A Guide to Bicycle Insurance

One can ask any cyclist, and they will tell you what their bike means to them; it is as precious as family. They have it named, spend quite a lot of time riding it, and usually store it inside the house and away from the harsh outside environment.

Not only are they emotionally attached to it, but bikes are a heavy investment for them as well. With all the disc brakes, carbon components, and electronic groupsets, it is not uncommon to own a bike worth more than $10,000.

If you are one such biker and looking for a one-stop insurance guide, this article is for you. We will define bike insurance, the types of coverage included, and the best bike insurance companies in the U.S.

What is Bicycle Insurance?

As with car insurance, bike insurance tends to be a stand-alone insurance policy that covers the bike against damages but liability and theft. Even though purchasing insurance for your bicycle is not a legal requirement in most states, it is good to have it covered by insurance, especially if you own one of the pricier ones.

It is well worth considering investing in bicycle insurance if you wish to cover your bike against accidental damage and theft or if you race or travel a lot and want to be covered for all sorts of incidents. 

This guide will help you choose which insurance cover best suits your needs. 

Home Insurance Versus Bike Insurance

Home insurance policies greatly vary. They only partially cover the value of your bike from theft, an incident away from home, and sometimes injury caused to the owner due to an accident. Bear in mind that typically, home insurance does not provide enough coverage for people who take cycling seriously.

On the other hand, specialist bike insurance will offer you the same options but with complete coverage. All the top bike insurance companies (some of which we will discuss later on in the article) include the following coverage options:

  • Theft coverage
  • Crash damage
  • Vehicle contact
  • Replacement bike rental
  • Personal liability
  • Cycling apparel
  • Event fee return
  • Racing coverage
  • Healthcare facility payments
  • Bicycle airline shipping coverage

 Furthermore, if one makes a claim, it would not affect the premium on their homeowner policy. 

Bicycle Insurance with Homeowner Policy

Home insurance tends to be the most popular way to get insurance for bikes. In April 2016, a survey conducted by BikeRadar revealed that around 75% of people insure their bikes via their home insurance policy. 

Such a large majority of people tend to do so is obvious; when you include your bike under homeowner policy, everything ends up neatly tied up into a single package. It also gives you one less worry when renewing. 

So, if you are looking for a hassle-free policy to provide coverage for the basics, or if you want insurance for your bike that is not very costly, then insuring your bike via home insurance. It represents good value for your money. However, if you take cycling seriously, there are several disadvantages to insuring your bicycle on your homeowner policy compared to specialist cover.

Specialist Bicycle Insurance

One can purchase an insurance policy for pretty much every possible incident. Such bicycle insurance policies are often targeted toward more dedicated cyclists. However, for cyclists, the following are the main areas covered by specialist insurance that the home insurance policy does not cover:

  • Damage to the kit during racing events
  • Families and multi-bikes households
  • Additional bike accessories
  • Refund race fees if one is unable to complete
  • Cycling apparel
  • Roadside assistance
  • Medical payments for major to minor personal accidents
  • Public liability if one happens to injure someone else

Bike Theft Insurance

Having your bike stolen sucks big time. A survey conducted by BikeRadar revealed that many respondents were particularly interested in theft insurance, which isn’t without good reason. 

If your bike gets stolen, theft insurance will help you recoup the cost of a new bike. Some insurance policies also offer to replace your old bike with a new one in case of theft.

Since the market has become competitive, you have many different policies. All insurers on the market expect an individual to undertake their due diligence, leading insurers to payout up to 95% of the claims. Therefore, make sure that you go for the one which gives you the best value for your money. 

If you wish to insure your bike via your homeowner policy, check whether it is covered under your policy.

How Does Bike Theft Insurance Coverage Work?

Most home insurance policies include basic bicycle coverage under the standard personal belongings cover. However, they are likely to have a fixed maximum claim that may not be equivalent to the value of your precious bike. Specific policies have a set limit as low as $400. 

Some insurers allow customers to set the maximum value of their items. The best policies in the insurance market can go as high as $20,000. However, it is ideal to directly contact your insurance agent to determine the maximum value that you can set.

Unless explicitly stated, most homeowner policies would only cover a bike if stored inside your house or adequately secured in a shed or a garage. It has consequences for cyclists who frequently take their bikes outside on challenging tracks. Since this can add a lot to your premium, it is essential to look around and make sure whether a specialist bike insurance, along with all the added benefits that it offers, works out cheaper. 

However, some home insurance providers allow cyclists to extend coverage out of the home. Ensure that you pay attention to the details and that your insurance policy covers your bike outdoors and on the run. 

It is good to shop for specialist bike insurance if you own more than one bike. Some insurance providers offer excellent discounts on your additionally owned bikes, even as much as 60%.

Insuring a Bike with Tenants/Renters Insurance

If you live in a house that is not your own and doesn’t want to go for the specialist bike insurance route, you can consider covering your bike with tenants/renters insurance. 

The same rules for homeowner policies apply here as well. So, make sure that you look around and speak to your insurance agent to inquire about all the nitty-gritty details. Pay close attention if you reside in an accommodation shared by multiple people since this can significantly complicate matters. 

Cycling Event Insurance

It is worth investing in insurance for racing events too. If you are a dedicated cyclist who frequently participates in racing events, it is worth looking around to see which type of coverage would best suit your needs.

The entry fees that you pay to any well-organized event include third-party insurance. It tends to protect you and the event organizer in case of accidental damage caused to the property or injury to somebody from the audience. 

However, it does not cover damage to your bike, personal injury, or damage or injury caused to fellow bikers and their bikes. Almost all of the specialist bike insurance policies in the market will allow you to opt for dedicated event coverage. 

Depending on your insurance provider, most of them also provide cover for damage caused to your kit and bike during the event. They will also cover the bicycle against theft from any transitions. On the other hand, home insurance policies are extremely unlikely to offer such coverage.

Some specialist insurance providers often payout if an individual gets injured or falls sick before an event and cannot attend. Thus, covering any loss of entry fees. If you only plan on participating in a few bicycle events in a year and therefore do not wish to pay for an entire year’s coverage, you can also look into short-term coverage. Some insurance companies allow the customers to purchase coverage for a couple of weeks.

Accidental Damage Insurance

Even though theft is one of the biggest concerns for most cyclists, coverage for accidental damage makes up most claims for almost all the specialist bike insurance policies in the market. For instance, an insurance provider named Bikmo stated via its Open Project that a staggering 83% of its claims were for damage caused by accident.

Coverage for accidental damage generally covers everything from replacing individual bike accessories and components to replacing the whole bike, based on the level of coverage you choose for in your policy. 

Home insurance policies may be suitable for expensive items such as professional road or mountain bike helmets and GPS devices. 

However, specialist insurance is typically a better option for comprehensive coverage of your entire kit. It is to be kept in mind that accidental damage coverage is not as cut and dried as theft cover. Therefore look around and compare specialist policies, especially if you are a cyclist prone to accidents.

Cycling Travel Insurance

If you plan a trip out of the country and wish to take your bike along with you, you should thoroughly investigate whether going for a specialist bike insurance plan would be a better option or not. 

Non-specialist travel policies might provide cover if one rides a bike while on holiday but are unlikely to do so if the trip explicitly happens to be a cycling holiday. Furthermore, non-specialist travel policies do not cover racing events or mountain biking.

Most travel insurance policies don’t cover a rented bike damaged in transit. Specialist bike insurance is more likely to cover such incidents. They are also the only way to ensure that you are covered if you happen to be racing.

Personal Accident Insurance

If you encounter an accident while riding your bike, know that personal accident insurance covers private hospital bills. Individual insurance plans offer financial support if you get seriously injured while cycling. 

Some policies will pay out a lump sum if you become incapable of working due to your injuries and cover medical procedures such as dentistry work and physiotherapy.

Suppose you have a pre-existing medical condition. Ensure that you have declared this to your insurer since not doing so will nullify your cover. 

Though not a legal requirement, most insurance plans from specialist bike insurance agents or dedicated personal insurance providers will require you to wear safety gear for your insurance cover to remain valid.

Third-party Bike Insurance

Third-party insurance is the most fundamental type of two-wheeler insurance policy that covers any damages or losses a bike could cause to a third-party person, vehicle or property. It can happen in the case of an accident or collision. 

Third-party insurance covers an entirely different aspect of bike racing. If one has a severe collision and injures somebody else, third-party insurance covers for damage to others or their property but not for the person’s injuries. 

Unlike other coverages, third-party bike insurance also provides cover for legal costs.

The Best Bike Insurance Companies in the U.S

Velosurance

If you are looking for the best bicycle insurance company in the United States, Velosurance is your best bet. They have their policies underwritten by Markel American Inc. and cover your bicycle at total value. If your bike gets stolen or damaged, the company will replace it with something similar.

Core Velosurance offers policies that you can customize according to your needs. Coverage options start at $100 per year and provide cover against theft, accidental damage, and loss in transit. The cost of the most basic policy is around 8% of your bike’s total value.

There is also liability protection with per occurrence coverage limits of $25K, $50K, or $100K. Roadside assistance is covered as well. You are also eligible for a maximum of 35 miles of transportation per breakdown for every five occurrences a year. Medical coverage is included too.

Velosurance has also partnered with local bicycle shops all around the country. It allows you to get your bike repaired from the shop of your choice. Velosurance will cover the cost of repair and replacement if your bike gets damaged or stolen, even if you’re outside of the U.S.

Markel

Markel is an insurance giant and undoubtedly one of the most well-established insurance agencies in the United States. It makes it a rather impressive combination of size as well as reputation. The history of Markel goes back to the 1930s, and it is reported to be the largest of its kind.

Markel offers a wide variety of insurance plans for businesses, individuals, and different types of vehicles. Markel naturally knows how to familiarize itself with the industry since the company has been providing bike insurance for quite some time now. 

Velosurance is not dependent on Markel, but they come under the same underwriter. It even offers its e-bike insurance owing to the experience acquired through decades of servicing clients. Since Markel happens to be the underwriter of Velosurance, the bicycle insurance policy is quite similar to that of Velosurance.

Spoke

Velosurance and Markel offer insurance policies that can be heavy on your wallet. While SPOKE is not dirt cheap, it offers plans that cost less than the two companies mentioned above.

SPOKE was first launched around ten years ago and had an outstanding reputation in the market. It is a leading name in the bike insurance companies in the U.S. This company also offers comprehensive insurance packages for electric bikes. 

For the past few years, Markel has been sponsoring SPOKE. It has been distributed under the Markel umbrella by Marsh & McLennan Agency.

SPOKE bike insurance also deserve mentioning for its comprehensive insurance policies for urban commuters and e-bike riders. It provides protection otherwise usually reserved for high-risk or professional riders and offers the best coverage for a minimal fee of $100 per year.

Should I Get Bike Insurance Coverage?

If you are a cyclist and travel and race a lot and want to cover for every eventuality, bike insurance coverage is inevitable for you. It protects you on the road and ensures the protection of your bike against theft and damage.

So, it may not be a legal requirement, but it is a good idea to have bike insurance. 

The Bottom Line

This bike insurance guide outlined the best insurance companies in the United States and the coverage options with bike insurance. We also covered the things that fall under a policy and whether you should take a bike insurance policy or not. However, it is always wise to seek guidance from a professional insurance agent before deciding which coverage option suits you best. 

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