Bicycle insurance

Whether your bike’s stolen while you’re out and about, you have an accident when your bicycle is on the roof rack or you collide with another bike, it definitely pays to have bicycle insurance.

Whether your bike’s stolen while you’re out and about, you have an accident when your bicycle is on the roof rack or you collide with another bike, it definitely pays to have bicycle insurance.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
14
minute read
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Posted 19 FEBRUARY 2020 Last Updated 29 MARCH 2021

Do I need bicycle insurance?

Bicycle crime is serious business in the UK – more than 376,000 bikes are stolen every year. According to BikeRegister, in the first half of 2020 there was a 48% increase in bike thefts reported to them compared with the same period the previous year. If you rely on your bike for transport, it could be a real blow if someone nicks it or it’s damaged beyond repair. There are your cycling accessories to consider too. Without the proper cover, expensive repairs and replacements will have to come out of your own pocket.  

As well as paying to replace your bike, bike insurance could save you money by getting you back on the road more quickly – especially if you rely on your bike for transport to work or university.

Imagine if you suddenly had to pay £1.50 bus fare each way. That’s more than £60 per month. So pedal bike insurance could be well worth the expense.

What should I look for when insuring my bike?

Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Whether your bike is covered. This is simple if you plan to insure your bicycle within your existing home insurance policy. You’ll need to find out if your policy includes pedal bike insurance as standard. You’ll also need to ensure that you’ve declared your bike, if you need to, and that you’ve fulfilled any other conditions your insurance provider requires.
  2. Where and when it’s covered. Check your policy carefully to make sure your bike is covered when you’re out and about, including if you lock it up and leave it away from home. You might want to specifically check if you can leave it overnight. And if you’re into cycle touring, check whether the cover extends to other countries. You’re also not likely to get cover for a bike that’s damaged while competing in a race. If you’re a competitive cyclist, you can get specialist bicycle insurance to cover you for this.
  3. What it’s covered against. For example, theft, vandalism and accidental damage.
  4. How much it's covered for. If you have an expensive bike, check to see if your policy has a limit on the payout it will provide. You may need specialist bicycle cover for a very expensive bike.
  5. What security is expected of you. You’re likely to need a robust, approved lock and there will probably be rules about how you secure your bike – for example, always locking it to an immovable object.
  6. What you’ll receive if you make a claim. Check whether you’re offered a new-for-old payout and if there are rules around the age of the bike – some insurance providers pay out less the older the bike gets. You need to understand if you’ll get enough to replace your damaged or stolen bike with an equivalent new model. Also, some insurance providers will replace the bike with a like-for-like model, while others will give you the money – less the amount of your excess – leaving you to replace it as you see fit.
  7. What your policy excess is. Bicycle insurance isn’t much use if the excess is so high you wouldn’t want to make a claim.

Find out more about home insurance excess. And remember, claiming on your home insurance can affect your no-claims bonus, so even if the excess is low you might want to think twice.

What’s the difference between specialist bike insurance and home insurance?

Specialist bike insurance
As well as basic cover for eventualities such as theft and damage, some specialist bicycle policies can also be tailored with specific cover for races and competitions. 

Specialist bicycle insurance often includes cover for:

  • Personal accidents and collisions.
  • Replacement bike hire.
  • Replacement of parts, clothing, helmets and other essential bike accessories.
  • Competition and race fees if you use your bike for competing.
  • Third party liability – should you injure someone else or damage their property while riding your bike.
  • European and worldwide travel cover.
  • Commuting.
  • Commercial use – for example, if you’re a courier.
  • Family and multi-bike cover.

Home insurance
Most home contents insurance policies offer basic cover for bicycles, including theft and malicious damage, but you might find your contents insurance only covers your bike when it’s in your home or locked in the shed or garage. You may need to pay extra to cover your bike when it’s away from home.  

If you have an expensive bike, you should also look at the single item limit and the most your insurance provider will cover it for. If you have a top-of-the range racing bike that’s worth £2,000 but your single item limit is only £1,500, you’ll need to stump up the extra £500 yourself if you need to claim. 

Is my bike covered by my home insurance?

It depends on your policy. There are three ways a bike can be included in your home insurance:

  1. Contents insurance 
    • Some providers (but certainly not all) will classify push bikes as contents and will cover them if they’re stolen, damaged or destroyed when inside your home.
    • There are often conditions that must be fulfilled to ensure any claim will be paid, such as your bike must have been locked to a fixed point if it was stolen from within the boundaries of your home.
    • There’s usually a maximum limit you can claim before you need to add the bike individually to the policy.
  2. Personal possessions outside our home 
    • This can cover items you take with you when you’re away from your home, such as mobile phones and watches, as long as you specify them on your insurance. Sometimes bikes can be included.
    • Again, insurance providers may state that your bike needs to be locked to a fixed point to ensure a payout if stolen.
  3. Individual bike cover
    • When getting a quote, we ask customers to add bikes worth more than £350 to their policy, so that they’re covered individually on that policy.
    • If your bike isn’t worth £350 and you want to make sure it’s covered, check the definitions of contents and personal possessions in the policy you’d like to buy to make sure it includes bikes.

How do I get bicycle insurance with my home insurance?

If you already have home insurance and want to stick with the same provider, contact your insurance provider directly. They’ll let you know what kind of bicycle insurance they offer.

If you’re buying new home insurance or thinking of switching, start a quote with us. We’ll ask you some questions about what you want to insure, including bikes. Then we’ll show you a selection of policies that meet your needs.

Whatever you do, make sure you check all the policy details carefully. This will tell you the exact situations in which your bike is covered and how much it’s covered for. If you’re not happy with the terms, go for a different policy.

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What else might bicycle insurance cover?

You could include bicycle insurance in your home insurance policy or alternatively opt for specialist bicycle insurance. If you’ve chosen the former, your bicycle insurance may offer:

  • Repairing your bike if it was damaged
  • Public liability and personal injury cover
  • New for old, if your bike can't be repaired
  • Accessories cover, for example, for helmets and clothing (check cover and any limits).

If, on the other hand, you’ve decided to pay a bit extra for specialist bicycle cover, you might be covered for:

  • The cost of hiring a replacement bicycle
  • Collisions or personal accidents
  • Replacement of cycling accessories, including helmets and vintage parts
  • Cycling breakdown
  • More than one bicycle (if you take out a multi-bike or family policy).

It could also be worth comparing cover for accident and sickness cover, to offer financial support if you became unable to work due to an injury caused by an accident on your bike – with the personal injury or personal accident cover on offer in bike policies.

What won’t bicycle insurance cover?

In some cases, your bicycle insurance provider may not cover you if your bike is damaged when taking part in cycling competitions or events.

You might also need to pay extra for public liability as not all providers will offer this as standard in their policies.

Also, be aware that most insurance providers will almost certainly reject a claim if someone else, other than you, the policy holder, was in possession of the bike when it was damaged or stolen.

Finally, you’ll need to make doubly sure that the bicycle lock you’re using is an approved model.

How much is bicycle insurance?

The cost of your bicycle insurance premium can depend on a few factors, such as your bike’s value, the type of bike it is and even your own circumstances. Your premium can also be affected by where you keep your bike overnight and where you live – you may pay more if you live in an area with a relatively high crime rate. Also, be aware that modifications – any changes you make to your bike that might increase its value and make it more attractive to thieves – could bump up the cost of your premium. 

Your home insurance can be tailored to suit your needs, as can specialist bicycle insurance.

So, start a home insurance quote with us and find a great policy for you.

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How do I work out the value of my bike?

To make certain you don’t underinsure your bike, its total value shouldn’t take depreciation into account. You should always calculate the value according to the exact price that you paid for the bike, regardless of whether it was bought new or second hand.

However, this way of calculating the value of a bicycle isn’t always straightforward. Most cyclists will upgrade various parts of their bicycle over time, and this can often make it difficult to determine its exact value. In these cases, it’s always better to overestimate.

Alternatively, you could use an online valuation tool to see how much your bike is worth.

How do I protect my bicycle against thieves?

  • Bike lock 

    The first rule of thumb is to invest in a high-quality, approved bicycle lock. Be sure to look into the ‘Sold Secure’ scale when shopping around. Although they’re likely to be more expensive, the ‘Gold’ rated bicycle locks are good purchases. If you have a front-wheel quick-release bike, then make sure you take the wheel with you or that it’s also secure. You may also need to take your saddle or loop an extra cable through the stays when you lock up.

    Many cyclists swear by investing in and using two different locks to secure their bikes when they’re away from home. This is a smart move because prospective thieves will need to use two different tools in order to pry open the locks and steal the bike.

    Make sure you lock your bike even if you’re only away for a few seconds. You don’t want to pop into a shop and come out to find your bike is missing.
  • Safe space 

    It’s important to leave your bicycle in a safe space, so avoid quiet, secluded areas and try to find a spot that’s well-lit, relatively busy and monitored by CCTV.

    Be very strategic in terms of what you attach your bike to when locking it. It needs to be something that can’t be easily moved, cut through or broken. Think carefully before locking – a wire mesh fence might seem like a good idea until you realise just how easily a pair of wire cutters could leave your bike comfortably in the hands of a thief.
  • Register your bike

    Finally, make the effort to register your bicycle with the authorities. Many thieves are deterred by this, and it will also make it easier for the police to find your bike if it’s stolen. Plus, it doesn’t cost a thing. You can register your bicycle in just a few minutes on the National Cycle Database. Using a security kit to mark it is likely to improve your chance of your bike being returned to you if found.

If I make a claim on my bicycle insurance will my bike be replaced?

The decision to replace or pay the claim out in cash will vary among insurance providers, so it’s important to read the fine print in your policy. If it’s possible for the bicycle to be repaired, however, most insurance providers will arrange for it to be repaired by an expert of their choice.

Britain’s most cycle-friendly areas

With cycling for transport in mind, where in Great Britain is the most cycling-friendly? We’ve looked at the number of cycling routes, road conditions, road traffic and the number of 5* TripAdvisor listings and reviews to determine the safest and most challenging areas for cycling in the UK.

The most cycle-friendly area is Derbyshire, which has the fewest roads in need of maintenance. East Riding of Yorkshire comes up second, with the most 5* TripAdvisor listings and reviews, and Devon is third, with the highest number of National Cycle Network routes.

At the other end of the scale are Perth and Kinross, Northamptonshire and East Sussex. These areas tend to have the most roads in need of maintenance, as well as a lower number of 5* TripAdvisor listings and reviews. That said, there may well be plenty of 5* cycle routes that simply haven’t been reviewed yet.

No matter how safe the area you’re cycling in might be, brush up on bicycle safety tips to decrease your chances of getting into a dangerous situation.

How the UK fares up against the world’s top cycling countries

With an increasing interest in cycling in the UK, we’ve taken a look at how we compare to other countries around the world when it comes to popularity of cycling, rankings in the Copenhagenize Index of the most bicycle-friendly cities, and professional cycling achievements.

France comes out as the number one country for cycling, thanks largely to the number of its cities that feature in the Copenhagenize Index, and also because of its points gained in professional cycling.

By comparison, only London features in the Copenhagenize Index. Overall, in the ranking, we come in at a respectable eighth place, but it’s worth noting that our rating is bolstered by how we've fared in the Olympics.

When it comes to interest in cycling, Ireland is a long way in front based on the number of bicycle-related Google searches, followed by Sweden and Germany – while the UK is much lower down on the list.

That said, we’ve seen that both searches and sales in the UK are on the up, so how we fare compared to other countries could well change in years to come.

The most insurance-savvy cyclists

As a result of COVID-19, bicycle sales went through the roof in 2020, but where in the UK is most savvy when it comes to insuring their two-wheeler?

Based on our own data over a one-year period from September 2019 to August 2020, we can see that Chester completed the highest number of insurance quotes per capita, making it the savviest area. This was followed by North Kesteven, North East Lincolnshire, Reading and York.

Looking at the areas that have seen the biggest uplift in quotes, Barking and Dagenham comes out on top, with a 129% increase over the course of the year. South Shropshire is a close second, and Allerdale comes in third.

The average value of bicycles listed on home insurance is £1,084, but when it comes to insuring the most expensive bikes, Burnley is on top, with an average bike value of £1,450. Ribble Valley isn’t far behind, with an average value of £1,442. If you have an expensive bike, there’s all the more reason to insure it.

The most popular types of bicycle to insure recently have been mountain bikes, followed by road bikes, electric bikes, hybrids and folding models.

If you’re unsure on which model to choose, check out our bicycle buying guide to help you pick the right two wheels for you.

Methodology

Britain’s most cycle-friendly areas – data was sourced from the Department for Transport, Trip Advisor and Sustrans National Cycle Network between 2018 and 2020. To draw accurate insights and analysis, min to max normalisation was used to form a weighted rank.

How the UK fares up against the world’s top cycling countries – data was sourced from the Copenhagenize Index, Cycling Ranking, Google Keyword Planner, Topend Sports and uci.org. The date ranges cover 2011-2020. Scores from Olympic medals were calculated using the Topend Sports ranking system. To draw accurate insights and analysis, min to max normalisation was used to form a weighted rank.

The most insurance-savvy cyclists – Compare the Market home insurance quote data was analysed by local authority from August 2019 – August 2020. The data includes any bicycles that were included in completed quotes with a minimum value of £350.

The UK’s biggest bicycle trends – data includes Google search data (September 2018 – August 2020) from Google Keyword Planner, Instagram hashtag data and average bike values from the mentioned brands’ websites. The top trends were determined by the biggest percentage increase in Google searches from September 2018 – August 2020.

Frequently asked questions

Is bicycle insurance mandatory in the UK?

No, unlike car insurance, bicycle insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the UK. However, it could protect you, your bike and other road users if an accident happens. And it’s certainly worth considering if you have a high-spec bike, use it as essential transport or regularly compete in racing competitions. If you do compete, it’s likely that the race organisers will want you to be insured before you’re allowed to participate. Check with them to make sure before signing up for a race.

What does bicycle insurance cover?

Policies can vary, but standard bicycle insurance should cover your bike against theft and damage – both malicious and accidental. More comprehensive cover is also available, or you can often add extras to a basic policy. Depending on the insurance provider, you could get cover for:

  • Personal accident and collision
  • Third-party liability
  • Cover for your bike accessories, clothing and gear
  • Lost race fees
  • Damage while competing
  • Cycling abroad
  • Roadside assistance cover
  • Legal expenses cover.

 

Do I need special insurance for an electronic bike (e-bike)?

You’re not obliged to insure your e-bike as long as it doesn’t exceed 15.5mph and has pedals. Like regular bicycles, your e-bike can be included in your home insurance policy or, if you want to have more comprehensive cover, it can be covered by a special cycling insurance policy instead.

Can I insure my bike for business use?

Yes, there are policies available that will cover your bike if you use it for work. Just remember to select this cover option when getting a quote – in some cases, you may need to add commercial cover as an additional extra.

Will kids and young riders be insured?

Specialist bicycle insurance will only cover riders over the age of 16. Family bikes should be included under your home contents insurance against theft or malicious damage when they’re stored at your property. Just remember to include them when working out the value of your contents insurance.

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