Bike insurance may not be a legal requirement, but, whether you own one bike or have a shed full, you’ll want to make sure you’re protected from theft and damage.
Am I covered?
If you have home insurance you may well be covered, depending on your insurer, but there will usually be a list of conditions, so you’ll need to check your policy documents.
Some insurers offer bicycle cover as standard with your contents insurance, while others will allow you to add it as an optional extra, either in the personal possessions section or in another specific section of cover.
Depending on the value of your bike(s), they may need to be padlocked to an immovable object, in a locked shed or outbuilding and there may be a single item limit, so only bikes up to a set value will be fully covered. If any of your bikes are worth more than this amount, you will need to inform your insurer. Otherwise, if a bike worth £1,000 was stolen, and the single item limit was £250, you’d only receive £250 from your insurer to pay for a replacement.
In order for theft cover to operate when you’re away from home, your insurance will definitely require that your bikes are locked to an immovable object.
Usually all bikes at the same address are covered by the same policy, whether they belong to the policy holder or another member of their family. It’s worth checking if they’re covered when you’re out and about, especially if you park your bike at work or elsewhere.
If you’re planning on taking your bikes with you on a holiday abroad, you may or may not be covered, so again, it’s worth checking your policy documents or even contacting your insurer to confirm this.
Am I at risk?
If your insurance policy has recently lapsed, is due for renewal soon or you haven’t been insured before, act fast. Don’t put it off and leave yourself unprotected as you can never predict if and when a thief will strike.
Bikes are seen as easy pickings by thieves as they’re often stored outside the main home, are easy to transport and are very desirable, so can be sold quickly. According to police statistics, 1 in 50 households with bikes have been victims of bicycle theft in a 12 month period.
The official figures also state that there were 297,000 incidents of bicycle theft in 2016 but this doesn’t include burglaries where other items were stolen and some victims will have chosen not to inform the police of their loss, so the true figure will probably be higher than this.
What about separate bicycle insurance?
You may decide to buy bicycle insurance separately if your bikes are worth thousands of pounds, or if you wouldn’t want to claim for them on your home insurance to avoid losing your no claims discount.
If you’re a professional cyclist or a member of a cycling club, you may be looking for training and racing cover, as well as commuting and leisure. If this is the case, you may want to turn to a cycling specialist insurer.
A standalone bicycle insurance policy will often cover accidental damage to your bikes and a replacement bike while yours is being repaired, which isn’t usually included with a home insurance policy – and neither is racing, training, commuting and leisure.
How can I reduce the chances of my bike being stolen?
You should definitely add your bikes and details to the national BikeRegister database. It’s free to do so and you’ll be able to use one of their security marking kits which can help, if your bikes are stolen and later recovered by the police. Applying warning labels to alert would-be thieves that your bikes are security marked can also act as a deterrent.
Most bike thefts occur during the day when no one is at home, so make sure your garden is as secure as possible. All gates and sheds should be padlocked shut, make sure any broken fence panels are replaced and don’t have your wheelie bins near your gates as a would-be thief might use them for a boost when climbing over. If bikes are padlocked to an immovable object inside the shed, they won’t be easy to remove.
It can be tempting to leave your bike propped up against the wall of your home or an alleyway, if you’re only nipping inside for a few minutes, but this could be spotted by an opportunist thief. Your bike should always be secured with a lock and the more sophisticated the better, as this will slow the thief down and might make them walk on by instead.