Insuring your Bike
In the year from July 2013 to June 2014, 376,000 bicycles were stolen in England and Wales. That figure is enough to get anyone thinking about bike insurance, but it tends to be quite a difficult arena to research thoroughly. The discrepensies between bike-specific policies and home insurance policies can be huge, and because of all the variables, there's no far-enough-reaching price comparison websites.
So here, we've tried to put together some tips and advice for a wide range of cyclists. We definitely haven't covered all the different factors that might effect your quote, but we've tried to consider a number of different circumstances in order to give you a well-rounded view of the policies available.
The most common way to insure a bicycle is as part of your home insurance. And this can work well, as long as you're familiar with all the conditions of your policy. Read all the small print, because there can be a number of things that could catch you out.
We talked to Nick Hill from the Money Advice Service about what to consider. He said: "It’s worth checking your contents insurance to see whether your bike is actually covered. It might only be insured for theft from home and for a low amount. Expensive bikes will probably need to be named as additional items, while cover away from home may need to be added. Both could come with an extra charge.
"Check the policy to find out locks you must use to secure your bike when you’re out and about if it’s stolen and you have to make a claim. You can get separate policies that cover more expensive bikes, damage, and even personal liability for any accidents you cause."
So it's best to give your policy provider a call and ask them about the following areas in which you could be vulnerable:
- Does the policy cover a bicycle being stolen from an outdoor location, or just from inside your house?
- How about a shed or a shared residential cycling parking space?
- Does the policy stipulate that you must use a certain type of lock, or that is must be locked to a fixed object? If a bike is left in a shed, but not locked to a fixed object, you may not be covered. Make sure to check for a Sold Secure Rating on your lock and in your policy.
- Does your policy cover items of the correct worth? If you have an expensive road bike, it's possible it will not be covered. You may need to declare it separately and pay and increased premium.
– Does it include third party liability cover? You not only need to insure yourself, but take steps in case you hurt someone else.
- How much is the excess? If you have to play half of the value of your bike to claim, perhaps you should consider a different policy.
- Is the fact you live in London or another major city greatly increasing your premium? This could be another reason to consider specialist bike insurance.
A scan of bicycle forums throws up a whole lots of recommendations – but M&S seem to get a particular amount of love (If you're bike is worth under £1000, their contents away from home insurance automatically covers your bike abroad, as well as in your garden or shed. You'll have to specify bikes worth over a grand).
GoCompare let you input multiple bikes in their home insurance questionnaire, so you'll not get any results from companies that won't cover your bike.
If you have more specialist requirements, you'll want to look at bike-specific insurance.
Specialist Bicycle Insurance
There are now a number of insurance companies specialising in bicycle insurance. Some of the most popular are Bikmo Plus (part of Hiscox), Cycleguard (Thistle), Yellow Jersey (The Plan Group), Endsleigh (mainly for students, Zurich), Pedalcover (Kingswood), Velosure and, PedalSure and ETA.
When dealing with these companies or organisations, you'll want to ask the same questions as with home insurance policies, and make a few extra considerations.
- Does the policy repay the value of your bike in cash or as vouchers to use in a specific shop? You may not have a preference, but it's important to know what you'll receive in case you need to make a claim.
- Do you take part in races of any kind? That includes sportives as well as triathlons, cyclocross races, whatever. This is important when considering liability insurance if someone is injured, as well as the possibility of a bicycle being stolen from a race transition area. Some policies even provide race cancellation cover!
- Do you want your gear to be covered too? Sometimes your extras can be worth as much as the bike! Think of specialist clothing and accessories like bike computers.
- Consider personal accident insurance: sometimes it's included, sometimes it's an extra.
- Finally, what's the interest on paying monthly? Does including this extra fee skew your quote?
Finally, there's also a new option out there provided by a company called Cycle Syndicate. They operate what is more of a group assurance scheme, where an amount of real-life friends chip in to provide insurance should someone's bike go walkies.
Have you any insights into the best options for those who need bike insurance? Leave a comment below!