This is a good question and is very dependent upon the quality of your home insurance. If your bicycle is already insured adequately then you don’t need to insure it again! But, check that it is insured adequately, ask them questions and read their policy wording and the policy wording of any prospective bicycle insurer that you are considering.
Some people don’t like the risk of increasing home insurance premiums due to a claim for a bicycle. As bicycle insurance has become more specialist and more tailored towards the modern cyclist it is unlikely that the majority of home insurance policies will stack up as well as the high-end pedal bicycle insurance policies. If you have a basic and cheap bicycle then your home contents insurance may be sufficient (if you not worried about home contents claims), but when you have a more expensive bike that you ride frequently, compete on or ride at club meetings then compare your home insurance cover with the specialist cover available on the market and determine what meets your needs.
Our aim is to ensure that our visitors understand the benefits available from insurance for cyclists. We cannot determine which insurance you should purchase, but hope that the information that we present will help provide a balanced view and highlight areas that you need to consider.
We have deliberately avoided the 'from price' on our bicycle insurance comparison. The reason for this is simple, as with any insurance, the cost is relative to the value of the bicycle. Many insurance intermediaries will carry-out a little 'window dressing' with their insurance and have a from price of, say, 'from £16'. It may be from £16, but only if you have a £100 bicycle!
Use our comparison table to evaluate which bicycle insurance policies meet your requirements, click-through to the relevant websites and get quotes. We open-up a new tab each time that you click 'Get Quote' and once you have a quote from one insurer you can move on to the next (leaving the earlier tab open). You may then compare prices that are specific to you. My garage sells uneleaded petrol from 100.9, but only if I want a litre!
No insurance is without a policy wording. The policy wording, together with the Terms of Business, is the agreement between you and the insurance company and it is a legal contract. There are terms, conditions and exclusions that both you and the insurer must adhere to. As with any contract, if either one of you do not meet the terms, conditions and exclusions then this may cause an issue and in the worst case scenario this could invalidate a claim. But, the contract also ensures that the insurers meet their end of the bargain…..if you meet the terms and conditions and something happens to your bicycle then they have to cough up.
We have all heard someone describe insurance as having ‘get out clauses’ and in some cases you could argue that this is correct as insurers have been taken to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the FOS have agreed with the customer. But this is not always the case and the reason for this is that the policy wording was clear what the Policyholder had to do to ensure that the Bicycle remained insured. Therefore, as with any insurance or any contract, read this before proceeding. You are agreeing to abide by the Terms and Conditions of the insurance.
Policy wordings are not sexy, they are not an interesting read and neither are they always easy to follow. But, they are very important and must be read.
General Conditions Applicable to all Sections of the Bicycle Insurance
We would expect most policy wordings to include a ‘General Conditions Applicable to all Sections of the Insurance’. This title of this section is pretty self-explanatory and might include such things as the following:
- Renewal - How the policy renews when it comes to the end of the selected term, e.g. 28 days, 1 month or a year.
- Reinstatement of Cover - This is what happens following a claim. Should your bicycle be stolen, this will confirm whether the policy allows you to reinstate cover with your replacement bicycle.
- Cancellation - This describes how you or the insurance intermediary (or insurer) may end the contract of insurance.
- Fraud - Most insurers, following consultation with the Government, have agreed to try and combat fraud. Fraud is a growing problem within the industry and causes higher premiums for everyone. Expect to see a paragraph or two about what action the insurer would take in the event of fraud.
- Duty of care - a duty of care basically requires you to act responsibly as if your bicycle was not insured. Just because the bicycle is insured it does not mean that you can take unnecessary risks with the bicycle. Look after it as if you would have to pay the full replacement costs yourself. This usually includes bicycle maintenance!
- Subrogation - This is the substitution of one person into the place of another with respect to rights or claims. This allows the insurer, having settled a claim to the insured to step into the shoes of the insured and enforce a claim against a third-party if they were responsible for causing the loss. In other words, if the insurer pays out on a claim and they can reclaim this from someone else due to a 3rd party’s actions then there is every chance that they will.
- Under insurance - If you only insure something for 9/10ths of its value, you can only expect 9/10ths of the claim to be met (less any excess)!
’Definitions’ can be found in all Insurance policy wordings and other legal contracts such as Trust Deeds. If you look up most words in a thesaurus you will find that they have many meanings. Therefore, it is important to be clear in any legal contract what you are talking about. This is where Definitions comes in to play with your bicycle insurance wording.
For example, everyone knows that you should lock your Bicycle to a bicycle rack (Immovable Object) using a lock (Approved Lock) only as long as necessary (Abandoned).
What you may not appreciate that all 4 words here in Bold are bold for a reason, they are Definitions. They are words commonly used in a Bicycle Insurance policy wording. So, to save describing what the insurer means by a lock every time the word is used, they define this once in the policy wording and every time they use this word thereafter they mean this definition. If we were to write this out in full this is what the insurer might mean (check individual policy wordings):
For example, everyone knows that you should lock your bicycle, adult tricycle or a tandem, including component parts, upgrades and accessories permanently fixed to the cycle, specified in your policy schedule. This includes electric cycles that have powered assistance to a maximum of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) using a motor of no more than 250 Watts rated output to (i) any solid object fixed in or on to concrete, stone, brick or similar material, which is not capable of being undone, removed with, or lifted under/over the cycle, (ii) the roof rack of a motor vehicle attached securely in-line with the manufacturers recommendations and intended for the carriage of one or more cycle(s) or a designated cycle rack located at a train station, bus station, coach station or your permanent place of employment designed and constructed expressly for the purpose of securing cycle(s) and is operated by you in accordance with the instructions and/or guidance provided using a a nominated lock from the appropriate Sold Secure category (as specified on your policy schedule); (i) for cycles up to £250 in insured value, an approved lock is one which is tested to a bronze standard by Sold Secure, (ii) for cycles greater than £250 but less than £1,500 in insured value, an approved lock is one which is tested to a silver standard by Sold Secure or (iii) for cycles greater than £1,500 in insured value, an approved lock is one which is tested to a gold standard by Sold Secure only as long as it has not been left at a location other than the insured location for more than 12 hours or 24 hours in respect of train stations.
Clearly the above example is impractical, so Definitions allow the insurers to produce short intelligible paragraphs that require you to cross-reference the meanings (or definitions) of words. If they did not do this the wordings would be several times longer and no one would be able to understand what was intended.
Some bicycle insurance policies will cover most eventualities, whereas some will need you to pay for additional add-on benefits and these are often described as ‘Optional benefits’. Whether the benefits are inclusive or optional this should be clear within the purchase journey, but should also be clear within the wording. You can expect standard benefits, such as Theft or Accidental Damage cover. Optional benefits might be something such as Bicycle Accessories cover. The Definitions section defined specific words and these benefit sections operate in a similar way as they describe exactly what the benefit is and whether there any limitations or exclusions – they describe the cover provided by that benefit. Benefits from bicycle insurance policies are varied nowadays and can include both the expected and unexpected (some benefits may require any additional premium dependent upon which policy you buy):
- Theft of your Bicycle
- Accidental Damage to your Bicycle
- Malicious Damage to your Bicycle
- Replacement Bicycle Cover (cover to hire a bicycle whilst your claim is being dealt with)
- Personal Accident (usually limited to death, loss of limb and paralysis whilst riding your bicycle)
- Public Liability (if you cause accident or injury to a 3rd party of their property whilst riding your bicycle)
- Cycle Breakdown (reclaim taxi hire if irreparable damage is caused to your cycle more than one mile from home)
- Cycle Accessories (non-fixed)
- Event Cover (theft from transition area, damage caused during an organised bicycle event and Race fees)
- Dental and Physio Cover (if caused whilst riding your bicycle)
- Accidental Death (whilst riding your bicycle)
- European or Worldwide bicycle insurance
- Family & Friends (your bikes are covered for anyone you give permission to use them, friend or family, for a ride or competition.
- Excess free
- No claims discount
- Legal Advice (if you encounter a legal problem whilst riding your bicycle)
- Multi bike insurance
- Bicycle Commuter Insurance
- Bike box cover
Most of us purchased our bicycle because of the freedom that they provide, they go most places and are part of a healthy lifestyle. You want your bicycle insured wherever it goes and the insurers are aware of this. We have reviewed a lot of policy wordings and some cover this better than others. Under this section they will stipulate what security is expected if your bicycle is left in a public place, where it is stored and when it is in or on a vehicle.
Very few of us like paying for insurance and when we do we want the best bicycle insurance at the best price. So, let’s put this in to perspective. You pay, say, a 15th of your bicycle’s value to get it insured every year. The insurance intermediary has wages, utilities, rent, rates, advertising and the underwriter to pay and a profit to make. Clearly if every bike that they insured was stolen they would soon go out of business. So, to meet all of their costs, make a profit and give you their best premium they need to keep theft to a minimum. Should they be asked to pay a claim if someone is irresponsible and cannot follow sound security advice?
Making an insurance claim is not fun – riding your bicycle is fun! You work hard, you save hard and you buy a decent bike….you play hard. You look after it, maintain it, show your bicycle to your friends and take pride in it. We’ve heard of many husbands and wives being given ultimatums about their bicycle, perhaps that is loving it a little too much! But, you do not want your treasured bicycle being broken down into components by a thief who really does not give two hoots about it. So, whether or not you decide to insure your bicycle, we still strongly recommend that you follow the advice given by insurance companies to look after your bike, they have years of statistics and they do know when it is most likely to be stolen. If you do take out insurance, treat your bike as if it were not insured, don’t go through a claim and risk having higher premiums in future years.
Bike theft is on the increase, thieves are becoming more sophisticated and only recently they have sawn through bike racks, taped over the damage and with ease removed the bicycle in broad daylight as the cyclist didn’t spot that the bike rack had been tampered with. So, if they will go to these lengths with bona fide bicycle racks, leaving the bicycle in an unlocked shed is not clever.
Why not read our Bicycle Insurance Tips article which includes tips on both security and the biggest risk to British cyclists?
Claims happen! In fact, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) scrutinise insurance to check that they do to ensure that the customer is getting a good deal. If there are no claims there might be a problem.
The claims section will tell you what to do if a claim arises. Earlier we discussed insurance intermediaries having the same underwriters, there will be differences not only in the cover but also in the claims process. Some intermediaries handle their own claims, some appoint claims handlers, some insurers appoint claims handlers or handle claims themselves. Furthermore, some policies will only provide vouchers with designated retailers in the event of a claim, some will pay cash and others will supply the bicycle. If this is important to you, check with the intermediary first.
Insurers or Insurance intermediaries are required to give details of how to complain, there is a strict process and they must adhere to this according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulations. Not following the complaints regulations can land the insurer in hot water and may also sway the Financial Ombudsman Service if the complaint is referred to them. Give the insurer the opportunity to deal with your complaint and if this cannot be dealt with to your satisfaction only then refer this to the Ombudsman. You may also have the opportunity to go to the insurer if the insurance intermediary has only dealt with your complaint so far. The Ombudsman takes an impartial view and will review all of your circumstances and the details of your complaint.
It is not immediately obvious who the insurer is, many insurance policies in the UK are sold by insurance intermediaries. An intermediary is neither an insurer nor Insurance Company. This is of no concern, it is common practice and it allows small specialist insurance intermediaries to sell insurance. It is not that different to Tesco selling someone else’s baked beans under their own brand.
When looking at the policy wording you will find a section which confirms the name of the underwriter or ‘insurer’ as many of us will refer to this as. To many people’s surprise, you will find that a large percentage of the UK’s bicycle insurance policies are underwritten by exactly the same insurer! The small specialist insurance intermediaries have approached the much bigger underwriter and asked for them to underwrite their insurance.
When you pay your premium the insurance intermediary will charge their gross premium, inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax (9.5% as at 1 November 2015), the insurance intermediary will take their margin and pay the net premium to the underwriter. So, should anything happen to the smaller insurance intermediary your insurance policy remains with the underwriter.
Caution: If you have made a complaint against an insurer in the past, if you switch to another company you could end up with the same insurer. So, if this is of concern, read the policy wording to find out who the underwriters are. Despite this, some insurance intermediaries deal with their own claims or they have different claims handling companies dealing with their claims, so the same outcome may not arise with their policy even when the underwriter is the same. You may need to go into greater discussion over the phone or by email if you have any concerns prior to purchase.
In the past you had to disclose all material facts to the insurer so that they consider your application. In addition to the proposal, this was often addressed by an ‘any other information’ box at the end of the application. The problem was that not everyone understood what a material fact was. In essence, a material fact meant that had the insurer known a certain piece of information the insurer may not have agreed to insure you or, if they did, they may not have offered the same terms.
Following the change in the law, if it affects the insurer’s decision to insure you or not then they must specifically ask the question. But the change in law also meant changes for the consumer and, if the insurer asks a specific question, you must supply accurate and complete answers to all the questions asked as part of your application. Furthermore, if something changes mid-term you must notify the insurer of any changes to the answers that you have previously given. This might include a change of address, your solvency, change of bicycle and any other information which you provided at the time of application.
Wherever possible, with the consent of the insurance intermediaries, we display the Google Star ratings. We talk about this in a little more depth on the next page. It is important to realise that these are the result of customer reviews or feedback. It is not an endorsement by us. The better the customers rate their provider the better the Star Rating. When you visit the bicycle insurance websites you should also be able to find the reviews and read what genuine customers have had to say.
To find our what our providers have to offer Compare Bicycle Insurance.
This article and the other content on Quoote.com is intended as a guide to help you compare bicycle insurance, it is not exhaustive, neither do we recommend any of the bicycle insurance products on our website. Neither do we feature all of the bicycle insurance products on the market. We hope to help you towards finding the best bicycle insurance that suits you.