Unlike driving a vehicle, insurance for bicycles is not a legal requirement, and yet an increasing number of riders still feel that it is a worthwhile purchase.
Traditionally, cyclists have relied on home insurance policies to cover their bikes, but whilst cycling continues to grow in popularity, home insurance policies and the breadth of cover they provide haven’t kept up with the pace.
Recent years have seen the growth of specialist bicycle insurance companies with policies that aim to bridge this gap and provide coverage that meets the needs of cyclists.
If you are worried about the ever-growing rise in brazen bike thefts or accidents that could put your bike (or you) out of commission, then having the right insurance is crucial.
In this article, we take a comprehensive look at the four key things that you need to look for when considering insurance for bicycles:
- Customer Service
Let’s jump into it!
The benefit of insuring your bike with specialist bicycle insurance, compared with relying on your home insurance plan, is that you can easily tailor the plan to cover your needs.
The type of cover could be very different for a recreational cyclist compared to one who takes part in races or travels abroad for training camps or even a commuter who relies on their bike to get to work.
Since these types of specialist policies are built around cyclists, they can also provide specific cover that won’t be found in standard home insurance policies.
Let’s look at the five key aspects of coverage to consider!
#1: Bicycle Theft Insurance
Bike theft is perhaps the number one concern for cyclists and for good reason. In the UK alone, 74,421 bike thefts were reported to the police between July 2021 and June 2022.
This works out to be a bike being stolen every 7 minutes. Considering that more than half didn’t even report a stolen bike, the actual number is likely to be much higher.
The statistics for actually solving these crimes and getting your bike back are even more sobering, with only 1.7% resulting in someone actually being charged.
Given these statistics, it is hardly surprising that there is a competitive and growing market for bicycle theft insurance, making the coverage more comprehensive than ever.
Unlike home insurance policies, specialist products are likely to replace like-for-like rather than simply give a fairly modest nominal payout.
This could mean that the cost of even entry-level bikes is not fully covered under typical home insurance policies.
As the name implies, most home insurance policies will only cover theft if the bike is securely stored in a garage or shed on your property.
There are some exceptions that extend the coverage away from your home, but it is not standard and worth checking the fine print of your home insurance policy.
#2: Event and Race Insurance
Most specialist cycling insurance policies can be tailored to include extra protection for cyclists that like to race. This is something that is very unlikely to be included in any off-the-shelf home insurance policy.
Whilst it is true that most well-organized races will include third-party insurance as part of the entry fee, this does not extend to damage to your bike or personal injury cover.
The onus is on the rider to make sure they have covered themselves.
There are different levels of cover, so check to see what is right for you.
Most will cover the basics, such as accidental damage to your equipment, damage to your kit, and theft during the event (during transitions, for example).
You may also be covered for event cancellation and injuries before the event so that you can recover the entry fees. In a post-Covid-19 world, everyone now knows just how much illness can get in the way of the best plans.
#3: Accidental Damage Insurance
Crashes happen. It is an occupational hazard when out on the road or on the trails.
Accidental damage claims make up the largest portion of claims for specialist bicycle insurance despite the quite shocking statistics surrounding bike theft.
Specialist policies will usually cover replacing a bike, right down to replacing individual components, depending on the level of cover that you opt for.
Home insurance may be a good option for covering expensive accessories like GPS units, but it is unlikely that they will cover third-party liability. This could leave you seriously out of pocket if you damage someone else’s bike.
#4: Personal Injury Insurance
With only a few millimeters of rubber holding us to the road, cycling can be a dangerous sport. That’s before we even account for the dubious standard of driving in some places.
As cyclists, we do our best to limit the risk by riding within our limits, but accidents do happen.
I witnessed first-hand one of my cycling buddies fly off the side of a mountain after running out of the road on a fast corner.
Specialist bicycle insurance companies understand the risks of cycling, with most policies offering a level of personal injury insurance.
This includes financial support for medical fees and lost time at work if you are seriously injured.
With that said, a lot of people will have their own dedicated health insurance policy, with some employers providing this as a benefit.
These policies are usually comprehensive, and you may be covered without having to pay extra for supplementary personal accident insurance on top of your bicycle insurance.
As always, dig out your health insurance policy to confirm, especially if you have a family that depends on you being fit and well.
#5: Cycling Travel Insurance
Every cyclist dreams of following the pros and pitting their wits against the best and most spectacular climbs, but it is important to check that any travel insurance that you take out for the trip covers your cycling.
It may be better to look into specialist cycling travel insurance for full peace of mind, especially if the main purpose of your trip is cycling.
Regular travel insurance will almost certainly not cover racing or mountain biking.
Specialist policies will provide extra cover for hiring a bike if your own bike has been lost or damaged in transit thanks to over-enthusiastic baggage handlers. Even trivial damage could derail your trip, so it is good to know that you have a backup plan.
It might not be the most glamorous way to spend money, but specialist bicycle insurance is usually a small cost compared to how much you might have already invested into your cycling.
Just like any insurance policy, it is something that you hope to never use but are usually relieved to have, especially if you rely on your bike for transport and commuting.
The cost of the policy depends on where you live, the insurance company, and the plan coverage, but typical annual costs range from $100 to $300.
Although the rates can seem high, it is an unfortunate truth that you are much more likely to crash on your bike than in your car. The same goes for thefts.
They will also likely offer substantial discounts on any additional bikes added to the policy. Great since most cyclists don’t just stop at one bike.
At the low end, this is equivalent to a year of Premium Strava after the recent price hike controversy! Shop around and compare different companies to find the best policy for your individual cycling needs.
If you are a member of a cycling club, they may be able to offer discounted coverage on specialist bicycle insurance and may even include third-party and liability coverage as part of their membership.
As with all insurance policies, there will be exclusions that are not covered. Even insurance companies have to turn a profit.
In terms of cycling, typical exclusions might include certain events or races and even some limitations on mileage.
It is also important to keep up your end of the bargain. Some policies, especially if you include personal injury insurance, require you to wear a helmet on the bike even if it is not a legal requirement where you live.
The same goes for any pre-existing medical conditions. They shouldn’t increase your premiums, but failure to declare could hamper any claims.
The rise in dedicated bike insurance companies is down to the fact that they better understand the needs of cyclists.
Try making a claim on your standard home insurance policy for a bike that could potentially cost more than a small car. The non-cycling part of the population will probably not believe you for a minute.
This understanding applies to the level of customer service from specialist bicycle insurance companies just as much as the breadth of the coverage they offer.
The best specialist bike insurance companies can be reached easily and promptly to settle any claims made by cyclists.
Now You Know All About Bicycle Insurance…
If you are looking to insure your bicycle, make sure the policy is right for you.
Double-check the requirements and coverage to ensure that when something does go wrong, you are well looked after.
Compare prices and read reviews before spending your hard-earned cash!