Pedal cycle insurance: what to consider

The risk of theft is common to all bicycles, no matter how expensive. In fact, there is a bike stolen about every 65 seconds in the UK.

You can mitigate this risk somewhat by riding a low value bike that's less attractive to would-be thieves, or by using insurer-approved locks and secure home storage, but insurance is a very worthwhile precaution.

Before taking out a policy, it's worth checking whether your bike(s) are covered by your home contents insurance, and if so how much you'd be able to claim.

Many home insurance policies will only let you claim up to a set amount so won't fully absorb the cost of a replacement.

More importantly you'll need to consider if the excess you'd need to pay and subsequent impact on your home insurance premiums would ever make claiming worth it. It can be much cheaper to take out a standalone bicycle policy instead.

If you have more than one bike in your household, you may be able to get further discounts on the cost of cover by opting for a policy that covers multiple bicycles.

Also check if joining a cycling club (e.g. CTC) will get you any concessions.

What does bike insurance cover?

Most standard bicycle insurance policies will include the following cover:

Theft

The more expensive your bicycle, the more likely it is to be stolen. Check that the full replacement value is covered against theft by the cyclists insurance policy you take out.

Cycle accident

Cycling, particularly in urban areas, carries an inherent risk of injury as there is little protection.

it's a good idea to look for a policy that includes a reasonable level of cycling personal accident insurance, so that you're not left financially stranded if you are injured in a cycle accident.

Make sure you check what exactly the insurer classifies as a cycle accident to ensure that you're able to claim if you need to.

Third party liability

Public liability cover is a set figure that your insurer will pay out towards the cost of any damage or injury you cause to other people or their property while you're on your bicycle.

Some cheap policies exclude competition cycling from this cover. If this is something, you're likely to want, check it is included to a level you are satisfied with.

Accidental damage

Policies that include this cover will pay out for a repair or replacement if your bicycle incurs accidental damage of some kind.

A cheap bicycle insurance quote may not include sufficient accidental damage cover or may apply a significant number of restrictions as to what counts as accidental damage so check before you commit.

Cycling abroad

Whether for extended bicycle trips or simply for family holidays, many basic policies won't include cover for people cycling overseas due to the expense of dealing with issues abroad.

Touring insurance may well be the cheapest option for those in this position, so if you're likely to want to take your bicycle abroad this is something to look out for.

Insurers differ as to whether they offer European cycle travel insurance or worldwide cover so consider where you're likely to be travelling and find a policy that suits.

Optional bike cover extras

Some policies will also let you add cover for the following:

Malicious damage - Pays out if your bike is vandalised.

Replacement cycle hire - If your bike needs extensive repairs you will be reimbursed the cost of hiring another pedal cycle until the work is done.

Cycle breakdown - If your bicycle becomes unsafe to ride due to a malfunction or unexpected damage, you can claim on the costs of a taxi picking you and your cycle up and taking you to your destination.

How to find the right push bike insurance

The best insurance for you will ultimately be the combination of features (such as those listed above) that best fits your needs.

Establish your priorities and don't focus on just one aspect, as this may mean you aren't covered elsewhere.

Carry out a bicycle insurance comparison to find the cheapest cyclist insurance for your circumstances and needs.

Unless your needs are very specialised (i.e. you compete in cycling events or your bike is very high value), chances are the best insurance cover for you will be a general policy that caters for most circumstances to a consistent level.

You should weigh the aspects of these general plans according to how you normally use your bike, to achieve the most effective cover.