t designed to cover everything. Take the time to read it carefully. Here are some of the main things that aren’t covered:
“Have fun but stay safe,” Ms Diaper said. “Insurance is there for when things do go wrong.”
Ms Diaper is available for media interviews
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