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Cycling travel insurance

There’s nothing like pairing your love of cycling with a holiday – all those open roads, new scenery and some great local food at the end of a day in the saddle.

But before you get carried away, make sure you have the right travel insurance ahead of your trip. Here’s our guide to travel insurance for cycle touring.

There’s nothing like pairing your love of cycling with a holiday – all those open roads, new scenery and some great local food at the end of a day in the saddle.

But before you get carried away, make sure you have the right travel insurance ahead of your trip. Here’s our guide to travel insurance for cycle touring.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
24 JUNE 2022
9 min read
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Does travel insurance cover cycling holidays?

What’s not to love about exploring somewhere new, while getting some exercise? However, you may need a specialist travel insurance policy for a cycling trip, as a standard policy might not give you the cover you need.

Standard travel insurance policies typically offer cover from £1,000 to £3,000 for all your belongings, including your bike, with a single-item limit of around £200-300. This would be the most you could claim if your bike was stolen or damaged, which might not be enough if you have anything more than a standard bike. Cover varies among providers and even between tiers of policies, such as silver, gold and platinum from the same provider, so check what’s offered before you buy.

A standard policy is likely to only cover regular cycling, for example, hiring a bike to go out exploring for the day. If you’re competing in a race, mountain biking or embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime tour, you’ll probably need a specialist policy. You’ll need to be upfront about the type of cycling you’ll be doing to ensure you have the right cover in place.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What type of insurance do I need for cycling holidays?

The right type of insurance policy for a cycling holiday depends on a few factors. Ask yourself:

  • How long is my holiday? A specialist bicycle insurance policy usually offers cover for 30, 60 or 90 days. You might choose single-trip insurance that lasts for the length of one tour or an annual policy that can cover multiple trips – but check any limits on the number of days of each trip or the total number of trips.
  • Where am I going on my trip? If you’re cycling on the continent, it’s worth comparing European travel insurance. If you’re going further overseas, you may need a policy with worldwide cover. Be sure to check it includes all countries that you’re going to or travelling through.
  • Am I covered if I get injured or sick while I’m abroad? Always check you have sufficient medical cover before you go cycling. Without a travel policy that covers the cost of emergency medical treatment, you could face a medical bill of thousands of pounds if you have an accident. As well as covering any immediate treatment you need, many travel insurance policies will also cover repatriation to get you home in a medical emergency.
  • If you have a valid Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), and you’re visiting a country in the EU or Switzerland, you could get medical care on the same terms as a local. If you have its former incarnation, the EHIC, you can continue to use this until it expires. Having the card means you only need to pay for treatment if locals do. However, the GHIC/EHIC isn’t a replacement for travel insurance, as our guide explains.

What does cycling travel insurance cover?

A comprehensive cycling travel insurance policy should include the same cover as a standard travel insurance policy, just tailored a little more to the needs of a cyclist:

  • Medical treatment – in case you have an accident while you’re riding, and you need emergency medical care.
  • Repatriation – to help you get home quickly and safely in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Cover for your bike and belongings – including travel documents and cash, in case they’re lost, stolen or damaged on your trip. If you have an expensive bike, make sure the single-item limit is high enough so you bike will be protected.
  • Missed flights and connections – if it was out of your control.
  • Travel delays – to reimburse you for any bookings you’ve made in advance that you can’t make as a direct result of a delayed flight.
  • Trip cancellations or curtailment – in case, for example, you break your leg in the run-up to your cycling trip and you need to cancel.

Currently you can’t filter for specialist cycle insurance in our quote system in the same way you can for winter sports. But you will be able to find travel insurance that offers the kind of cover you need.

Choose what you’d like from your travel insurance and compare. Once you have your results for the policies you’re interested in, you’ll need to select ‘more details’ then scroll down and check the information in the policy wording to see what cover is offered – you’ll usually need to look at the sports and activities section in particular. You may need to pay an extra premium for cycle cover, but not always.

What else should I look for with specialist cycling travel insurance?

When choosing a policy, be sure you take a close look at what sports and activities are included in the cover. Some policies might have rules about what type of cycling is included or excluded.

A specialist policy should include:

  • Third-party liability, in case you injure someone and they make a claim against you.
  • Personal injury insurance to cover longer-term medical treatment, such as dental care or physiotherapy, if you’re injured while cycling.
  • Cover for cycle breakdown and the cost of recovery.
  • Accidental damage to your bike or loss of valuable accessories, such as a GoPro device.
  • Cover while you’re in transit. Your bike and bike box could be covered if they’re lost or damaged while on the move.
  • Replacement bike hire so you can continue your trip if your bike is damaged or stolen while you’re away.
  • If you’re on a cycle tour, check that the cover extends to every country you plan to visit.
  • If you’re competing in an event or race, you might need to add on extra cover. This could help cover any entry fees you’ve paid if you need to withdraw because of injury or the event is cancelled due to bad weather.
  • Find out if there’s an excess to pay if you make a claim. Your excess could be £100 or more, so depending on the value of the loss or damage it may or may not be worth claiming for.

Always make sure you’re aware of what’s included in a policy, plus any exclusions, before you buy. Few of us love reading the small print, but it’s important to know what you’re buying and how it will help if you need it.

Once you have a policy, keep your insurance provider’s details with you in case you need to contact them while you’re away.

What special exclusions might there be with my cycling travel insurance?

Many policies will exclude cycling in competitions or any professional activity and even touring. Some polices might also exclude as standard off-road, BMX or mountain biking. You may need to pay an additional premium if you want to do this type of activity.

Typically, you might not be covered if you don’t use recommended safety equipment like a helmet, so check what your policy says.

You’ll need to take good care of your bike during your trip – if you don’t, you could invalidate your insurance. Get a strong lock and remove any accessories when you’re not using your bike. Check whether there are any restrictions to where you can leave your bike overnight.

What won’t be covered by cycling travel insurance?

As with any standard travel insurance policy, there are some common exclusions for claims on cycling travel insurance. You most likely won’t be covered for the following:

  • If you travel to a country against FCDO advice.
  • For accidents and injuries when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If you break local laws or the rules of the road.
  • If you leave your bike unattended and unlocked, even briefly.
  • For any existing medical conditions that you fail to disclose.
  • For acts of terrorism and natural disasters, if they’re not covered in the terms of your policy

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a GHIC card?

Some providers require you to have a card when you travel in Europe, while others may not charge you the excess on health treatment if you use your card. Check your policy to see what it says. Either way it makes sense to apply for one, especially as it’s free. Make sure you avoid using unofficial sites that might try to charge you and apply in good time.

A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is the replacement for the old European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It allows you to get the same healthcare treatment as a local. You can continue to use your old EHIC until it expires or if you don’t have one you can apply for a GHIC.

The GHIC offers the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries and Switzerland, so while it says it’s global, it isn’t.

Will cycling travel insurance cover my gadgets?

If you’re taking expensive tech with you on your trip, such as a Garmin, GoPro or your smartphone, you’ll need to make sure you have an adequate level of luggage cover. The total cover limit should be enough to replace all the equipment and belongings you’re taking with you.

Watch out for the single-item limit, though – that’s the maximum you’ll be able to claim for any one item. You can normally add on extra cover for gadgets and high-value items if need be.

I have bicycle cover in the UK, do I need extra cover to cycle abroad?

It depends on your policy. Some cyclist and bicycle insurance might cover you abroad, under certain conditions. Carefully read the terms of any cover you already have to see if it will work for your trip.

Remember, although you may be able to add on extra cover to your existing bicycle insurance policy for holidays in the UK and abroad, this cover might only extend to protecting your bike – without offering the broader protection of a travel insurance policy.

Are there age restrictions for cycling travel insurance?

There may be. For example, it might be harder to find a specialist cycling trip policy if you’re over 75. You may have to pay extra if you fall into a higher age bracket, as insurance providers will see you as a greater risk.

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