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What are the best cycle insurance policies?
These cycle insurers specialise in insuring bikes and cyclists – and really understand what kind of cover you need. They also offer multi bike insurance with good discounts for extra bikes – great if you have a bike for weekday commutes and another for weekend trail biking or touring.
Discover our top 4 selected cycle insurers
What is bicycle insurance?
Bicycle insurance covers the cost of replacing your bike if it’s stolen, or repairing it if it’s damaged. It may also add protection for personal injury, or for any damage you do to other people or their property.
The best policies cover both cycle and rider – so if you’re hurt and your bike is headed for the repair shop, they’ll pay out for your physio as well as getting the bike fixed.
Why should I take out a specialised bicycle insurance?
One good reason for taking out a specialized cycle policy is that the insurer will understand bikes. A regular insurer whose experience is limited to £99 cheapies from Halfords may simply not understand how a bike can be worth £2,500, or new front forks cost £940.
Considering the cost of good quality bike components, a good bike insurance policy is well worth what you pay in premiums. The table below shows components from mid-range to top-of-the-range. Remember, if you have a bad crash, you’re likely to need to replace more than one component – you might, for instance, need new wheels and a new front fork, or a new back wheel, cassette and derailleur.
|Rockshox 30 Silver TK 26″ Suspension Fork||£135|
|Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon UST Tubeless Disc Brake 700c Road Wheelset||£719|
|Raleigh 700c Rear 6 Bolt Disc QR Wheel – 8/9 Speed Cassette||£60|
|Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon UST Tubeless Disc Brake 700c Road Wheelset||£952|
In addition to paying for new components, of course, you’ll have to pay the repair costs, which can vary from £20 or so for truing your wheels or retaping your handlebars to £140 for a full bike rebuild.
A good cycling policy also understands that you need to insure yourself as well as your bike. Whether you’re commuting through busy traffic or in the middle of the peloton in a road race, a crash could injure you as well as your bike – so the best insurance policies include cover for personal injury. They’ll also include public liability in case you scratch someone’s treasured BMW or knock into a pedestrian you didn’t see – and they’ll often include some cover for legal expenses too. A good specialised policy will cover your whole cycling experience, not just the bike.
How much does bicycle insurance cost?
The biggest factor affecting the cost of cycle insurance is the value of your bike.
For instance, it could cost £70 a year if your bike is worth £1,000, and that might rise to £130 a year for a £2,000 bike.
The cost will also be affected by the type and amount of cover that you want. For instance you might add on another 10-20% if you want a high level of personal accident and personal liability cover.
It’s worth reminding yourself just how much bikes actually cost. Though the average cost of a bike in the UK is £233, this includes cheapies and kids’ bikes. If you look for a reasonably serious road bike, mountain bike or tourer, you’re soon looking at over £1,000, and if you really get into the sport, you could be spending more on your racer than some of your friends do on a car. Cannondale’s best road bike costs more than a Fiat Panda. (It’s probably more fun, too.)
|Average cost of bike in the UK||£233||£1.01|
|Specialized Rockhopper Sport 2021 Mountain Bike||£500||£4.02|
|Cannondale Treadwell 2 2020 Hybrid Bike||£700||£4.52|
|Specialized Allez E5 Sport 2020 Road Bike||£950||£5.02|
|Brompton S6L 2020 Folding Bike||£1,145||£5.52|
|Dawes Ultra Galaxy 2020 Touring Bike||£1,200||£12.34|
|Pashley Roadfinder 2020 Road Bike||£2,195||£21.20|
|Raleigh Centros Tour Crossbar 2020 Electric Hybrid Bike||£2,550||£22.34|
|Cannondale Supersix Hi mod Dura Ace Di2 Disc 2020 Road Bike||£9,000||£51.12|
What is covered by bicycle insurance?
Bicycle insurance should at the very least cover your bike against theft and damage whether it’s at home, on the road, or safely locked up outside the office or the pub. (Cover against theft is very important – insurer Velosure says the value of bikes pinched from railway stations amounts to more than £1.5 million a year.)
Many policies offer enhanced cover which can include:
- hiring a bike while you’re waiting for yours to be repaired or replaced;
- cover for any claims made against you by a third party (for instance if you knocked someone over or scratched their car with your handlebars);
- legal expenses, if you have to take a third party to court after they damage your bike in an accident;
- personal accident, giving you a lump sum if you die or are severely disabled following a bike crash.
Other types of cover may be included, often as paid-for extras;
- for riding your bike abroad,
- accessories and cycling gear,
- loss of earnings if you can’t work following a bike accident,
- cover for competitions and races, and
- bicycle breakdown cover.
How long can I get cycle cover for?
Most specialist insurers will offer you cycle insurance for a month at a time. However, some of the best deals are reserved to those who take out annual cover.
What is not covered by bicycle insurance?
Bicycle insurance won’t cover everything. You’ll need to check your policy’s small print for the detailed exclusions, but most insurers exclude the following:
- Accidents when you were under the influence of drink and drugs;
- Accidents that happened when you were breaking the law, for instance going through a red light or cycling the wrong way in a one way street;
- Business use. Cycle couriers and delivery services need a business policy, not a regular cycle policy. However, if you’re just commuting to your usual place of work, that’s covered;
- Cosmetic damage. If your paint gets scratched, tough;
- Theft if you did not secure your bike properly;
- ‘Abandoned’ bikes. If you leave a bike locked up outside for more than 12 hours (other than at home or at work, or at a railway station when commuting) it is most unlikely to be covered;
- Some insurers won’t pay out for injury claims if you weren’t wearing your helmet.
Securing your bike is very important, even at home. Your bike must either be in a locked and secure place (like your own home, but not the common areas of a block of flats), or locked up securely.
Insurers will usually specify the type of lock that they expect you to use, and you should check the policy to see their precise requirements. For instance, you may need to use a bike lock with a Sold Secure Gold rating, if your bike’s worth £1,500 or more.
But then, if you’ve spent that much on a bike, you’d want to keep it safe anyway, wouldn’t you? It’s not just about making it more difficult for a thief to break the lock – faced with a lock that’s particularly secure, most bike thieves will look for another bike that’s easier to steal.
Is your bike covered by your home insurance?
If you have home contents insurance, you may think your bike is covered. But that might not always be the case – or your bike might only be covered when it’s at home.
- Your contents insurance may require bikes to be declared specifically on the policy in order for them to be covered. There might be an admin charge for this.
- Your policy might also exclude single items above a certain limit, for instance £1,500. If your bike is worth more than this it won’t be covered.
- Many contents policies will only cover your bike when it’s in your home. So if you run into a pothole and damage the bike, or if it’s binched from the bicycle park at work, you won’t be covered. To get cover outside the home you’ll need a policy with ‘personal possessions’ cover.
It’s also worth pointing out that even if you can claim for a bike on your home insurance, you might do much better with specific bike insurance. There are two good reasons for this. First, any claim on your home insurance policy will put your premiums up, and since your home insurance is likely to be more costly than your cycle insurance, you’ll lose money in the long term. Secondly, your home insurance might have a higher excess than a bike policy, meaning that you’ll have to fork out more from your own pocket before the insurer pays up. Specialist bicycle cover can make good financial sense.
What types of bikes are covered by cycle insurance?
Discover our guides about :
Why might home insurance not be enough to cover your bike?
If you do want to put your bike on your home contents insurance, you’ll want to check out our reviews to see if your bike is covered.
Most annoyingly, many home insurance policies won’t cover you when you’re actually riding your bike!
Home insurance might also not cover you for lending your bike to a friend or even another member of your family (unless you put their name on the insurance).
You’re almost certainly not going to be covered for racing, sportives, and charity events, so if you’re a keen sports cyclist, special bike insurance is best for you.
And if your bike is worth more than £1,000 or so, most home insurers won’t want to insure it at all.
On the other hand, if you have a cheap bike and only use it on a few summer weekends just for pootling around your local area, your home insurance might be all you need.
Things to check before you sign up for a cycle insurance policy
Before you sign on the dotted line, there are quite a lot of things you’ll need to check. Some of them are relatively obvious – some of them aren’t obvious at all.
- Make sure your policy can replace your bike “new for old”. Some policies apply high rates of depreciation, meaning if you make a claim, what you’ll get back will be way short of what you paid for your bike.
- If you’re a super keen sports cyclist check that the policy covers you for charity events, sportives, competitions, road racing or cyclo-cross. Triathletes also need to check that the policy will cover bikes left in the triathlon transition area.
- Make sure you know what your bike is worth. Usually, that’s what you paid for it, but if you’ve customised your bike, or bought extra wheel sets, you’ll need to cover the added extras too.
- Check the policy excess – the amount that you’ll have to fork out before the insurer will pay your claim. Remember that a higher excess can reduce the amount of your premium, so pick the option that’s best for you.
- Check whether the insurer gives you a discount if you belong to British Cycling or Cycling UK.
- Check the policy exclusions. How long can your bike be left unattended? What proof of ownership do you need? What kind of lock must you use? Are you covered for commuting? Will you bike be covered if it’s in your car or on a roof-rack?
- If you depend on your bike for commuting, or do a lot of touring, look for an emergency bike hire option that kicks in if your bike is out of action.
- Check other forms of insurance. For instance, does the manufacturer of your bike lock offer an anti-theft guarantee? Does your home insurance policy cover your bike? (There’s more about home insurance below.)
Don’t just buy an insurance offered by the retailer where you bought your bike. Some are very good, caring retailers who’ve researched strong, specialist, and well underwritten insurance solutions. Others will sell you a package with nasty exclusions in the small print – no new-for-old cover, no cover at night, or a high excess you’ll have to pay if you ever make a claim. Check out the market before you decide on a policy.
What to do before insuring my bike?
There are a few other things you should do before you get your bike insured. Think about where you store your bike and how to make it more secure. You could even ask your employer to help, for instance by installing a bike rack or ground anchor in the car park or giving you access to a securely locked basement. You can also:
- get your bike security marked. Ensure the markings are visible – they’re a good deterrent, as thieves know the bike will be more difficult to sell.
- Take photos of your bike and store them with your receipt, details such as the serial number, make and model, and (once you’ve got it) your insurance policy.
- Register your bike using this website – a police approved database that can improve your chances of recovering your bike if it’s pinched.
Do I need to use a specific lock for my bike?
Most bicycle insurance policies specify that your bike must be secured in order to be covered against theft. Many policies will specify a particular standard that your lock must meet, eg the Sold Secure Bronze, Silver or Gold rating. The more valuable your bike is, the higher specification will be required.
Of course you can always get a higher specification lock than your policy requires. Remember to keep the receipt so that if you have to make a claim, you can show the insurer that you had (and used) the required level of security.
You’ll also need to use the lock properly and to ensure your bike is locked to an immovable object such as a lamp post or bike stand. Remember to lock both the wheels and the frame – it’s surprising how many cyclists lock the frame but forget that it’s easy to pinch a quick-release wheel! (Worse, we’ve seen cases where the cyclist locked the front wheel, but the frame and back wheel have now gone walkabout.)
Remember, if your bike is on a roof rack or other car rack, you need to lock it firmly to the rack – and don’t leave it out of your sight for more than an hour.
What factors will affect the price of my bike insurance?
As we mentioned, the biggest factors will be the value of your bike and the amount of cover you select. But other factors may also come into play.
- How you use your bike. Commuting and leisure use will be cheaper than insuring your bike for competitions and road races.
- Any previous claims. Some insurers won’t cover you if you have recent claims over a certain amount, while others will increase your premiums.
- Where you live. Inner city cyclists usually pay more as their bikes are more likely to be stolen. But several of our top insurers, like Yellow Jersey, don’t price by postcode.
All of these factors can affect your bike insurance quote, so shop around to find the insurer who gives you the best cover for the best price.
Which bikes can be covered by cycle insurance?
You can cover pretty much any bicycle!
Whether you want mountain bike insurance, or just to get cover for your sturdy commuting bike, you’ll be able to find a policy that delivers what you need.
Even e-bikes can be covered – and since May 2020 they’re finally legal in Northern Ireland too! That’s good news, since electric bikes are expensive – the cheapest decent hybrid will set you back about £1,400 and prices head north of £3,000 pretty quickly.
So electric bike insurance is well worth having, and fortunately almost all the specialised bicycle insurers also offer e-bike insurance as part of their product range.
How do I value my bike?
For many bikes, the price you paid for the bike will be the price you want to insure. But for vintage bikes, you may need to get a valuation from a reputable dealer. And if your bike is custom built, you’ll need to add up the value of the components – how much you paid fior the individual parts.
If you’ve upgraded your handlebars or wheels, you’ll need to factor that into the value you insure. You might also want to cover additional wheelsets such as special carbon racing wheels.
The important thing is to know how much your bike would cost to replace, new-for-old. So ignore any special discount you received, whether it was for an end-of-product-line special, in the January sales, or a club member’s discount.
It’s important not to underinsure your bike. If you have a £9,000 racer but you only insure it for £4,500, any payout will be cut by 50% to reflect your undervaluation. That’s not just the case if the whole bike has to be replaced – even if you’re claiming £500 for repairs, you’ll only get £250.
Can you get cycle insurance to ride your bike abroad?
Many policies will cover you as standard for 60 or 90 days, which is enough for a pretty extensive cycle tour or a series of smaller trips. Other policies will let you specify European or worldwide cover as an add-on option.
If you enjoy cycle touring abroad on a regular basis, you may also want to check whether a policy covers
- your bike while in transit, eg on a plane;
- replacement bike hire, if your bike is damaged while you’re away and can’t be repaired quickly, or if it’s stolen;
- getting your bike back home if you’re injured and can’t ride it, or if it’s been damaged and is not capable of being ridden.
If you’re biking outside Europe, check the exclusions, as bike policies may not have exactly the same cover for different jurisdictions. Because of the high cost of medical fees in the USA, for example, your liability cover might be reduced.
How to claim on your cycle insurance?
You’ll need to contact your insurer as soon as possible. If you’re at home, you should check your policy booklet first to make sure you’re covered – but if you’re on the road, particularly if you’re touring, make the call as soon as you can. Even if you’re not covered for everything, specialist insurers can often give you good advice.
Your insurer will then either send you a claims form, or ask you to fill in a claims form online. They’ll also ask you for supporting documents.
If you have been involved in an accident, or if your bike has been stolen or vandalised , make sure you contact the police, and obtain a Crime Reference Number (CRN) or incident number.
It’s also a good idea to take photos of the scene of the accident or theft. If your lock has been smashed in order to steal your bike, keep the parts in case the insurer wants to see the evidence. Your insurer might also want to see the keys for your lock, so don’t throw them away.
To process your claim you’ll need to be able to show your insurer proof of ownership – for instance, the receipt for your bike, or failing that, photographs, the serial number on the frame, or even the instruction booklets that came with the bike or components. Your insurer may then ask you to obtain estimates for repairing your bike.
You’ll have to pay an excess, which might be set at a given amount (for instance, £100) or at a percentage of the claim. Some insurers consider a bike’s value when setting the excess, so a cheaper bike would have a lower excess, and a bike that’s worth more would have a higher excess to pay.
If your claim is rejected but you think the insurer is wrong, you can make an official complaint by letter. If you don’t get a response or they don’t change their mind, you can then go to the Financial Ombudsman to ask for your case to be considered.
By the way, one insurer published its top three reasons for rejecting claims. They give you a pretty good guide to what not to do. In reverse order, the three reasons were:
- no proof of purchase or photos of the bike;
- accessories and components hadn’t been listed on the policy;
- and with an amazing 3/4 of all rejections – not using the right lock to secure the bike!
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Unless you’re drinking and biking, under the influence of drugs, or breaking the law, the answer is almost certainly yes!
But note that there may be restrictions on the use you make of your bike, depending on your policy – eg no business use, or no racing.
Yes, theft cover comes with all bike policies as standard.
You’ll need to ask about this one. Some policies will cover you for roadside recovery and yes, they’ll include puncture damage if you can’t fix it yourself.
Many policies include overseas cover for a limited period, either as standard, or as an added extra. You may have to pay more for worldwide cover than for European cover.
Many specialist policies include cover for your bike accessories and for cycling clothes and helmets, so both your GPS and your lycra are safe. However, accessories cover will normally only kick in if your bike has been damaged in the same incident.
You can cancel your insurance during the 14 day cooling off period. You’ll need to do this in writing, but it’s a good idea to ring or email beforehand, too. Your premium will then be refunded, though there may be an admin charge.
If you want to cancel later – perhaps because you’ve sold the bike, or found a better policy – your insurer might give you a refund for the remaining period of cover, but it doesn’t have to. And there’s likely to be an admin fee which could be from £15 to £30. The details will be in the policy documents.
If you’re riding your bike you could crash and damage yourself and your bike. But you might damage someone else’s property – for instance if you’re pushed into a parked car and scratch up the paintwork – or worse, you might hurt someone else.
Liability insurance covers you for any damage you do to someone else. And since that damage might cost a lot more than your bike, it makes sense to have liability insurance. Fortunately, most good bike insurance policies include it – but some don’t, so check it out before you sign up.