As anyone who has visited Thailand will know, scooters are a dangerous way of getting from A to B at the best of times. But when you’ve never even ridden a scooter before? Forget about it...
“Am I covered to ride a scooter in Thailand?”
Recently we chatted online to a customer who was about to embark on the trip of a lifetime to Thailand with her friends. Her question was simple: “Am I covered to ride a scooter in Thailand?” Our response was even simpler: “Are you covered to ride a scooter in the UK?”
It turns out that the young lady in question had never even sat on a scooter before - much less driven one. And that raises an important issue. Just because in a foreign country it may be possible to hire a vehicle that you are not qualified to drive in the UK, doesn’t mean your travel insurance will cover you to do so.
Especially in a country with the second-worst road safety record in the world.
What does the small print say?
Of course we can only speak for World First policies. But we’re confident most (if not all) travel insurers would agree. Customers are only covered to drive motorised vehicles that they are qualified to drive in the UK or the Channel Islands. Even if you are riding pillion, your travel insurance policy will not cover you if your driver isn’t appropriately qualified. You must also wear a crash helmet, whether the local law requires it or not. No lid, no cover.
Don’t let your heart rule your head...
It’s nice to let your hair down and enjoy a little spontaneity on holiday. But sometimes people’s sense of adventure completely overrides their sense of safety. It would be dangerous to drive a scooter in the UK without the right qualifications. Doing it in a country with the second-worst road safety record in the world is flat out reckless.
Every year around 24,000 people die on Thailand’s roads. 73% of those killed are motorcyclists. And remember you’re not the only one who could end up injured. If you caused an accident that injured someone else you could be left facing huge personal liability costs - with no insurance policy to bail you out.
What can you do instead?
Here at World First we believe that enjoying sports and activities on holiday helps to make your experience more memorable. That’s why we cover hundreds of them - including white water rafting, abseiling and free diving. But we also believe that activities should be enjoyed safely, without putting yourself or others in unnecessary danger. Riding a scooter in Thailand when you have no experience of doing so in the UK is far too dangerous.
Wouldn’t you agree?