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Old 08-12-2011, 10:04 PM   #1
treborkooc OP
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Eek Insurance for Central & South America

In October myself and 3 friends are riding from San Francisco to Argentina
This is very close and it is now time to start thinking about insurance for our bikes. We are a mixed bunch from England, Australia, Thailand and the USA, but all our bikes have been purchased in the US.

If anyone has any tips this would be much appreciated. So far I found this site:
http://www.motorcycleexpress.com/
This site outlines a policy with Michael I Mandell inc, has anyone taken out this policy or know of another? It looks okay but it excludes primary liability in Mexico, Belize, Columbia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, I understand we can organise insurance for Mexico before we depart and it can be bought on the border in Belize,Costa Rica and Nicaragua - is this correct?

But what about Columbia?

Also we are still deciding if we should go fully comprehensive or liablility only?
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:03 AM   #2
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You can get good insurance for MX at mexpro.com (it's a rider on your domestic policy and availability for some states varies i think.).

The only other insurance I've carried in Latin America is the mandatory insurance you buy at the border (sometimes elsewhere) as part of your temporary import. I'm not sure which if any of these coverages include comprehensive. I'm pretty sure it's just liability type coverage but I may be wrong. I don't recall any of the policies I've bought being overly expensive, most are cheap.

In CA you will buy mandatory insurance at the border when you arrive. My memory is a little fuzzy but I think this applies to Guat, El Salvador, Honduras, Nic, CR, and Panama.

I bought insurance for Colombia at a small agency in Cartagena outside the old city. I can't recall if I bought it before or after I had the bike imported. The Stahlratte's agent handled all the immigracion and aduana paperwork for me.

I think Ecuador and Peru required I buy insurance at the border but that's a little fuzzy for me.

I don't think Bolivia required insurance, I was focused on the $135USD visa I had to buy.

I believe Chile and Argentina require insurance but I have not yet been required to show proof of insurance nor did I buy any at the borders. With the exception of the border b/w Osorno (lakes district) and Bariloche I have not seen any insurance agencies where you can buy insurance. I finally bought insurance in BsAs through the carrier Dakar Motos uses.

I'm in Uruguay now and did not buy insurance.

For US bikes I think you'll be hard pressed to find a carrier that will cover (comprehensive) you for foreign moto travel. I don't think such a beast exists.

I've been mostly self capitalized down here and I ride my bike like I stole it. I crashed (my fault) in Ecuador with damage to the bike and myself that required an ER visit. I paid out of pocket and didn't bother with the insurance. Luckily it was Ecuador and the ambulance ride, ER visit, and tow, only cost $130USD.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:41 AM   #3
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The only places that I was required to buy insurance at a border was Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and one border going into Colombia.

The insurance in Colombia is called SOAT and is purchased at some borders, like Cucuta for example, but for other border crossings you may need to purchase after you get into the country. The Colombian cops will occasionally ask to see your SOAT at checkpoints.

French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana all require local insurance that you must purchase before you get to the border in most cases. Although if you are insured for France that also works for French Guiana.

Argentina will require insurance coming from certain countries like Brasil, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Paraguay. I was never asked for insurance at numerous crossings between Argentina and Chile.

Of course, as always, YMMV.

I only buy insurance where required, and only liability. I did not purchase any insurance before leaving home.

I did not have insurance in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brasil, Uruguay. In some of these countries insurance might have been required but I was never asked for it at a border or at police checkpoints.

Once in a Peru a cop fishing for beer money demanded to see insurance. I handed him an entire stack of paper work one at a time. I was handing him various import permits from other countries, shipping bills, insurance for other countries, copies of bike registration, title copies, papers that I had no idea what they were for, hotel and bar receipts, you name it. When he would look at what I had handed him, I would immediately hand him another piece of paper, and another, etc. He finally got tired of me handing him shit and told me to move along. Sometimes playing the "show me you papers" game is entertaining.

For a while I carried a photoshop version of a European green card insurance that said it was good for every country in the Americas. I only used it a couple of times when a particular border wanted to see insurance before letting me in the country and there was no way to purchase the said insurance at the border. It got me through Venezuela and the Uruguay/Argentina border and worked when I needed it to work. It could be useful to carry something like that.
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crashmaster screwed with this post 08-13-2011 at 11:30 AM
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
treborkooc OP
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Thanks guys, keep em coming, very helpful to us
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
Once in a Peru a cop fishing for beer money demanded to see insurance. I handed him an entire stack of paper work one at a time. I was handing him various import permits from other countries, shipping bills, insurance for other countries, copies of bike registration, title copies, papers that I had no idea what they were for, hotel and bar receipts, you name it. When he would look at what I had handed him, I would immediately hand him another piece of paper, and another, etc. He finally got tired of me handing him shit and told me to move along. Sometimes playing the "show me you papers" game is entertaining.
To be fair, the cop probably wasn't just fishing for beer money. At every checkpoint I was stopped at (that is to say, all of them), I was asked to show proof of insurance. I don't know how it applies to foreign vehicles, but Peruvian registered vehicles are required to carry SOAT, a bodily-injury liability insurance that turns out to be really cheap for cars, but really expensive for motorcycles. Go figure. Only one cop made me dig out the paperwork. The rest were happy with the sticker the insurance company gives you to put on the vehicle. A cop at one checkpoint high in the Andes made sure to remind me, in English, that "police are your friends".
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Horatio0163 View Post
A cop at one checkpoint high in the Andes made sure to remind me, in English, that "police are your friends".
I never new that altitude could make someone a comedian. LOL!
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:21 AM   #7
Misery Goat
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I haven't been asked to show proof of insurance at any check point in Latin America. Passport and temporary import is all they want to see.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:22 AM   #8
crashmaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misery Goat View Post
I haven't been asked to show proof of insurance at any check point in Latin America. Passport and temporary import is all they want to see.
That could be because they were more interested in how you got in the country?

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Old 08-14-2011, 01:14 PM   #9
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That could be because they were more interested in how you got in the country?

You have a point, my conversations tend to not go that far.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:21 AM   #10
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I had regular US auto/mc insurance with $300,000 liability, plus a separate 1,000,000 umbrella policy, which covered me everywhere in the world. It was supposed to be as good as OJ's.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:01 AM   #11
crashmaster
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Originally Posted by Horatio0163 View Post
To be fair, the cop probably wasn't just fishing for beer money.
He did ask for 50 Soles, but as usual, I just looked at him and laughed. FWIW, after riding a few thousand miles over a month there, I was never stopped by a cop in Peru that didnt ask for a least a little money. A couple were pretty aggressive, but nothing that a few laughs and 15 minutes of banter couldnt take care of. Being on a big bike, it was fairly normal.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:00 AM   #12
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Crash pretty much covered it. I got asked for insurance in Argentina at a checkpoint. I had purchased it when crossing into Argentina from Chile at one of the major borders. I never saw insurance for sale at the smaller crossings. You can get moto insurance in Chile for Argentina at most towns. Strange how you can buy insurance for Argentina in Chile but you don't need moto insurance for Chile. I didn't get insurance for Peru and was never stopped by any cops. I bought insurance in Colombia but was never asked for it either. In Central America, I only bought insurance when required at the borders.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:31 AM   #13
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@bananaman - Who wrote the mc/auto insurance that covered you world wide? Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:14 AM   #14
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@bananaman - Who wrote the mc/auto insurance that covered you world wide? Thanks.
Answer: American Family Insurance

I had basic liability, plus a US$1,000,000 umbrella that covered everything except flying personal airplanes. (I'm also a private pilot and carry separate airplane liability insurance.)


The umbrella policy required that I carry the minimum auto liability.

This didn't cover the actual motorcycle south of the US/Mexico border, ie; it the motorcycle was damaged, lost, or stolen, there was no coverage. But if I caused any damage with my motorcycle, I was covered.

I was explicit with them about where I was going and what I was doing, and they said I was covered.

They dropped me once I got back, saying I had too many horses, but by then I was back. All together, American Family was a decent insurance company, and if they'd have me, I'd buy from them again.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:23 PM   #15
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Answer: American Family Insurance
.
I am not sure they still do this. I called my Am Fam agent about riding to SA. He said we don't cover you at all outside the USA (And Canada). That was less than a month ago. Dave
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