If you have home contents insurance, your bicycle might be covered but most policies have several limitations that might make it hard if your bike breaks or is stolen and needs to be replaced.
One of the biggest changes during the coronavirus lockdown has been the number of people taking up cycling. Using it as an opportunity to keep fit, make the most of outdoor exercise, or commute to work on two wheels instead of having to use public transport.
There has been a big increase in the use and purchase of men’s bikes and women’s bikes, as well as boys’ and girls’ bikes, trail bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes for commuting and hybrid bikes for leisure purposes.
As the popularity of cycling has boomed, many people have bought new bikes, dusted down their old ones, and taken to the roads and trails. However, this has also increased the risk of their bike being stolen, involved in an accident, or damaged. Plus, the value of bikes out and about has increased.
Bicycle shops report that it is now hard to buy a bike under £1,000, and also difficult to source spare parts. So there are many more expensive bikes sitting in homes and sheds than their used to be. Unfortunately, this has meant more opportunities for bike thieves.
Hundreds of thousands of bikes are stolen in the UK each year, and they are certainly not cheap to replace, so taking out insurance on your bicycle might be worth the cost. Certainly you can compare home insurance quotes to see whether cycle insurance is included as standard within the policy.
If you're planning to get insurance on your bicycle then you will need to look at a few factors first to see what the best options are available to you. This includes the value of your bike, how often you take it out of the house and how you use it, and where you lock it up late at night.
It may be that adding your bike to an existing home insurance policy is the best option. Or you may find that a specialist bike insurer will give you a better deal if you have a high-end expensive bike or you are using it for commuting and take it out regularly.
Keeping your bike safe should be a top priority – make sure you have in somewhere in your home where it cannot be seen from outside the house. If you're planning to keep it in a shed, ensure the lock is secure and consider fitting an alarm to the shed, particularly if your bike is valuable. When you take your bike outside make sure you have a robust lock.
You may already have home contents insurance. If so, it's likely that your bike, which is included in your ‘contents’, will be insured. However, there are likely to be several limits on this, so do not take it at face value.
Firstly, your contents are usually only insured when they are valued up to a certain limit, usually around £500, so this will cover general items around the home that have been damaged or stolen. You will usually need to inform your insurer if you want to cover any single items that are expensive, such as jewellery or a high-end bicycle.
Given that most bikes that you can buy now will be over £1,000 in value because many of the cheap models are out of stock, you should definitely check whether your new bike covered on your home insurance. Find out whether there is a single item limit, and whether you will be covered for theft of your bike if you take it outside the home.
Most standard contents policies will only cover items while they're in your home, so if you have your bike stolen from somewhere other than your home you may not have it covered with your home contents policy.
If you want your bike to be covered away from home, you will need to add personal possessions or away from home cover to your contents insurance policy. This is likely to increase your premium or you may have to pay an additional fee to obtain the extra cover.
Bear in mind that your home contents policy may not insure your bicycle if you use it at competitive races or mass participation biking events. The insurers are likely to see any event where you are cycling at high speed, or amongst several other cyclists as high risk. So they will exclude it from the scenarios where they will insure your bike. If you then have an accident, and damage your bike during a cycling event, you're unlikely to be covered with your home contents insurance policy.
The same goes for lending your bicycle to someone else — many home insurers will not insure your contents that are damaged or stolen while being borrowed by someone else.
If your bike is worth more than £500, then adding personal possessions and accidental damage cover could give you more protection. If you do decide to lend your bike to a friend, check where and how it's being stored and locked up during the day and at night. You're unlikely to be able to make a claim if the bike was stolen from someone else’s home.
Another option is specialist bicycle insurance. Naturally, it will probably cost a little more than simply adding on an extra item to your home contents insurance, but specialist insurers can often tailor the cover to meet your needs.
One advantage of specialist bike insurance is that it's not linked to your home insurance and will therefore not affect your home insurance policy if you have to make a claim for your bicycle.
If something happens to your bike and you do have to make a claim on your home contents insurance policy, you could have higher premiums the following year on your entire home insurance policy.
Read on to find out more about bicycle insurance and see what type of cover is right for you.
Specialist bicycle insurers will have more experience in insuring bikes and thus a better understanding of the risks involved and of cyclists in general than a regular home insurer would.
They may also give you advice on what type of bike lock you can use to protect your new bicycle from theft, and help you avoid having to make a claim on your bike insurance.
If you have a really expensive bike you could be better off taking out a specialist bicycle insurance policy as the cover will consider how you use your bike. This means you could get more comprehensive cover than if you added your bicycle on to your home contents policy.
Many home insurers might just see it as an expensive item with plenty of risk attached, and in some cases will not risk even insuring it if it's too expensive. It may be that there is an upper limit for single items within your home insurance policy. Some specialist insurers can insure bikes worth anywhere up to £20,000, so if your bike was a big purchase you should be able to get covered with bicycle insurance.
In contrast with many of the limitations on home contents insurance policies, you should be able to include third party cover and protection when racing and taking part in events, as well as when locking it up outside the home.
Insurers always weigh up the risk of insuring your items, and with bicycle insurance it's no different. However, because many bikes are high value items that are fairly easy to steal, the risk is already quite high for the insurer.
If you have a top-end racing bike or mountain bike, or you have ordered a top of the range bike from a cycle shop and are waiting for it to be delivered, it's a good idea to check out the bike insurance options and compare insurance quotes for bikes.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but investing in a good lock and keeping your bike locked up in a secure location is likely to signal to insurers that there is less of a risk involved. Showing insurers that you take your bike’s security very seriously means you are more likely to get a replacement when you make a claim. Cycles can be easy to steal if you don't use a quality lock recommended by your local bike shop.
Weigh up whether it will be cheaper to add your bike to your home contents insurance or taking a separate bike insurance policy — either one can be cheaper depending on your circumstances, and what kind of cover you need.
Finally, always compare the wider insurance market for the best deals on bicycle insurance and home insurance. You may need to get specialist cover for folding bikes, e-bikes, electric cycles, specialist mountain bikes or tandem bikes.
The best bike insurance is the one that fits your lifestyle and cycling routine. It may be that you need to find a cycle insurance policy for multi-bike insurance, especially if you own more than one type of bike or you are a cycling family with a couple of mountain bikes, tourers or road bikes that need insurance cover.
If you only use your bike occasionally, and it is not worth more than £500, then it may be better to add it to a home contents insurance policy.