Bicycle insurance comparison guide: how to get the best cover
Last week was national bike week 2020! This year bikes are even more relevant than ever before. Being in our third month of lockdown in the UK, many of us have turned to the bike as the primary mode of transport.
Here at Urban Jungle, we’ve seen enquiries about getting bikes covered go up 60% in May vs this time last year! Whether you've brought a new bike over lockdown, or you're just getting round to getting bike cover this article should help with an insurance comparison and top-tips for keeping it safe.
Getting contents insurance with bike cover
Unfortunately, the traditional insurance industry rarely makes getting cover simple or straightforward. When bikes get involved it doesn’t get any easier. Many people have a bike they use regularly, be it a road bike, mountain bike or a pushbike for running errands on. Deciding on bike cover can be tricky due to lengthy policy documents and clauses. But fear not, we’ve broken it all down for you hopefully making the choice easier.
Depending on how serious a cyclist you are, you might have expensive extras like wheels (costing between £50 to £3,000 on Wiggle) or strong helmets to protect you on your mountain bike. It’s easy to see how a bike you bought for £1,000 could be valued at triple that price on your insurance after you add in all the extras.
If you have a bike that you only use to get to and from work, the chances are that it won’t have all the bells and whistles (full disclosure, Urban Jungle recommends that you have a bell if you’re riding in busy areas). In all honesty, if your bike is old, in poor condition, or not particularly valuable, then self-insuring is probably your best option.
What are you usually covered for with cycle insurance?
Bike insurance covers you if your cycle is lost, stolen, or damaged. There are a lot of ins and outs of when you’re covered which are outlined below. You may be thinking 'Are bikes covered under home insurance?' and the answer is very often yes. You usually have two options when it comes to buying insurance to cover your bike:
- Including it with your home contents insurance
- Getting specialist bike cover
If you’re a competitive cyclist or regularly cycle in ‘risky’ areas (such BMX tracks), then home insurance may not cover you and specialised could be the way to go. Home insurance will also rarely cover you if you use your bike professional like with Deliveroo or UberEats.
Below is a bicycle insurance comparison, looking at covering it with your home insurance or getting specialist cover.
|Home Contents Insurance||Specialised Bike Insurance|
|Max Value Insured||Between £500-£15,000||Up to £50,000|
|Cover Out of Home||Usually Extra Charge||Usually Yes|
|Cover For Theft||Yes if from home, extra charge out of home||Yes|
|Damage While Racing||No||Sometimes|
|Damage While Riding||Yes*||Yes|
|Cover For Accessories/ Kit||Sometimes||Usually Yes|
|Price||Bike often included with other home contents from £108**||Between £110-£172 per year for bike only**|
Table up to date as of June 2020
*If out of home
** Based on a sample of UK insurance providers and bike insurance providers. Experiences may vary and these may not apply for every policy.
According to a household survey, there were around 287,000 victims of a bicycle theft from July 2018 to June 2019 in England and Wales. Theft claims are very common among cities and high-density areas. It’s always worth taking extra precautions to protect your bike from theft, see more below on how to lock your bike. Most insurers will cover for theft but make sure you include Out Of Home cover for theft out of the home.
Does home insurance cover bicycle accidents on the road?
Most insurers will cover you if you are in a bicycle accident as this is usually deemed as ‘accidental damage’. A few things to look out for when purchasing a policy is if the insurer covers damage while riding, out of home cover and accidental damages. Sometimes these are available only at extra cost so make sure to add them onto your plan.
It’s worth noting that home contents insurers rarely cover for accidental damage when professional racing so if this is something that you do often it’s worth looking into specialist bike insurance.
Out of home
Out of home cover means personal items that you would typically take out of the home with you on a frequent basis. This can include stuff like phones, laptops and bikes.
What cover you go for will be very personal to you – the best bike insurance doesn't really exist as it isn't a ‘one size fits all’. For example, depending on what cover level you go for, you may not be insured if you take your bike abroad. So if you're keen on cycling on holiday this is one to bear in mind. Some cycle insurance providers will offer cover for a week or a month so if it's a one-off event this might be the cover you're looking for.
Comparison of home contents insurance providers
Here is a comparison table of home insurance providers’ bike cover, including Urban Jungle, John Lewis, Barclays, Nationwide, M&S, and LV.
|Provider||Max Value||Accidental Damage||Cover Abroad||Multiple Bikes||Trustpilot|
|Urban Jungle||£15,000 total||Yes, covered at no extra cost||Not covered||✓||4.8/5|
|John Lewis||£5000||At an extra cost||60 days||✓||3.5/5|
|Barclays||£5000 per cycle||At an extra cost||✓||✓||1.6/5|
|Nationwide||£5000 per cycle for a quote*||Yes||90 days||✓||1.8/5|
|M&S||£10,000-£15,000 total||At an extra cost||✓||✓||2.9/5|
|LV||£15,000 total||At an extra cost||60 days||✓||4.7/5|
*Nationwide offer a call to discuss a higher max value amounts
Table up to date as of June 2020
If you’re more of a keen cyclist here's how specialists cycle insurers compare:
|Provider||Max Value||Accidental Damage||Cover Abroad||Multiple Bikes||Accessories||TrustPilot Rating|
|Yellow Jersey||£15,000 single bike limit (£50,000 total)||✓||Yes in some plans, max 120 days||✓||✓||2.8/5|
|Cycle Plan||£30,000 total||✓||Yes at an extra cost||✓||Yes- extra cost||4.6/5|
|Velosure||£2,000-£4,000 per bike||✓||90 days||✓||✓ (£1000 max)||3.3/5|
|Laka||£750-£30,000 single bike limit (£30,000 in total)||✓||60 days||✓||Sometimes depending on cost of item- extra cost||N/A|
Table up to date as of June 2020
As always with insurance, it's important to check the policy documents as cycle insurance between providers vary. This should be easily available on the website.
If your family are all into cycling, then many of the specialised insurers will offer you a discount for each extra bicycle you insure – so it’s definitely worth looking out for this if you want to cover numerous bikes. If you’re looking to insure many expensive bikes, however, then you may struggle to find a policy which will cover more than a few.
How are bicycle insurance claims settled?
Coverage will vary but for both home insurers and specialised bike insurers, a successful claim is often decided between replacing your bike, repairing it, or paying you a cash settlement.
Some providers will allow you the option of choosing between cash or a replacement/repair. Beware that they will only pay you what it would have cost them to replace or repair, and they often would have got a discounted price.
Most providers who cover your accessories (things like gadgets, expensive kit and bike boxes used for transporting your cycle) will replace them new-for-old. Check your policy document, as not everyone covers accessories, and most that do will have an age limit on covered items, normally of 3-5 years. The same goes for bikes, which will be valued at a depreciated price after 3 or so years.
If your bike is stolen, most insurers will require you to report it to the police within 24 hours for your claim to be valid, so be sure to react quickly should the worst happen. This is normally true for all sorts of insurance, so no matter what gets stolen – if you want to claim, report it ASAP.
Locking your bike
No matter where you get your cycle insurance, or how specialised the cover is, some limitations will always apply. Something that you should always do (insurance or not) is lock your bike. If you don’t, your insurance won’t cover it if your bike is stolen. Bikes need to be in a securely locked building or, if they’re in the open, both wheels and the frame need to be locked to a permanent structure.
In fact, many insurers will require you to lock your bike with a particular lock, or that you lock your bike with two different locks of different types. It has been said the safest way to deter thieves from your bike is to use two different locks. This is because most thieves won't have the equipment to cut both, for example, a chain lock and a U-lock.
You may often see that you’ll need a ‘bronze, silver or gold’ lock type. These are scored by Sold Secure which have tested and approved security products.
We’ve put together some common lock types and provided some details you may want to check before you buy. The locks compared are Kryptonite KrytoLok Mini D-Lock and Cable, Hiplok Lite, Abus London Granit 52 250mm, Halfords 23cm D-Lock and Litelok Silvery Flexi-u.
|Type of Lock||Price||Sold Secure Rating||Weight||Pros||Cons|
|Kryptonite KryptoLok Mini U-Lock and Cable||U-Lock & Cable||£37.00||Gold (excluding cable)||1.1kg||Gold rating and well known brand which might deter thieves||Awkward to carry and takes time to lock it|
|Hiplok Lite||Padlock & Chain||£35.00||Bronze||1kg||Can be worn as a belt while riding||Only bronze rating|
|Abus London Granit 53 230mm||D-Lock with Cable||£65.00||Gold (excluding cable)||1.9kg||Gold rating||Heavy|
|Halfords 23cm||D-Lock with Key||£30.00||Sliver||N/A||Cheaper than other brands||Only silver rating where you could pay £7 more for gold|
|Litelok Slivery Flexi-u||U-Lock||£69.99||Sliver||640g||Light and flexible means it's easy to attached to secure fixtures||More expensive than the gold locks|
Table true as of June 2020
How best to lock your bike
If your bike is stolen from your shed or garage or a communal area, then you will often need to provide proof that it was locked to a permanent fixture. If you’re leaving your cycle in an unsafe area it would be good practice to take a picture of your bike when you lock it. If you are leaving your bike in a shed or outhouse, you may be required to get new locks on the doors and to install some sort of rack to lock your bike to.
If you leave your bike locked in a public place or at work for a long time then your insurance may not cover it. As a general rule, your bike will be covered for no more than 13 hours locked in a public or communal place before it is considered ‘abandoned’.
Never lock your bike to something that a thief could easily lift the bike over, for example a bollard. If there isn’t anything safe to look it to then lock your wheels to the frame – if a thief can’t ride off on it then it may not be worth the hassle.
How to reduce risk
Ah, the age-old question of how to avoid making a claim! Even if you have bicycle insurance, we're all attached to our bikes and the last thing we want is the nuisance of losing it.
1. Get it registered
You can register your bike on Bike Register. This is the UK’s national, police approve registration scheme. The registration is free and has over 920,360 bikes registered. Although this won’t protect your bike, you are provided with a sticker to put on your bike in a clear place to deter thieves. If in the unlucky event of your bike being stolen you can log into Bike Register and report it. This allows you to tweet the details and a photo of your bike to their social media in the hope someone spots it.
2. Lock up
As we said above, always remember to lock your bike. Bikes need to be in a securely locked building or, if they’re in the open, both wheels and the frame need to be locked to a permanent structure.
3. Park your bicycle carefully
Your bike’s far less likely to be stolen if you lock it somewhere well lit and busy, preferably with CCTV surveillance. Even if you don’t have a particularly strong lock, it’s going to be much riskier for someone to steal if they’re in the public eye. Be equally careful parking at your house or at a friend’s – don’t assume that your bike is safe if it’s in their garden but the gate is closed, particularly if you’re in a built-up area.
4. It’s not just your bike that they’re after
Although an entire bike will be the most desirable acquirement for a thief, things like front wheels and saddles will still sell. Especially if you have a ‘designer’ saddle such as those from Brooks. Remember to take off any other accessories when you leave it like lights or bags.
5. Avoid leaving it overnight
No matter how public the place, it will always be less secure under the cover of darkness. Not only that, but you’re more likely to fall victim of vandalism at night time, particularly if it’s near a pub or bar. If you know that you’re going to have to leave it outside a lot, or if you can only lock it outside at night, then it might be worth considering a cheap bike.
If you want to cover your bike with your home contents insurance, then please feel free to check us out! It couldn’t be simpler, you just need to take out one policy for your house and all bikes are covered. You can add as many bikes as you like, and then add on Out of Home cover. Whoever buys the policy will be responsible for things like making claims or changes, but everything can be done online for free.