Nobody likes chores, they keep you off your bike right? While home admin can feel like one of the biggest chores, taking up valuable riding time, it’s vital to spend some time ensuring that your bike is protected should it be stolen, crashed or damaged, especially if you’re anything like us with the sum total of your bikes costing way more than your car.
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.
Home insurance policies
Home insurance can often feel like the simplest way of insuring your bike, as it keeps everything neatly in one policy.
Never assume your bike is covered by your home insurance. Although most home insurance companies will provide some basic bicycle cover under standard policy, it’s likely to have a maximum claim per item, which can be as low as £500.
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.
If you are thinking of going down the home insurance route check the small print. Most home insurers require additional theft prevention measures for bikes, especially in outbuildings, e.g shed’s and garages (assuming outbuildings are covered), and don’t cover your bike while it’s away from home or when someone else is using it. Again, there are sometimes policy add ons that will cover you for these areas, especially when travelling with your bike.
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.
Bicycle specific companies
There are also pros and cons in buying specific bicycle insurance. On one hand it may feel like an additional monthly expense, but on the other, it’s probably the only way you’ll get 100 per cent of your bicycle insurance needs met by covering both you and your bike, with liability insurance almost always coming as standard.
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.
“For example, if you have an 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.”
Most bicycle specific companies will cover your bike up to a much higher value than home insurance and 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. However, the policy sometimes only covers one individual’s bikes, so if anyone else in your family cycles, they will need their own policy.
Like home insurance, specific 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.
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If holidaying with your bike is integral to your lifestyle, then bicycle insurance can not only cover your bike once you’re abroad, but also big ticket items such as bike boxes and emergency bike hire.
The biggest difference between home and bicycle insurance however is the human element, with personal accident provision at the top of the list, which would pay out after an injury. Some companies even provide loss of earnings, race fee cover, in competition damage, and even roadside recovery costs to get you and your bike home.
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.
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
|Insurance Examples||Provider||Max value of a bike(s)||Accidental damage||Cover abroad||Accessories||Personal cover||Roadside recovery|
|Household insurance for bicycles||John Lewis Finance||£5,000 per bike (£15,000 in total)||Included if you get bike cover||60 days worldwide with bike cover|
|Age UK||Your choice||Pedal cycle extension||Worldwide|
|Barclays||£3,500 per bike||Optional||Worldwide|
|Nationwide||£3,000||Included||60 days worldwide|
|M&S Bank||£15,000 per bike||Not available||Yes, no limits on duration or geography|
|LV=||£1,500 per bike||Included if you get bike cover||60 days worldwide with bike cover|
|Specific Cycling Insurance
|Yellow Jersey||£15,000 per bike||Included (inc race day)||120 days worldwide||£250 as standard, £1000 bike box cover. As disclosed (bikes and accessories total maximum £50,000)||Including race day||UK wide (except abroad)|
|PedalSure||£15,000 per bike (£30,000 total claim cover)||Included
(inc race day, inc all Triathlon stages)
|60days||Up to £1,500 per claim||Including race day||Not available|
|Bikmo||£40,000 total claim cover||Included
(inc race day)
|365days worldwide||£250/ 10% of total claim + £500 bike box cover||Including race day (inc race fees)||Included|
|CyclePlan||£30000 total claim cover||Included
(inc race day)
|Yes worldwide||Yes (Value of new replacement if less than 3yrs old||Including race day||Not available|
|Cycleguard||£12,500 per bike||Included
(inc race day)
|90days worldwide||Included Value of new replacement if less than 3yrs old||Including race day||Included|
|Velosure||£20,000 total claim cover||Included
(inc race day)
|90days worldwide||Included (new for old)||Including race day||Included|
|Lexham||£10,000 per bike||Included
(inc race day)
|90day (max 30days one trip) world wide||Included (if fixed)||Including race day||Included|
|Laka||£7,500 per bike (£15,000 total claim cover)||Included
(inc race day)
|30days bike (60 days individual cover)||Included (New for old)||Including race day||Included|
But what if you’ve had an accident already?
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.”