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Motorbike insurance in....India

  • 28-03-2016 8:08am
    Registered Users Posts: 240 ✭✭ j.s. pill II

    Bit of a long shot but perhaps someone here has some experience of biking in this part of the world:

    I'm working for for an NGO in the north of Rajasthan at the moment I bought a bike a few months back which I use for getting around. Right now I'm looking for information about how a non-national such as myself might go about getting an insurance policy. The reason I want one is to be able to pack my bike on a train (you have to produce an insurance cert in the parcel office) . I plan to do a bit of biking up in Kashmir when my contract is over in May and being able to pack it on a train will save me a valuable few days travel time (which i don't want to waste as I'll be cutting it tight with my visa expiry - plus I don't want to exhaust myself before I get to the interesting parts).

    I was told recently by the Regional Transport Office that it would not be possible to register the bike in my name (something to do with me not being an resident for India for long enough). From my research, it seems as though this won't stop me getting an insurance policy so long as I have the RC and NOC forms (which obviously won't be in my name). Am I right in saying this??

    If I am eligible to get a policy, if I bought online from somewhere like how long would it realistically take for me to get a policy document? I understand the parcel/luggage office would need to see a copy of this along with a copy of the RC for me to put it on the train.

    I do have the option of transferring everything to an Indian guy who works for us. If he had the policy in his name could he book the bike as a parcel on the train and would I be able to pick it up? Would there be any other pit-falls to doing it this way?

    Any help or suggestions you have would be very much appreciated. Even though I worked in insurance for over 8 years I've had a lot of difficulty figuring things out here!



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,469 ✭✭✭✭ cantdecide

    Don't know if this helps but when I was in Nepal, I 'rented' a Bullet from local club. They gave me the 'blue book' registered in the owner's name. Any policeman that we met that asked to see the blue book didn't think anything about me not being the owner. I have no idea if this would apply in your case. I asked about insuring the bike and I was assured that 'no one' had insurance. I don't know the context of 'no one' was almost no one or literally.

    I may be slightly jealous of you at the moment :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 240 ✭✭ j.s. pill II

    Yeah I'd always recommend getting the log book from the rental companies in Nepal. Not one of my Nepali friends ever had an insurance policy and if the fuzz ever ask tourists to produce one it's usually with a view to getting a bribe.

    For India, ownership docs are very important for re-selling your bike. The police really don't give a damn about little trivialities like licences & insurance! The only reason I want insurance is so I can pack the bike on a train when I need to. The policies are extremely cheap (and, naturally, cover you for sweet FA) but are essential for train travel.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,983 ✭✭✭ two wheels good

    New India Assurance
    I have no info about them and am not making a recommendation.
    I'd love to ride Srinagar to Leh .. and beyond!

  • Registered Users Posts: 240 ✭✭ j.s. pill II

    OK so I'm going to answer my own question here - might be of some use as a reference to others.

    Turns out an insurance policy is not necessary at all. I had to go up north for some work and I thought it would be a good opportunity to see if I had any hassle bringing the bike on a train before my big trip.

    Before I was due to travel, I went in to the parcel office in the nearest town to me to ask what documents were required. The guy in the office said all I need was the registration card (RC) and a copy of my passport. I went in the next day again, just to ask someone else in order to be 100% sure (always a good idea in India!) and he said the same thing.

    A bike can be brought on a train as luggage or as a parcel - at the end of the day there isn't a huge amount of difference. For luggage, you need to buy your ticket at the station and inform them you're bringing your bike when buying the ticket. For online tickets, there's no option to denote that you're taking your bike so you simply book it as a parcel.

    In both instances, you need to take your bike to the luggage/parcel office about 1 hour before you're due to depart (trust me, you need an hour) for Parcels, there's an additional form to fill. Then, it's just a matter of paying some of the station hands to pack up your bike (they just wrap it in fertilizer bags and cardboard) and they take care of the loading too.

    Some general tips:

    - Have photocopies of your RC and passport for both legs of the journey. The clerks may request copies to keep on file

    - The bike has to emptied of petrol before you pack it up. It has to be completely drained so if your destination station is not near a petrol station you could be in trouble. Some stations are pretty lax about letting you board with some petrol in your baggage. Some are quite strict. If you drain 500ml or a liter before you enter the station and stash it you'll more than likely get away with taking it on board.

    - Never pay more than 250 rupees to the packing guys. This is the standard rate. Some will try to blag 4 or 5 hundred but don't budge on 250

    - The cost you pay depends on the weight of the bike and it's value. I found it very puzzeling that I paid less on my return journey for my work trip than I did for the outbound journey. The clerks seem to spend a lot of time fiddeling around with some formula from a book. I don't think either clerk understood it themselves.

    - If loading your bike as a parcel, check the parcel office opening times in the outbound station (it it's a night train and the parcel office closes at 5, you'll have to load it before then).

    - Finally, check for damage after you pick your bike up. I was 100km away from the station before I noticed half my front mudguard was missing! I would imagine it would be incredibly difficult to claim for damage (wasn't worth the hassle for me as a new mudguard cost me about 5 quid) but not a bad idea to check.