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Bicycle insurance

Get cheap cover for your bike

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By Maeve O'Donnell | Edited by Sam D

Updated Monthly

cycleprotect

If you cycle, you don't always need bike insurance – but lack of cover could put a nasty spoke in your wheel if the worst happened. With more than 100,000 bicycles stolen every year, we help you decide if you should get insured or ride without a financial helmet.

Whether you're a weekend enthusiast or you pedal to work, ride to keep fit or take part in races, we've the answers, including top pick bicycle insurance policies and how to bolster your home insurance to add a bike to it.

This is the first incarnation of this guide. Please tell us your experiences in the bike insurance discussion.

Bicycle insurance explained: The four need-to-knows

You can get bicycle insurance via your home insurance or via specialist cover. These 'need-to-knows' should help you decide which to do.

needtoknows

Your bike may be insured already under a home contents policy

You may be blissfully unaware your bike is covered anyway, as many insurers cover bicycles as standard under a contents policy (see our Home Insurance guide to get cheap cover).

The first thing to do is check whether your home insurance covers your bike already, and exactly how strong that cover is. Even if your bike's eligible to be insured for no extra cost, you may still need to declare it, so it's important to contact your insurer.

There are two key points to know about bike cover under a home contents insurance policy...

Is your bike covered in your home only or anywhere?

Check whether your home insurance already covers you for the following:

Basic home contents insurance ONLY covers possessions (eg, bikes, laptops, jewellery) if stolen or damaged at home. Pricier 'all risks' cover protects possessions away from home.

Here's a table showing what you're covered for under the two types of home contents insurance.

Problem Home-only cover Home and away cover
Theft In home only Anywhere
Bike damage while stationary, eg, from fire, flood In home only Anywhere
Damage to bike while riding, regardless who is at fault (i) No cover Anywhere
Injury to yourself while riding, regardless who is at fault (i) No cover No cover
Liability if you injure someone/damage property while riding your bike Anywhere Anywhere
Accident, damage or theft during a competitive race No cover No cover
Theft cover only if you take "reasonable" care of your bike. (i) You won't be covered if you break the law while riding, such as skipping a red light or drunk cycling.

If you want to extend cover to outside your home, some insurers let you buy an add-on just for your bike (at £10-£100 for a £1,000 bike). Others only sell add-ons that cover all valuables up to a limit, though costs vary depending on the value of your contents.

See our Home Insurance guide for much more on what it covers.

Home insurers may not cover expensive bikes

Insurers have limits on the value of an individual item they'll cover regardless of whether the cover is for in your home only or anywhere – and sometimes bike limits are different from other items' limits.

Some bike limits go up to £1,500 (and occasionally beyond) but we've seen one as low as £350. So in the latter case, if you bought a £400 bike you're not covered unless you pay an additional premium.

The average price for a bicycle is £230, according to market researchers Mintel, so most people's bikes should be covered. Our Deals team regularly dig out discounts on bicycles; though not always available, it's worth checking to see if any are up for grabs.

Quick questions

Do you always have to tell your insurer you have a bike?

How do I work out the value of my bike?

What's covered on insurance outside your home?

What counts as in the home or outside it?

Are accessories such as lights and helmets covered?

If I make a successful claim, will I get a new bike, a repaired bike or cash?

Is my bike insured if someone else rides it?

Home contents insurance has its limits

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There are two key problems you may face if relying solely on home insurance. It may still be adequate for many but arm yourself with the info below before making a decision.

The excess could mean you get nothing from a claim – a problem with cheap bikes

Where your bike is covered as one of many valuables on a policy, home contents excesses (the amount of any claim you must pay) vary wildly, with £250ish being typical, but sometimes going up to £500. If just your bike's stolen, and it's worth less than the excess, you'll get nothing from a claim.

Remember that as the typical cost of a bike is £230, it may not be covered. If damaged or stolen as part of a bigger theft, fire or flood, the excess often won't change so you should get cash back from a disaster such as these.

If you've bought a specific add-on just for your bike, the excess for it is often lower than a specialist insurer's excess. When this guide was first published in 2016, Axa, Co-op and More Than charged £25-£50 for add-ons just on bicycles.

Claiming could push up your future home contents costs

It could mean higher prices for up to five years following the claim. This is because home insurers will ask you if you've made a claim during the past few years, and if you have they'll consider you a higher risk, which could push up prices. You'd also lose any no claims discount too.

When you get to renewal on your home insurance, use our home insurance cost-cutting system to slash the price you pay whether you've claimed on it or not.

Specialist bicycle cover is best for pricier two-wheelers and for those who race

Specialist policies are largely targeted at serious cycling enthusiasts who race competitively and often spend four-figure sums on their bikes. Costs differ based on your bike's value and the type of cover, but our top picks for a £3,000 two-wheeler are between £200 and £300 a year.

As well as covering expensive two-wheelers, specialist insurance covers lost race fees and cycle clothing, which can be expensive.

Though there's no clear monetary value above which a specialist policy wins – it depends on your attitude to risk – these tips should help you make up your mind.

It's suited for expensive bikes as (i) home insurance may not provide enough cover; and (ii) if cheap, after deducing the insurance cost and excess, you get little from a claim.

What specialist bicycle insurance usually covers

You normally get the following as standard on all policies:

  • Theft or damage while stationary comes as standard. Pretty much all policies cover you anywhere in the UK; some extend to Europe, others worldwide.
  • Bike damage due to an accident while riding on the road is usually standard.
  • Accessories that are part of the bike itself (eg, where you don't detach the light).

The following cover tends to come as standard or an additional fee with mid-range/premium policies:

  • Damage while in an official race.
  • Lost race fees if you can't compete.
  • Personal accident if you're seriously injured or killed while riding.
  • Public liability if you cause an accident or hurt somebody, and face legal action.
  • Accessories that are not part of the bike (eg, lights that clip on and off).
  • Bike clothing.
  • Roadside assistance.

Most policies will only cover the bike if in the possession of the person named on the policy at the point of the incident.

Wear 'n' tear and the excess can limit how much you can claim

If you claim and are given a new bike or repair, you have to pay towards the cost in two ways. Firstly, the insurer will deduct an excess (often £50-£100) and secondly, it will deduct an amount for 'depreciation' that takes into account wear 'n' tear while you've had your bike.

Depreciation takes effect after two or three years, and can deduct as much as 20% for a three- to five-year-old bike, 30% up to seven years old, 40% up to 10 years and 50% above. So you may only get £1,600 back (before deducting the excess) on a five-year-old bike worth £2,000.

Quick Questions

Where do I get a new bike or repair from?

My bike's vital for me to get around – can I get a replacement while mine gets repaired?

I've a custom-made bike worth thousands (I'm very committed) – can I still get cover?

Keep your bike safe or you could be refused an insurance payout

cyclelock

Forget insurance for a minute: you should do all you can to keep your bicycle safe as it is. If you fail to, your policy may not pay out if something happened so that's a double reason to play it safe.

Here are some key tips to keep your bike out of reach of thieves, while also ensuring you don't invalidate any claim if a criminal gets past your defences.

Leave your bike in a communal area? It usually MUST be locked to a secure structure

You may need to keep it locked up even if it's in your own shed or garage

Got specialist bicycle insurance? You probably need an approved lock, and keep its receipt safe

You're only covered for theft or damage to a bike left in the open or at work for a max 12 or 24 hours

Register your bike to help find it if it's stolen

Will incidents on my bike affect my car insurance if it was my fault?

The big question: Should you pay for extra bicycle insurance?

manholdingbike

Most people probably have some sort of cover via their home contents insurance policy. So you need to decide whether that's enough or whether to extend that cover (which may be from scratch if you've nothing) by bolstering your home insurance, or whether to buy a specialist bicycle insurance policy.

If you choose to pay extra, we've best buy tips in the section below.

The choice depends on your attitude to risk. If you rarely lose or damage things, and you'd get little after making a claim and paying the excess, you've less need. If you spend £1,000s, consider specialist cover as home insurance probably won't protect it.

Let's give you two scenarios to think about:

  • Your bike is worth the average £230 and you pay £40 a year to insure it via a specialist policy. If the excess is £100, you'd only get £130 as a monetary value back in a claim in year one, but as you've spent £40 you're only getting a net £90 back. If you didn't insure it for three years and didn't make a claim, you're better off anyway.

  • You've a £3,000 bike, and spend £220 a year on insurance. If the excess is £100 you'd get £2,900 as a monetary value back in a claim in year one, but as you've spent £220 you're getting a net £2,680 back.

Yet to buy a bike and don't want extra cover? At least buy it on a credit card with purchase protection

Many credit cards offer a purchase protection system, meaning if you buy goods on the card and they're lost or stolen within a set time – usually about 90 days – you can get the money back from the credit card company.

So use the card in your wallet that gives the best level of protection (or get a new one; see our Top 0% Credit Cards guide), though if you fail to pay the balance off in full at the end of the month you'll pay interest.

Just by paying on credit card you'll get protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This is far from a substitute for insurance but means if the bike's damaged when you get it, or you order and pay for it and it never arrives, and the retailer won't help, the card firm has to give you your money back.

Martin's bike theft purchase protection tale:

A few years ago, I had my month-old bike stolen. So having been to buy a new one to get to work, I cycled to the police station to get a crime number so I could claim on my purchase protection. This second bike, which was chained to the cop shop railings and D-locked round the wheels, was stolen too. So I walked straight back inside, reported that too – and thankfully it paid out twice.

How to bolster your home insurance

Almost all insurance policies cover cheap and mid-range bikes in your home anyway (though check before assuming you're covered), so the question for most is whether to pay extra to cover your bike outside your home.

If that's your choice, here are the two steps to take.

  • Step 1. Find out how much it costs to cover your bike outside your home on your home contents policy. Depending on your insurer, the add-on can just cover your bike or all valuables outside your home (incl a bike, laptop, jewellery, handbag and more).

    The cost of adding cover for all valuables can vary massively depending on what you want to cover, from £10 to £100s. Prices similarly differ if just adding a bike, though it's usually much cheaper, from £10 to £100 for a £1,000 bike.

  • Step 2. Get a quote for a new insurance policy altogether. You may need to do this if your bike is too expensive for your current insurer, if your insurer may become expensive once you've made an alteration, or if it may have been expensive to start with. See our full home insurance cost-cutting system to find out how to get a better deal.

Once you know the cost of a cheap new policy or extending your current one, choose the best of the two.

Top pick specialist bicycle insurance policies

specialist

Often at MSE we suggest you use comparison sites to find the best insurance. Yet no comparison site we've found actually does bicycle cover, so we've done the work ourselves to find you a top deal.

Here are our top picks for bikes worth £1,500, £3,000 and £4,000 for owners based in London and Manchester. The prices should apply to much of the UK, though there may be some regional variation so it's worth checking.

We've picked policies with low-ish excesses and we've tried to balance getting the cheapest deal with policies that actually provide decent cover (eg, many below provide cover while racing, which is popular among enthusiasts).

You may be able to get a cheaper deal (see below) but may have to pay a significantly higher excess. As this is a new guide please give us feedback on these providers.

Top picks for bicycles valued at £1,500

Policy Price/yr Excess Lock Required Personal Accident? Public Liability Cover When Racing? Race Fee Cancellation
Bicy* £99 Up to £150 Silver Yes £1m No No
Velosure* £110 Up to £75 Bronze Yes £2m Yes No
Bikmo+* £134 £100 Silver Yes £2m Yes Up to £500

Correct as of November 2016.

Top picks for bicycles valued at £3,000

Policy Price/yr Excess Lock Required Personal Accident? Public Liability Cover When Racing? Race Fee Cancellation
Yellow Jersey* £222 £100 Gold Yes £2m Yes Up to £500
Velosure* £233 Up to £150 Gold Yes £2m Yes No
Bikmo+* £256 £100 Gold Yes £2m Yes Up to £500

Correct as of November 2016.

Top picks for bicycles valued at £4,000

Policy Price/yr Excess Lock Required Personal Accident? Public Liability Cover When Racing? Race Fee Cancellation
Velosure* £272 £200 Gold Yes £2m Yes No
Yellow Jersey* £280 £100 Gold Yes £2m Yes Up to £500
Bikmo+* £331 £100 Gold Yes £2m Yes Up to £500

Correct as of November 2016.

Can't find a decent policy at a good price? Other options to try

We checked dozens of policies to whittle down the list above and the providers should work for most, but not for everyone.

Where they may not be best is if you don't fit what insurers consider to be 'standard'. This can include:

  • If you've made a previous bike insurance claim.
  • If you live in an area where prices are higher than those listed above.
  • If you want cover for a long trip overseas.
  • If you have a disability which means you won't get the same level of cover as above.
  • If you want a cheaper, more basic policy.

Policies that didn't make the cut aren't necessarily bad value but may have had a high excess or don't cover races. They may still be best for some, so we've listed those to try below. But carefully check the terms such as excess, lock requirements, limits if stored in a communal area and anything else important to you before buying.

Cycleguard | Protect Your Bubble | Eversure* | Pedalsure* | Wiggle

If that doesn't help, you could try a broker, via the British Insurance Brokers' Association broker search; though be aware not all will be specialists in bicycle insurance.

How to claim on your bike insurance

Claiming on your bike insurance shouldn't be daunting and – if you understand the terms and excesses on your policy – you shouldn't be in for any nasty shocks. Follow these three simple steps in the event you need to claim.

  • If it's a theft, notify the police quickly

    If your bike's stolen, you'll need to get a crime reference number to make a successful claim on a home or specialist policy. Report the incident to the police as soon as you can – you often have to do it within 24 hours – to make sure your claim doesn't hit the skids.

  • Submit your claim as soon as possible

    Contact your insurer as soon as you can to avoid any administrative hold-ups; if it's a complex claim, it may take a while to be processed, so the sooner you start the better.

  • Keep your receipts

    If you're claiming for accessories as well as for a bike, you'll need the receipts as proof of loss. For those who buy all their accessories at the same time they buy the bike, this won't be a problem. But if you buy them over a short period from various retailers, make sure you hold on to the receipts.

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer-service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but, if not, then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.