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Old 16 Feb 2012
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Question about U.S insurance and import brokerage

Hey guys, 2 kiwis here that are planning on shipping our bikes (scooters) from New Zealand to Alaska then riding them down to Argentina

We've been doing a lot of reading on this site but are a little unclear on a couple of things that you guys might be able to clear up for us.

1) Insurance for North America......is our locally bought (New Zealand) travel insurance sufficient to allow us to legally ride our bikes through NA so long as it covers personal injury/harm we cause to anyone else? Our bikes are from the US so they are EPA approved etc, is there anything else we'd need aside from an international driver's license?

2) Freighting bikes........we have talked to a company in NZ that has said they can freight our bikes to Alaska but only handle things "up to port" and that we would need an import broker on the Alaska end. Anyone know exactly what import brokerage involves? Any idea of costs? Anyone done it? Any recommendations?

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Old 16 Feb 2012
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Sounds like an interesting trip.

You'll need local insurance in Canada and the US. Check out progressive.com for one option to solve this.

As for shipping, sounds like the chap you were talking to was referring to shipping by sea. Look at the shipping section here on this site to get an idea what people have been paying by sea or by air to different destinations. You may find that a lot of the costs (eg. port fees) are somewhat high so that shipping by air is a viable option. Your bikes are light so I would guess it would be pretty reasonable.

Sounds like you are committed to your selection of scooters to do the ride. I'm sure you'll have fun.

Nothing against scooters, but as someone who enjoys the riding as well as the travelling part of those trips, I would choose a much bigger bike. The distances are vast, and I'd like to be able to outrun the wildlife up north if the necessity arose Down south, the speed bumps can be exceedingly large so clearance can be an issue on small bikes.

Having said that, if you are used to touring by pedal bike I'm sure a scooter will seem like luxury.
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Old 17 Feb 2012
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Thanks for that, will look into progressive.com, that seems to be the popular option. Our bikes are only about 99kg so I'm thinking the plane option might be a good one. I'm not certian but I think we could then fly the bikes straight to Fairbanks rather having to go through Anchorage.
Unfortunately we've already told everyone we are doing the trip on scooters! We are unexperienced but we will make up for the lack there of with enthusiasm. Our bikes are 150cc Bajaj Chetaks, Indian made Vespa copies that love rubbish gas, rubbish roads, will carry a whole family, and are apparently bulletproof (as far as scooters go anyway). They are slow as pushbikes, have 1 gallon tanks but get very good mpg. They also have terrible clearance, but we will deal with that issue when it arises. They were sold in the US, Central and South but are now discontinued. Should be interesting. Should be a right giggle.
Anyone that has shipped/flown bikes from NZ to Alaska or has any similar experiences we'd love to hear from you.
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Old 17 Feb 2012
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The Insurance you get in from the USA will cover you in USA and Canada but not Mexico down.
As you are flying your bikes in you can fly them in to Canada as well and ride in to Alaska. Then there is buying bikes in the USA and riding from there. You can ship in to Seattle ride up to Bellingham and take the ferry to where ever you can get to. Riding the ferrys can be trip in it self. You may want to ask the "port" what paper work needs to be done and fees you need to pay before you send the bike off. Nothing better than having all the paper work done before you go to start the trip right.

As far as scooters doing you will do fine, It has been done before. Some of the problems people had before you was finding tires, gas, and replacing motors.
Scooter tires last along time but there size is not common you may want to take one with you there small.
Your gas MPG is grate but you will overloading the bike it will drop a bit and even at 100 miles per gallon you may well be short 100 miles to the next fill up. Have a small gas can and you will be ok and a small hose to get gas from cars if you do run out.
As bulletproof as it may be the scooter was never built to do what your asking of it. Go threw them make sure nothing is cracked or broken now you may want to look in reinforcing some of the frame now. Replacing any thing that will not take a beating at home. Find some way of holding all your gear down.
I read a story of a kid doing the trip you looking at, he used a 50cc scooter and used 3 motors if I remember right. Just be ready for that.
To help out you little bikes make the trip go slow do not ride 500 miles in a day. Scooter are all about going from home to work or the store ride more like that not 200 miles at a go stop now and then. 200 miles is a good amount to ride if you want to see anything.

I have taken my 200cc scooter off road and it will do better than most think. The thing is not ride in the ruts and look well ahead of you. You will be taking easy smooth way around not the way not the rocky muddy rutted one most others do. May not be fast but you will get there. Nice thing is there low center of gravity makes them vary stable and there light so if it gets bad you can push them If you do drop the scooter you can pick them up with much less problems.
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Old 18 Feb 2012
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We brought our bikes into USA from England but didn't need a broker to get the bikes, just did it ourself. However, since 9/11 you will need to hire an escort to get into the port at around $60-$70 and hour. Only other fee sto pay are port charges (+ any storage charges which won't be charged if you get your bike out in a reasonable time - ususally within 3-4 days). Our port charges were around $130 for the two bikes - but this was Baltimore not Alaska but I imagine that similar fees will be charged - there are no fees to pay to customs.
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Old 22 Feb 2012
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Thanks for the info guys. We have already taken most of the points raised into consideration which is somewhat reassuring. We are still exploring the shipment options, Air NZ won't fly "dangerous goods" anymore but we will see what United has to say. Anyone had any luck with courier companies? I haven't had any replies, most seem to only deal with commercial freight.
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