...It's a question that we see raised quite a lot on social media, especially on facebook pages like Trackday Addicts, No Limits Racing, etc..
We have our own personal experiences of using, or should we say trying to use certain insurance policies. We have always used the PJ Hayman Adventurers and for years had the fortune of never having to use it, you could say it was wasted money. Granted its not the cheapest of policies out there but we were confident in its cover and that meant being more relaxed on the bike, knowing we were safe should the worst case scenario happen.
Back in 2015 we saw how professional the PJ Hayman policy was when a good friend had an accident at Almeria Circuit and was taken to the private hospital in Almeria. Within 2 hours he had been X-Ray'd, assessed, plastered up, excess paid and released and off we went on the rest of our holiday. Our policies back then there cost around £50 for the trip, holidaysafe at the time were around £15 a trip but after seeing how efficient the PJ policy was we were happy to have paid the extra.
Fast forward a couple of years to the summer of 2017 and this year we were off to Imola & Mugello but instead of flying over decided to drive down and make it a bucket list trip to remember, and what a trip it was, but not necessarily for the right reasons...
By 2017 companies like HolidaySafe, Properly Protected and BeMoto were being praised highly on social media, lots of people taking out policies but no one could provide any real testimonies of having a successful claim or care provided. We took out the PJ cover for the repatriation cover but also a family pack to cover us away from the track whilst out enjoying Tuscany.
The Imola part of the trip went fine, whats not to like about a stunning Italian track in 35-40 degrees heat and a superbike to hoon around on. Roll on 4 days later and we arrive at Borgo San Lorenzo ahead of 3 days on track at Mugello. We head up to the circuit and get the bikes ready for the following morning and all the usual fun and games ahead then retire back to the hotel for a beer or two.
Friday morning arrives and we are at the circuit walking up the stairs to the briefing and the excitement factor just wasn't there. Briefings over and instead of heading downstairs to the pits I head to the cafe for a coffee and some water to kick start the day, in my head I knew something was wrong with me so went to the medical centre to get the all clear, 30 mins later I am in the back of an ambulancia heading to Borgo general. Long story kept short I ended up in ICU with multiple blood clots in my lungs, a week in solitary intensive care hooked up to numerous machines and then a week on a mixed ward in the hospital followed. I was o.k as i was being cared for and had abed for the night as they say, my partner however only had 2 nights booked in the Hotel Ripaverde left so she was frantically trying to sort out some options with HolidaySafe as to how she could stay out in Italy with me. To say they were next to useless would have been unkind to all the useless companies out there. Holidaysafe weren't interested in helping her at all so I suggested contacting PJ Hayman and seeing what cover I had on my adventurers policy. They were fantastic to deal with from start to finish, they reassured my partner everything would be fine until we could return home and they would arrange return flights for us both, even tho the policy was only taken out in my name. My partner was still communicating with Holidaysafe and once they knew PJ Hayman were involved they just washed their hands off us and didn't want to know anymore, you can imagine how pissed off she was with them, I was o.k as I was still lying in a hospital bed. Luckily for her the guys at PJ stayed in regular contact with her (unlike HS) and the hotel, they paid the hotel directly for the extra 10 nights stay she accrued and were happy to have arranged us flights home if we were not healthy enough to drive the car home. They also spoke to directly to the medical departments in Borgo general hospital, settled all the medical bills before I checked out and made life so much easier for me when times were tough enough as it was and I thank them for that.
Two weeks later and once back in England the telepehone calls continued, me to PJ Hayman to say Thank You for everything they did, they even paid me a small amount of hospital compensation cover which was very handy. My partner was obviously on the phone to Holidaysafe giving them what for, they eventually sent us out a policy refund and not much of an apology, we should have checked the reviews before hand. I should have known better than to have used them as in my experiences if its too cheap then there is usually something wrong with it. I'm just glad I also followed my gut instincts and took out the PJ policy for the time on track, even tho my claim wasn't a bike accident just a internal breakdown of my body they still covered me.
Our advice is to read the small print of all policies to see if these repatriations policies actually cover where you could end up should the worst case scenario happen, also if its too good to be true it probably is. We see how much you guys spend on your bikes and modifying them afterwards, and we love to see you doing that. The question I suppose is would you fit a cheap set of chinese brake pads or some Brembo pads to your bike, the sales dictate its the brembo option yet people choose to protect themselves with a budget policy rather than a premium one.
There's nothing more important than your own health and when you add up the costs of a foreign trackday what's an extra £40-50 for insurance that is going to work for you...
I would like to say Thanks to the staff at Borgo hospital for looking after me, the guys at PJ Hayman for their support and professionalism in the situation, the guys at Focused Events for looking after my bike back in the UK and Kevin for speaking to his contcats for finding a safe spot for my car to stay should have I had to fly home, and finally to Sue for staying out there and then driving us the 1700 miles home, sorry it wasnt quite the bucket list holiday it was supposed to have been xx