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Old 3 Jul 2006
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 37
Bikes trapped in Korea..Need insurance

Bikes flown into Incheon and now at a hotel while trying to get the bikes release . Told that we must get Korean plates to get insurance. I suspect that if we can get liability insurance with our foreighn plates, we'd be ok. At the airport no one knows where to buy insurance, it seems normally when one get plates for their cars they get a plate, they are insepperal like in Japan with JCI insurance that everyone must buy as part of registering a vehicle. This is likely the 'normal' style of insurance and the only way to get it is to get Korean plates. We are told to go to Vehicle reg office in Soeul and get Korean plates, which makes no sence.

For those who ferried into Korea how did you get insurance and did you do it without getting new license plate? I'n sure there must be an office to buy insurance for foreign reg vehicles without getting new plates near the ferry terminal.

Thanks for any help, Mark
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Old 6 Jul 2006
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Nagano, Japan
Posts: 756
Temporary import for Korea

I don't have an answer on where to buy insurance, but the Korean Customs serivce has this information on temporary import. You need your home country sticker (the back and white oval), but not Korean plates.

This is the information from the website. Maybe it will help you get moving.

There are many people who wish to take his/her own private vehicle to Korea for a short period of time. In this case, you can have all the duties and taxes exempted as well as all the other formalities of safety requirements.

To satisfy the conditions for the special treatment, you need following documents; 1) Registration card of your car (your country needs to be contracting party of the Convention on Road Traffic, 19 September 1949), 2) International Driver's license, 3) Nationality marks (for example, when your car is registered in Korea, it is "KR" and it is issued by the registration office)

As for the Customs formalities in Korea, you need to deposit guarantee to Customs and its procedures can be handled easily by Customs Friendship Association by paying less than 100,000 Korean Won. Besides, you need to be prepared to pay high premium of insurance probably reaching 1,000,000 Korean won depending on the situation.

Normally, all the Customs procedures will take less than 3 hours after the discharging your vehicle.

Korea Customs Service

Japan touring information
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Old 6 Jul 2006
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 239

first of all, I would recommend to contact BMW Motorrad Seoul. Maybe they know how to get insurance. The owners, the brothers Kim, are really friendly, did assist long distance travellers including me in the past (not regarding the brand of the motorbike they travelled on) and speak really good english.

Website is http://bmwbike.co.kr/

Tel.: (02) 2279 7322

As to my experiences:

When I entered Korea in Sokcho, all Custum procedures (including buying an insurance) was done by the ferry company. The insurance office was, as far as I understood in the same building than the custom offices.

I did not have to apply for a korean number plate, but got a temporary one, which I did not have to mount at my bike. It was just a sheet of paper with a photocopy of kind of a circle with korean signs inside, topped with an original red stamp and hand written expiry date and the signature of someone. They laminated it and told me that I should carry the "number plate" with me at all times. I do not have a nationality sticker and they did not ask for one.

When I extended my import permit in Gwangju, I was send to an insurance office in town to buy new insurance (and they exchanged the "number plate")

But then again it turned out that I rode illegally in korea anyway, so maybe these procedures aren't correct as well.

Good luck!

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Old 6 Jul 2006
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Seattle.wa., U.S.A.
Posts: 8
riding in korea

I flew into Seoul from Singapur last December. Getting my bike out of the customs in the airport took a day and I was required to work through a shipping agent at a cost o around 150 to 200 US$. They did take me to lunch however....

I was aware I was required to have insurance, but we all remained unconfortably quiet about the subject and i ever figured out how to actually acquire the insurance.

My biggest problem was getting the motorcycle out of the airport as it is linked to the mainland by an express way. Motorcycles are absolutely forbidden on Korean motor ways. Having no option, I decided to break the law and didn't get more than 10 km before I was chaesed down by police and stopped at a road block. Everybody was very upset, but having been dealing with foreign police for 3 years, I remained calm and convinced them the only solution is to give me a police escort to the next exit.... After they convinced themselves that it was their idea, I had flashing lights and sirenes in front and behind... and everybody was happy again.

They never asked for my insurance.

Good luck and let me know if you need any other information on Korea.

Thanks, Mason
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Old 7 Jul 2006
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 77
Korean Insurance

We entered Korea 6 May. Bikes shipped by sea to Incheon Port, from Brisbane, Australia.

Like Mason we also used a Shipping Agent that arranged for the "plates" which are like Lars describe, expect we where told to stick them on the bikes. But we had to arrange the insurance ourselves.

With the insurance we where very lucky and the daughter of the guesthouse owner arranged it all for us. It did invlove faxing a few forms in Korean, but it was done in a few hours. If done face to face it would take only a few minutes. Also cheap. I got the impression that almost all of the insurance compaies will provide you with the required insurance. The person who helped us just looked up a company in the telephone book.

As Mason points out Incheon Airport is on a island and the only road access is by Freeway and bikes are not allowed.

We used very small sections of freeway without problems, but the Incheon Freeway is a toll road so no chance of sneaking through.

We needed the insurance "before" we received the customs clearance, plus the usual Docs (orginal Registeration papers, Passport copies, Bill of Lading etc). We then got the "plates" plus customs clearance at the same time.

I am sorry we can not help with a contact re insurance, the BMW fellow I think would be your best bet. We found Korean people are overwheling helpful and the raods are worth the hassel.

Brett and Dave
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