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Old 12-23-2011, 02:52 AM   #1
Schwer OP
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Bluhduh AU->UK License Conversion and Insurance

I'm an Australian planning a 6-month motorcycle trip around Europe in May, starting in the UK. I'm pretty excited about it, apart from figuring out insurance, which is an absolute nightmare.

From a lot of searching on here and the HUBB, I figure that the best way for me to do this is to fly to the UK, convert my license to a UK one, buy a bike there, register it at a UK address and get a UK third-party insurance policy.

The only decent quote (for a 22-year-old on a 650 Versys) I can get even with a UK license is 600 pounds from Aviva via Carole Nash, and that only lasts for 90 days within the EU (meaning that I have to return in the middle) - most are 1200+ :(. How do young people afford to ride in the UK? I pay less than 600 a year for full comp on a Z750 at home :-/.

Anyway, this leaves me with a number of questions:
  • If I convert my Australian license to a UK license, do any demerit point losses carry over? emailed the DLVA
  • When I apply for insurance with my new UK license, does it still have the previous speeding offences attached to it? I've got no idea where to start with those seeing how I've got speeding offences in Australia, but insurance companies want codes and other details I obviously can't provide. Carole Nash wants me to put them in as SP30 for a 30mph offence or SP50 for a 50mph one... but also told me to put in an international license even though I clearly said I was asking about a UK one. Sigh
  • Is there any insurer I'm missing that can provide both a decent quote and > 90 days outside the UK? Someone must have done this before.There is! See below
Looking forward to the help - this site is such a great resource, I couldn't imagine wading through this legal crap without it :).

EDIT: Trying to run down answers for these questions at the moment, will update in case someone googles the thread at some point.

So I just got a quote back from tourinsure.de - they have a much less evil quoting system (just add 25% for under 25 - reasonable) and can offer full-comp (on a bike up to 20000 euros) for the 6 month trip for ~1200 euros, or third party for 653. Which is not cheap, but is reasonable... moreso than the 2-3k pounds for third party, international license, < 90 day euro travel that most UK places offer. I think I'll forget the license conversion and just go with them :).

Schwer screwed with this post 12-23-2011 at 06:48 AM
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:30 PM   #2
jetjackson
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Hi mate, I am in London now and bought my bike 3 days ago, plus got insurance through E-bike insurance.

Your problem with tourinsure.de you will find is that you won't be insured for England, they don't insure for the country that the bike is registered in so that is a no go. I looked into that. You need 3rd party insurance to ride legally in the UK so you would still have to buy both. Tourinsure.de is useless unless you are bringing your own bike from Oz.

I paid 700 pound for comprehensive, my quote for third party was 600 pound. Might as well pay for the extra. The rest of my quotes were anywhere from 700 pound for third party min, and 2k-4k for comprehensive. You can set up pay by the month with ebike insurance. Don't use your actual details when punching quotes into their website - they collect your data.

I am lucky, I have a British passport that allowed me to exchange my Aussie license for a UK license. The other person I know who did the same thing had to get a British working visa in order to do the license exchange. PM me and I can send you their details. On the forms it is pretty specific in looking for you to be a resident in England. I was able to get the license before I came (as they could verify my identity through my biometric UK passport), however you will most likely need to wait until you get here so they can verify your identity at the post office, that means 2-3 weeks before you can get a license (you have to send away for it, can't get it in person), so then you get the license you can buy the bike, once you buy the bike it may take another 2-3 weeks to get the paperwork sent back to you from the DVLA in your name (again, can't do this in person). You are looking at bare minimum 4 weeks in the UK before you have everything you need to leave. So you are looking at min 4, most likely 6 weeks before you will even get out of the UK. Make sure you take that into account. London can be pricey if you don't book a hostel in advance, your best bet may be to get temp work here and live on a friends couch. - If you get temp work it will also back you up if you have an accident over here and you need to prove residency. The basis of the 3rd party insurance in Europe is on you being a resident in UK - the definition of which is something like, you normally reside in the UK for at least 5 months of the year. The whole system is laughable, one insurance company told me I would have to live here for 5 years before I would be considered resident (this is despite me having an UK passport btw)

You will also need to get a British bank account so that when you get here you can pay for the insurance on a British Visa Debit card. If they see you paying with Aussie card they are only going to start asking questions. Also, British/EU bank accounts will have lower banking fees than Australian cards and best way to access your money here. If I were you I would set up to do something like this http://www.ukforex.co.uk to transfer your money, you will get much closer to the market rate but i will save you heaps of coin if you re transferring like 15k over here. I could have saved myself bout 500 AUD f I had have done that but alas, you cannot think of everything.

Demerit points don't carry over. They won't have any access to your info apart from what you send them or tell them.

My advice is to stop telling insurers over here about your traffic offenses in Australia - they will keep a record of things you tell them. They have no way of finding out otherwise. Also, IMO they won't take into account your Australian motorcycling experience, or your Australian No claim bonus, so why should they be able to take into account the negatives. I mean realistically you won't be getting insurance legitimately over here anyway, as you will not technically be a resident your insurance will be the naughty f word - if you went to make a claim and they found out you are not resident then you would be up sh-t creek (however the work visa, bank account and a bit of work experience in London will show that you at least have intentions to become 'resident'). -it was hard enough for me with a British passport - you have to withhold a few truths.

Also, if you are not going to get comprehensive insurance you will want to invest in an Almax chain, maybe a Xena disc lock alarm to secure your bike as theft of bikes here is a big problem and also in Europe.

So it's a hard process, the flip side is though that bikes here are cheap compared to back home because of the strength of the AUD at the moment. Good luck, PM me if you have any other questions.

jetjackson screwed with this post 12-23-2011 at 12:35 PM Reason: Forgot the bit about why I was able to get the UK license before I got to uk
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
Schwer OP
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Wow. Thanks a million for the level of detail in that post, I thought I was home free :(. Ever since I started planning this, every turn I take there seems to be an army of bald, old, suit-clad insurance men saying "No! You can't do this! You must live the rest of your life as dull-ly as we did!". Damnit.

Thing is that as a 22 year old, e-bike want 600 pounds per month just for third party. I guess if I absolutely have to I'll pay it, but it's comparable in cost to shipping a bike from here both ways and going with tourinsure - which to be honest would be preferable, seeing as what I've learned from the UK insurance industry so far is that I don't want to go anywhere near them.

Fortunately I also have a UK passport, but being half-English myself the UK doesn't really hold enough interest for me to stay there for 6 weeks :(. I'll keep trying to chase down an insurer that can cover me at a reasonable rate, and take another look at buying a bike here and shipping it.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:20 PM   #4
mudmaps
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ADAC in Germany are pretty easy to deal with.

No local license or rego needed. Don't think they cover the UK however from memory.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
Schwer OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudmaps View Post
ADAC in Germany are pretty easy to deal with.

No local license or rego needed. Don't think they cover the UK however from memory.
That's interesting - how did you deal with them though? Through a broker? My German's good enough to buy a currywurst with mayonnaise but I don't think I'd trust it to buy insurance :-(.
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:26 AM   #6
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A German mate of mine does it for me these days but you can do it online or just rock into one of their offices. Theres a lot of english language understanding in Germany.
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:46 AM   #7
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No sweat. I was going to create a thread of my experiences anyway, so might as well put it all here for future people doing the same thing.

Germany could be your best bet - especially if you don't want to hang out in the UK. Because my mum lives here I am just spending time here. However because you are British citizen, you could do what I did and reduce your time in the UK by getting your license beforehand, then you would be here for max 3 weeks. What I did was get the DVLA to send the documentation to my mums address in the UK and then she sent it to me (you could use a friends address here). Then I lost my Australian license and had to get a duplicate at the Aussie department of transport. Luckily though I found it again later. Having 2 copies of my Aussie license was lucky because it meant I had one to exchange for the British license and one to keep (I needed the latter, my travel insurance will only cover me for injuries on a motorbike if I hold a valid Australian license and if I sacrificed it for a British one I would not be covered). So then I got the documentation from mum, filled it out, put in the details of my passport with the photo and sent the documentation back to my mother. She then went to the post office, got the 50 pound money order from the British post office and sent it all off to the DVLA. 3 weeks later my license arrived. It was waiting for me when I got here.

As for the ebike insurance, don't do a pay by the month quote, I did one of those and it was like 300 pound. Try doing a normal quote, again up to you but I wouldn't tell them about your Australian driving history - you should get a much cheaper quote. You can then 'pay by the month' but you are still contracted for 12 months, as you would be back home. At the end of your 6 months riding you could just take all your money out of the British bank account when you leave, the payments wont go through and then they will just void your insurance, nothing lost.

Actually, thinking about that last bit the insurance might only end up costing you 400 pound for the 6 months if you did it that way.

jetjackson screwed with this post 12-24-2011 at 03:48 AM
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:50 AM   #8
Schwer OP
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Heh, I doubt it seeing how they wanted roughly 1200 for the year from memory. Really hoping I can get around having to deal with a UK insurer... I get the feeling that were I to go with one I'd jump through a million hoops trying to get insurance, pay a zillion dollars (or pounds, as it were), then if I ever have a claim they'd wriggle out of it based on residency requirements.

I figure this whole trip planning thing's kinda like working on your bike... no matter what part you've got left over or nut you've dropped or bolt-head you've rounded, there's always a way to fix things with enough time and patience :-).

I've been in contact with Stefan from Knopftours - asked him really specifically about whether he can insure a UK-registered bike in the UK and he seemed to think that he could, so that's always a choice for 3rd-party-only. 444 euro / 87 days though, so I'd be up for around 888. A lucky number in Chinese culture, maybe it means I'll have less chance of crashing?

EDIT: He spells "shop" as "Schop" too, how amusing.

Still waiting on tourinsure to come back to me about whether they can insure a UK bike in the UK... I'd gotten so attached to the idea of being able to get full comp :(.

Sent an email off to motorcycleexpress.com to see what they can do, still waiting on a reply.

Also managed to find an email address at ADAC via some serious google searching, but the auto-reply (if my German translated it okay) says he'll be away till the 28th. Fair enough, it's Christmas in a few hours (at least here) so I'll wait until then.

Anyway, the dream is still alive, bureaucracy be damned!
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:54 AM   #9
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Oh hell yeah, don't let them get to you. Where there is a will there is a way. I just went for a ride through London, through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar square and so on. All the shit falls by the wayside when you finally get on the bike. You get this feeling like you shouldn't be there, but you are :)
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:25 AM   #10
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If you are only getting third party insurance, you can tell them what you like, in the event of an accident they are never going to pay you anything anyway and they will always pay out third party claims. As for paying via an English source, just use a Visa, they are international.

Third party cover is all that is required in law. On top of that, why do you need to exchange your licence. It is valid for 6 months in the UK anyway and we have people here using foreign licences for years. They just tell us they only arrived in the UK withing the last few months having been back home/abroad/to the moon and we have no way of proving otherwise.

The insurance companies will only dig their heels in over your claim which you will not have anyway with third party insurance.

On top of tha our DVLA have a bad reputation of removing bike entitlement from your licence by mistake and many UK riders have had to re-take their bike tests as a result. This has even happened to police officers so no one is safe from these morons. They asked one victim, who was trying to prove his entitlement after it was deleted, to tell them the name of his testing officer......30 odd years ago !!!!
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Git Ray View Post
If you are only getting third party insurance, you can tell them what you like, in the event of an accident they are never going to pay you anything anyway and they will always pay out third party claims. As for paying via an English source, just use a Visa, they are international.

Third party cover is all that is required in law. On top of that, why do you need to exchange your licence. It is valid for 6 months in the UK anyway and we have people here using foreign licences for years. They just tell us they only arrived in the UK withing the last few months having been back home/abroad/to the moon and we have no way of proving otherwise.

The insurance companies will only dig their heels in over your claim which you will not have anyway with third party insurance.

On top of tha our DVLA have a bad reputation of removing bike entitlement from your licence by mistake and many UK riders have had to re-take their bike tests as a result. This has even happened to police officers so no one is safe from these morons. They asked one victim, who was trying to prove his entitlement after it was deleted, to tell them the name of his testing officer......30 odd years ago !!!!
Any foreign drivers - outside the EU foreign, are probably driving here either without 3rd party insurance, or with 3rd party insurance provided by the company they are working for. If you go and search for a quote with a foreign license you will see what we mean. Most companies won't offer unless you hold a UK license and any that do will be prohibitively expensive i.e. 2000 pound + per year for just 3rd party insurance. I'd be happy for you to prove me wrong though.

As for the latter, I exchanged my license 2 months ago without any issues.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetjackson View Post
Any foreign drivers - outside the EU foreign, are probably driving here either without 3rd party insurance, or with 3rd party insurance provided by the company they are working for. If you go and search for a quote with a foreign license you will see what we mean. Most companies won't offer unless you hold a UK license and any that do will be prohibitively expensive i.e. 2000 pound + per year for just 3rd party insurance. I'd be happy for you to prove me wrong though.

As for the latter, I exchanged my license 2 months ago without any issues.
Whilst I agree there are many without insurance, there are a lot more that do have legitimate insurance with foreign licences. I know this as I have just retired from the police.
I have had many arguements with insurance companies regarding glaring errors or deliberate lies on insurance certificates and they could not care less.They have their money and as far as they are concerned the driver is insured. As I said previously, they only care about third party claims.

The only guy I managed to get insurance cancelled for was an 18 yr old who had only held a licence for 2 months. He was driving a brand new hired Audi R8 ! He had lied but the insurers still would not assist in a fraud prosecution. They have had their money and that is all they cared about.

I just ran a test quote through Carole Nash for a 20 year old carpenter to insure a new Super Tenere near London with no 'no claims discount', no claims or convictions, parked on the street and held a full licence for 4 years. 1500 for the year. These conditions are probably the worst but you are correct about the ridiculous cost. The original posters main problem is his age. 25 is a big birthday in the insurance world, under that, big bikes are expensive.

They only asked if the driver had a full licence, not where it was issued. An Ozzie licence is valid here for 12 months (not 6 as I said above) and its not like the UK cops cant read it. see http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring...nce/DG_4022561
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Old Git Ray screwed with this post 12-28-2011 at 02:25 PM
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:41 PM   #13
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All the online forms I have come across will request you to identify whether you have a valid UK license, if you select international license it either won't insure you or the quote will be 2k+ which is prohibitive. The OP is here asking about license conversion because they have had the same issue as other Australians trying to do the same thing.

I had to send a copy of my UK license to the insurance company, so even if I lied about it they would have caught me out on it and then cancelled the insurance. I would assume that Carole Nash would do the same thing. Either way an Australian cant come all the way here planning to use Carole Nash for insurance on the chance that they do not check license details.

See below.

https://www.mycarolenash.com/RcsWeb/Assumptions.aspx

Policy Details
The policyholder:
  • is the owner of the bike
  • is the registered keeper of the bike
  • is the main rider

Riders
All riders:
  • have been resident in the UK for the last three years
  • have obtained their licence in the UK
  • have not previously been refused motor insurance
  • have not received any non-motoring convictions
  • do not have any totting up convictions. For example XX99 or TT99
  • have not been disqualified from riding/driving within the last 11 years
  • do not have any medical conditions or disabilities
It sucks but the tried and tested way is to get a British license.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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I stand corrected although I have never had to send my licence (copy) to any insurer.
.....Thanks
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:10 AM   #15
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So what I've realised is that I need a current certificate of insurance from a UK insurer (because apparently foreign ones don't count, how's that for EU cooperation) to register a bike.

Which means I'm basically at square one.

So my choices really are either spend 20-25% of my trip hanging around London trying to get a UK license (and still pay through the nose for insurance) or ship a bike, taking into account all the associated risks with that, and also pay through the nose.

Sigh. You win, establishment.
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