Best bicycle insurance, including what you need to know and how to compare

The image of just wheel locked to a bike stand shows the importance of having the best bicycle insurance
(Image credit: Getty Images )

Whether your bike is for daily transport or purely recreational, we would all be bereft should it be stolen, crashed or damaged. 

Even the lowest priced bikes don't come cheap, and to replace wouldn't be an easy option for most, which is why protection with the best bicycle insurance is a must have for every cyclist. 

Here you'll find loads of advice on how to choose the right insurance policy for you. Or to make life easier, we've partnered with Protect Your Family on an insurance comparison engine so you can sit back and let the bots do the searching.

Whatever bicycle insurance you decide to choose, it's worth also ensuring that you have a one of the best bike locks for theft prevention. All insurance policies will require one to be used either at home or away, so even when you've just nipped in to the café too. 

A bike lock also acts as an additional deterrent, even if it's pretty basic, preventing any opportunist thefts of your two wheels, although be sure to check what level of lock security your bicycle insurance insists on, so you don't get caught out without an bike or pay-out.  

Different types of bicycle insurance

There are two main ways to protect your bike, via your home and contents insurance or a specific bicycle insurance product. There's pros and cons to both options.

Bicycle specific companies

The best bicycle insurance will cover your bike, you and others at events, like this one in the image that shows several riders on bikes on a road between woodland

The best bicycle insurance will cover your bike, you and others 

(Image credit: Future)

Opting for stand alone can be the best bicycle insurance choice as you can tailor it to meet your needs exactly. 

The most basic level will cover your bike for damage or theft, while a more bespoke protection plan will cover your family,  all your bikes, as well as other people, as it's likely to also include liability cover as standard.

The best bicycle insurance can also protect you and all your kit on race days, even compensate for cancellations or illnesses, travelling abroad, and even replace like for like - a must have when owning a more expensive bike. 

Phil Cooper, the chief marketing officer of PedalSure, says: "Gone are the days when you can simply add your bike onto your home insurance. Today's cyclists expect to cover bikes with a value beyond most home insurance. They also want cover for theft away from home not just at the home. More importantly they expect accidental damage cover whoever is at fault. At PedalSure we cover all these conditions, and have built a policy to suit cyclists.

best bicycle insurance will protect your bikes from accidental damage, even when on a roof rack like the two in the image.

It's not unknown to forget about the extra height when driving under barriers and bridges. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"For example, if you have a collision with your bike on a roof-rack, we have it covered. We also recently expanded our competition cover to include all stages of a triathlon. Most of all PedalSure has pioneered personal accident cover up to £150k to make sure our policy holders have the best possible cover for themselves as well as their bikes."

The best bicycle insurance companies will give you an quote calculated on personal circumstances, the bikes you are riding and the sort of riding you'll be doing. 

This means that if you are unfortunate enough to need to make a claim, the true value of your bike, kit and out of pocket expenses will be reflected, unlike most home insurance policies that will have a nominal pay-out just for the bike.

In general bicycle specific policies will offer hefty discounts, such as 50 per cent, on additional bikes on the policy, or a multiple bike cover option, so it can work out more cost effective if you have a large bicycle collection. 

Like home insurance, even the best bicycle insurance will require good theft prevention precautions are in place, but will probably cover the bikes in more locations, such as in a car or place of work. Some specific bicycle insurance will cover individual components, such as wheels, and also allow you to claim for clothing and accessories.

Home insurance policies

Asgard bike storage shed is pictured with bikes inside and is a way of ensuring that you are covered by the best bicycle insurance

Secure home storage maybe a requirement of bike insurance.  

One of the easiest ways to ensure you have bike protection is to tack it on to your home insurance, as it keeps everything neatly in one policy.

While this is probably the best bicycle insurance for people who like to keep things simple, you should never assume your bike is covered by your home insurance, and if it does, be sure to read the small print on what, where and how much protection you are getting. 

Many home insurance policies will provide some basic bicycle cover, it's likely to have a maximum claim per item, which can be as low as £500, which wouldn't get you far if replacing one of the best road bikes

The excess may be higher than other household items, and, if you do have more than one bike, you may find there's a total claim value maximum on all bikes. So check for policy extension options that allow you to insure you bikes for closer to the true value.

The T's and C's of most home insurers is the requirement of additional theft prevention measures for bikes, especially in outbuildings, e.g. shed's and garages (assuming outbuildings are covered), so make sure you have one of the best bike locks for the job.

Many also don't cover your bike while it's away from home or when someone else is using it, so you may find yourself out of pocket if it goes missing at the train station. Again, you many find there are additional policy add on's that will cover you for these areas, but you will have to pay a extra, so worth doing a price comparison against a bicycle specific insurance policy.

The best bicycle insurance should cover your bike when you leave home. This image shows someone exiting a front door with their bike at their side after carrying it down a flight of stairs

Ensure your bike is protected when away from home. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another important policy area to check for on home insurance is exactly what's covered by accidental damage and you should also check if it extends to your bike, either in the home or when riding.

Items that home insurance policies are highly unlikely to provide cover for are personal accident, bike damage at a mass participation event, such as a sportive or a race, and accessories, such as a bike computer.

Even if the value of your bike and all its accessories is minimal, therefore covered by home and contents insurance, the most important item to check your policy for is liability cover. Some cycling club memberships, as well as British Cycling and Cycling UK membership, will automatically provide liability insurance, but if you're not a member of any club, you need to ensure you have adequate protection.

Things to bear in mind when buying bicycle insurance

The big things with whatever bicycle insurance you decide to opt are keeping up with your end of the insurance deal. In practical terms this means:

Security: All insurers will expect you to have secured your bike to the best of your ability with sold secure locks used as a minimum. If you're storing your bike in an outbuilding (garage, shed or otherwise) it's likely that you will be required to use an anchor lock that's cemented in. If locking your bike while out and about, you will need to ensure the frame is secured to a permanent structure, so it's worth looking if you've attached it to anything that can be unscrewed.

Pre existing medical conditions: If you've decided to select a policy with personal accidental cover ensure you're upfront with all your previous injuries and ailments. It's unlikely to up your premium but it can effect payout should you require to claim.

Notifying the insurance company of any changes: This can be anything from a new bike to a change of address (more one to remember if you've opted for a specific bike insurance).

Exclusions: You will have hopefully established everything you are and are not covered for when you finally decide on a policy, but it's worth noting that most insurance, whether home or bicycle specific, won't cover you for riding your bike for work (commuting too and from is fine), or if you are deemed a professional rider.

Bicycle insurance compared

It is worth shopping around to get the best deal for you, as all insurance companies have unique selling points, for example Laka acts like a community of cyclists who protect each other, with all cost of claims is split amongst members up to a fixed monthly amount around market rate (capped at the value of your bike) so your contributions are directly used to help other cyclists and in every given month you only pay for what is needed, so some months you pay nothing at all.

Click here to try Protect Your Family's bike insurance comparison engine – just enter your details and get a selection of policies to choose from.

>>> GPS Bike Trackers: find and follow your stolen bike

But what if you've had an accident already?

Laurent Didier's bike after he crashed on stage one of the Herald Sun Tour
(Image credit: Con Chronis)

If you've already crashed your prized machine and aren't covered by insurance, there is still hope at recovering some of the costs. Cycling injury and bike accident claim solicitors often work on a no win no fee basis with companies such as Cycle SOS and Alyson France specialising in cycling related accidents, helping you claim from anything such as a pothole crash to a road traffic accident.

Paul Darlington, consultant solicitor, Cycle SOS has this advice when choosing a cycling injury and bike accident claim solicitor: "The most important decision is your choice of representation. It's vital that you choose someone who knows about bikes and cycling as well as the compensation system. Access to a helpline which can give specific advice on your crash is invaluable. The Cycle SOS helpline is here to do just that. If you are hurt, seek medical attention and report the accident to the police at the earliest opportunity; the law says ALL injury collisions HAVE to be reported."

Is bike insurance a legal requirement?

Is it the law or personal choice

Unlike car ownership in the UK, cyclists don't require any form of insurance, either personal or liable. 

We've answered the exact 'do cyclists have to have insurance?' question to explain in more detail the rules and regulations when riding in the UK. 

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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011.

She's specialises on the technical side of all things cycling, including pro peloton team kit having covered multiple seasons of the Spring Classics, and Grand Tours for both print and websites. Prior to joining Cycling Weekly, Hannah was a successful road and track racer, competing in UCI races across the world, and has raced in most of Europe, China, Pakistan and New Zealand.

For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won 24 hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.