It’s a harsh reality, but bike theft and crashes can happen – that’s why bike insurance could be your next essential purchase.
With bikes forming part of everyday life for many people, it can be easy to take your machine for granted and not consider how losing your pride and joy might impact your fitness, your commute, and your fun.
We’ve done the research and put together a handy guide with everything you need to know about bike insurance – from quotes, to policies, and even how to claim.
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.
There are two key types of protecting your bike – home insurance or taking out specific bicycle insurance – and there are pros and cons to both options.
Insuring your bike on home insurance
It might feel like the simplest way to keep your bike covered, but there are a few things you need to know about insuring your machine with your contents insurance.
First off, don’t assume that your bike will be covered by your home insurance. Although most home insurance policies will provide some sort of basic bicycle cover in their standard policy, there is likely to be a maximum claim, which could even be as low as £500 – not a great help if you’re trying to claim for your Di2 S-Works.
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 sheds 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.
Accidental damage cover is another important part of your home insurance policy to check, especially if you want to be able to claim for your bike if you crash while either racing or riding.
Home insurance cover is very unlikely to step in if you crash during a mass participation event like a sportive or a race, and it may not cover those all-important accessories like GPS computers.
Another consideration is liability cover, which will make sure you’re covered in case of a crash involving another person.
There are a few additional options if you want this kind of insurance, for example both British Cycling and Cycling UK offer liability cover as part of their membership.
But if you’re not a member of a club or organisation like this, you may need to check your policy to see if liability is included.
Cycling-specific bicycle insurance
If you’ve looked into your home insurance and realised it might not be the fit for you, there is another good alternative that may be more cost effective and comprehensive – cycling specific insurance.
There are a growing number of companies in the market built entirely around offering insurance catered perfectly to cyclists of all types, from casual commuters to hardened racers.
The chief marketing officer of PedalSure, Phil Cooper, said: “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.”
Cooper added: “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.”
These kinds of policies may often give you coverage for a much higher value for your bike than general insurance providers, and there is even likely to be a big discount if you opt to insure more than one machine (perfect for those following the N+1 rule in cycling). But it’s worth checking if the policy will cover multiple people in the household – if another person in the household cycles they could need their own policy.
Another major bonus to cycling specific insurers is coverage for your accessories and components.
Plenty of these types of insurers are aware that your kit and also be as important (and expensive) as your frame itself, so many will cover your wheels, clothing GPS computers and a host of other components.
David George, he CEO of cycling insurer Bikmo, said: “The cost of insurance policies for e-bikes and regular bikes varies largely depending on the value, but also, depending on the insurer, can be affected by the number of bikes being insured, location and other factors.
“However, one thing is clear. Our research has shown us that the cost of e-bike insurance is generally inflated. Whilst the average cost of an e-bike is higher than it’s non-power-assisted equivalent, riders on an e-bike appear to be significantly more risk-averse.
“That’s why, as a company made up of cyclists and with a strong belief in ethical capitalism, we wanted to stand out from the crowd and pass these savings on to our members in the form of a lower premium.
“Although comparison engines have been popular for a long time, they are relatively new in the cycle insurance space. As with viewing any product or bike just by price, look at what the policy includes as standard. Many cycle insurers charge a lot more for simple extras that we include as standard with our policies.”
There are also some unique selling points to each of these cycling insurers, 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 watch out for when considering bicycle insurance
Here are a few of the main points you should keep in mind when shopping for your cycling policy:
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 affect 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 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.
And what to do if you’ve already had an accident
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 that 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.”