What You Need to Know
- Bicycle insurance is designed to cover you for any misfortune you may suffer as a cyclist, including accident and the theft or loss of your bike
- Don't assume that your bike is covered on your home insurance policy. In fact, if a bike is lost or stolen outside of the home, this type of policy is unlikely to be any use to you
- One big benefit of bicycle insurance is that it will cover you for any accidents. So, it could cover the cost of repairs to a car or even the medical bills of a person you hit while riding your bike
- Insurers may also provide roadside assistance in case your bike is too damaged to get you home
- As with all type of insurance, it's a good idea to shop around for the best deal. Not all bicycle insurance policies are the same, so be sure to compare prices and read the small print
- Note that some policies will cover you for accidents during a race, though others won't.
- British Cycling provides a wide range of insurance options, with legal advice and personal cover included in their membership packages
What is Bicycle Insurance?
As the name suggests, bicycle insurance is a special type of insurance that covers the various misfortunes that could potentially happen to you as a bike owner. Just as with other types of insurance, you will have to pay monthly or annual premiums, but then if something happens that's covered by the policy, then you will receive a lump sum to compensate you.
Will my home insurance policy not cover a stolen bike?
Many casual cyclists simply assume that their home insurance policy covers them for a stolen or damaged bike; after all, a bike is one of their household possessions.
Often, this is the case. But even if a household insurer does accept claims for a stolen bike, they will have certain conditions. For instance, the bike must have been secure, that is, kept in a garage or chained to a fence rather than just lying around on the lawn.
However, you should never assume that your home insurer will cover your bike. In fact, research carried out in the summer of 2013 found that around one in three home insurance policies do not cover bikes when they are taken away from home, even if you have used a good chain to secure it to an immovable object like a lamppost. Furthermore, even those insurers who are happy for you to claim a stolen bike on a personal possessions policy charge an excess of £100 or more, while most will only cover bikes valued at under £500.
Clearly, then, if you own an expensive bike and will be taking it outside of your house, getting a special insurance policy to cover it in the event of accidental damage or theft makes sense.
What else does bicycle insurance cover?
Guarding against having your bike stolen is just one reason you should consider getting specialist bicycle insurance. After all, if you lose your bike, or if it's stolen, then you will only lose out on its value.
Far more important is the fact that bicycle insurance covers you for any damage you do when you're riding your bike. Remember that repairs to a car or even the medical bills of the pedestrian you ride into will almost always be far more costly than the price of replacing a bike, so it's worth getting insured just for this.
As well as damage to third parties and their property, a specialist bicycle insurance policy may also cover the following:
- Accidental damage to your bike: Even if an accident is entirely your fault, you should be able to claim on your policy for the costs of getting your bike back on the road. Note, however, that if you take part in organised races, you may need to have a special policy to cover this.
- Theft of cycle accessories: The theft of saddles, wheels, helmets and other accessories is much more common than you might think and is a real problem among the racing community. Specialist bicycle insurance will ensure that you are covered in the event of your accessories being stolen or damaged.
- Race fees: Entering big races can be an expensive business, so missing out on an event through injury or due to late trains or other events outside of your control can leave you seriously out of pocket. Some insurers will be happy to reimburse you the race fee if you cannot make an event or if the event is cancelled.
- Roadside assistance: Some insurers will even provide assistance if your bike cannot be ridden due to an accident or vandalism. Just as with car insurance policies, a call to your insurer will see you picked up and you and your bike taken to a repair shop or another convenient location like a local train station or your home.
As with all type of insurance, the terms and conditions of the policies on offer will vary between different providers. Not all will offer roadside assistance, for example, and some will not cover you for any accidents that occur when you put yourself at risk, for instance if you're taking part in a race or mountain biking.
As always, then, you should read the small print, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions and take the time to shop around and find the best bicycle insurance policy to suit your individual circumstances.
Choosing the right policy
So, again, you shouldn't simply sign up with the first policy you see, but instead should make an effort to find the perfect policy for you. The good news is that this is very easy to do. A simple online search will bring up a number of big providers, or you could use one of the many comparison sites available online.
Things to bear in mind when shopping around for the perfect bicycle insurance policy include:
- Will I be taking part in organised races? Or what about taking my bike-off road, for example for mountain biking?
- How much is my bike worth? Is it likely to be a target for thieves?
- Are my accessories valuable enough to make paying extra to get them covered worth it?
Getting insured through a cycling club
Perhaps the easiest, and often the most cost-effective way of enjoying the benefits of specialist bicycle insurance policy is to get insured through a cycling club. If you're a serious cyclist, then you may already be a member of British Cycling, and if not, you should consider signing up.
Basic British Cycling membership includes liability insurance, as well as free legal support in the case of you being involved in a serious accident. Race Membership is more expensive, though this comes with personal accident insurance as well as free legal advice.
- British Cycling should be the first place you go for any cycling advice. Check out its guide to insurance and legal support for cyclists before you start shopping around for a policy
- The Sportive Cyclist website also provides a good overview of why you need to take out specialist bicycle insurance
- Now might also be the time to check if you are getting the best deal on your home insurance. Learn more about home insurance and how to get the right deal by reading our guide.