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Bike insurance: A guide to all you need to know

Cyclist magazine
14 Mar 2021

A comprehensive guide to insuring your bikes at home and abroad. Photo: James Cripps

Having your bike stolen or written off can be both heartbreaking and expensive. So whether it’s a hybrid that takes you to work and back or a racer that only comes out at weekends, it pays to insure it.

Many household insurance policies will cover bikes in the home, although some will require you to add additional high-value items before they’re covered. However, it’s less common they’ll cover bikes outside of your home.

Specialist vs home insurance?

While some comprehensive home insurance policies will cover bikes outside the home, they tend to cover limited value bikes and often come with significant strings attached. This has made specialist cycle insurance increasingly popular.

With the average traditional loss-adjuster potentially unaware that it’s actually possible to spend more than £200 on a bike, let alone on a helmet, the advantages of a specialist policy are numerous.

Benefits include dealing with a claims team that understands the specific needs of the average bicycle nerd, plus the availability of a range of options not found on standard policies.

Insuring against theft

Some criminal making off with your beloved bike is a thought that haunts most cyclists. But in terms of cover, there’s a big difference between whether your bike goes missing from your home, shed, holiday rental or off the street.

Check the details of your cover to be sure where you stand. Also, be aware many policies consider leaving a bike for more than a set time, often as little as 12 hours, as abandonment and won’t then cover against its theft.

Finally, don’t forget that your bike isn’t the only thing that can get stolen; accessories like GPS computers, lights and child seats can all be added to many policies.

What lock?

Many policies will have a maximum value they’ll cover if the bike is left locked outside. They’ll also often specify the type of lock needed to cover a bicycle of a particular value. To do this most refer to the Sold Secure level, a three-tier security grading system administered by the Master Locksmiths Association.

Coming in bronze, silver and gold levels, many specialist cycle-insurers will only insure bikes protected with the most secure locks.

Insuring against damage

Theft isn’t the only thing to insure against. Damage resulting from a crash or other accident is also worth considering. Again, beware of the context in which the damage might happen.

Some policies will cover you if you hit a pothole while out on your commute, but won’t pay up if you suffer as the result of a mass pile-up during a competitive event.

Third-party cycling insurance

If you’re judged to be at fault after a collision you could find yourself being sued in civil court. The bar for this can often seem incredibly low; like in the case of Robert Hazeldean who was forced to pay over £100,000 to a woman who stepped in front of him while looking at her phone.

Third-party liability insurance covers you if a member of the public makes a compensation claim against you because they believe you’re responsible for them having been injured or damaging their property.

Relatively cheap to take out by itself, it’s also included with all British Cycling memberships.

Cycling travel and event insurance

Holidays or going abroad can be another area worth considering when insuring your bike. If you intend to hop on a rental bike and potter around, you’ll probably be covered by standard health insurance. Anything more extreme, and you’ll need to up your level of cover.

Many insurers will grade your activities relative to their assumed risk level. This runs the gamut from cycle-touring up to downhill mountain bike racing.

Be sure where you stand, and don’t undersell your activity level. You might think of a sportive as a non-competitive event, but be sure your insurer does too. Off-road riding or riding above a certain altitude can also affect whether your cover is valid.

Again, unless you have very comprehensive cover, your bikes, kit and accessories may want further insuring, especially as damage in transit can be an issue when taking your bike abroad. Racing is also frequently not covered as standard by many health or damage insurance policies.

To get a quote on bike insurance, click here: quotezone.co.uk

A guide to specialist cycle insurers

Always check the details, exclusions and terms and conditions of every policy before purchasing

PedalSure

PedalSure offers a single, simple and comprehensive policy. This covers theft at home and out and about, along with damage and vandalism suffered. It also includes accessories and personal possessions on the bike. Also featured are a moderate personal injury allowance and cover for loss of earnings, both of which should cover most non-life-changing scenarios.

Racers and sportive riders will be covered during their events. Public liability is included. Overseas adventures and transit are covered for up to 60 days. Bikes up to £1,000 require a Sold-Secure silver lock, while bikes above this require a gold standard.

Currently, new customers insuring bikes worth £1,500 or more and who pay annually can get a free Hiplok DX D-lock worth £69.99 with their policy.

Key Features: Race and sportive cover, up to 60 days overseas, loss of earnings cover, 24 hour claim settlement

Sample policy covering a bike and accessories worth £2,000: £156 per year (plus free lock)

Excess: £75 or 10% of the claim payment value whichever is the greater

For more information regarding Pedalsure bike insurance, see here

Laka

An insurance company that only makes money when it settles claims. Laka’s community-based model sees the cost of insuring its members’ kit divided between each policyholder. Rather than a fixed premium, riders agree to a maximum monthly amount capped around the market rate for equivalent insurance.

At the end of each month, all the claims are added up and users gets charged their share relative to the value of what they’ve insured.

Making a profit by taking 20% of all settled claims, rather than leaving you haggling with a loss-adjuster, this incentivises Laka to pay out.

Besides this innovative business-model, key benefits include monthly rather than annual policies, zero excess on claims, 60 days of overseas cover, competitive event cover and money to get you home if you break down in the UK. Laka also offers separate health/accident insurance.

Key Features: Pay monthly, community-based model, incentivised to pay out, optional recovery provision

Sample policy covering a bike and accessories worth £2,000: Around £11 per-month (capped at £17)

Excess: Zero

Get £30 worth of Laka credit when you take out a three-issue subscription to Cyclist Magazine for £5. Just visit the deal here

Yellow Jersey

With a reassuringly large bank of positive customer reviews, Yellow Jersey offers both conventional cycle insurance and single-trip adventure cover. Both styles of insurance can be extensively tailored to meet your exact requirements.

You are allowed to insure your bike for as little as five days, and while the process is a little more involved than with some firms, the upshot is that you won’t be paying for anything you don’t need.

So if you know you’re sticking to home roads for the year, you won’t have to pay for overseas cover. Ditto – if you don’t own a car, you can avoid paying the part of the premium that covers theft from a vehicle.

However, with even the firm’s essential-level cover still including provision for emergency physio and dental services, even its basic policies aren’t overly spartan. Also offers comprehensive cover for racers.

Key Features: Tiered cover, customisable, 60% multi-bike discount, includes DNA+ bicycle security marking kit

Sample policy covering a bike and accessories worth £2,000: £149 per year

Excess: 10% capped at £100

For more information regarding Yellow Jersey bike insurance, see here

Bikmo

Another company offering highly tailored insurance for cyclists. Bikmo’s basic ‘go’ cover insures against theft and accidents during normal use, while its Race level cover is so thorough as to give you up to £1,000 if you miss a key competition due to an injury or crash.

Luckily, even those with the most basic level of protection will benefit from £150 returning home cover, allowing them to hop into a taxi if a mechanical or accident cuts short their ride.

Similarly, even the cheaper policies have overseas protection and will cover you during sportive events. Unlike many insurers, Bikmo also has specialist products for e-bike users, including cover for more adventurous activities like electric mountain biking expeditions.

Ultimately underwritten by Hiscox, there’s 0% on monthly payments, meaning you won’t pay interest if you choose not to pay in one lump sum.

Key Features: Sportive cover as standard, multi-bike discounts, 0% interest, usable worldwide

Sample policy covering a bike and accessories worth £2,000: From £188 per year

Excess: Zero

For more information regarding Bikmo bike insurance, see here

Pedalcover

Pedalcover is unique in offering combined home and bicycle insurance dedicated to cyclists. Ideal for those who have totalled up the most valuable assets in their home and found a pile of bikes at the top of the list.

At the same time, Pedalcover also offers separate cycling travel insurance and stand-alone bike cover. Underwritten by AXA, you’ll get the peace of mind of dealing with the world’s second-largest insurance brokers, plus the benefits of dealing with a claims team that understands the needs of cyclists.

Including all of your bicycles automatically up to £75,000 total contents limit at home, its policies can also offer up to £15,000 worth of bike cover away from your residence.

Added to this are features like race cancellation cover, transition area cover for triathletes, along with up to £200 worth of taxi money if your bike gives up the ghost while on the road.

Key Features: Combines home and bike insurance, covers racing and travel.

Sample policy covering a bike and accessories worth £2,000: Dependant on home cover

Excess: Policy dependent

For more information regarding Bikmo bike insurance, see here

ALA Insurance

ALA Insurance’s offering covers basic theft and/or damage to your bike, with accessories needing to be added separately. Options like personal accident cover, legal expenses cover, cycle rescue services or the ability to extend the policy to cover you worldwide can then be added on top.

Leaving its standard cover a fair bit cheaper than many competitors, 10,000 plus positive TrustPilot reviews of the wider company suggest there’s no reason to expect this will come at the cost of them attempting to wiggle out of any claims.

Also leaving you free to add extras as you need them, the result is lean cover as standard, or the option to build a bespoke package to cover your other needs.

Although generally similar in their customisable features, ALA market-specific products cover commuters, electric bike users, mountain bikers, roadies and touring cyclists. We were also tickled to see the firm offers specific BMX insurance, but then everyone has to grow up at some point.

Regardless of which you opt for you’ll need to provide proof of purchase for your bike to be accepted.

Key Features: Low-cost standard theft and damage cover, customisable extras, customisable excess

Sample policy covering a bike and accessories worth £2,000: £87-97 a year (dependent on bike/accessories ratio)

Excess: £150

For more information regarding ALA bike insurance, see here

All details provided as a guide only and responsibility for the policy chosen and purchased stays with the buyer

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