What is bicycle insurance?

If you cycle regularly, getting the right insurance is vital to keep you and your bike protected. Here is everything you need to know about bike insurance.

Woman on an electric bike in the countryside

How does bicycle insurance work?

Bicycle insurance covers the cost of replacing or repairing your bike if it is stolen or damaged.

It can also protect you financially if you are injured while riding, or if you cause an accident that involves another person.

Your bike may be covered against theft and vandalism by your home contents policy, but this may not protect you when you ride your bike, or when you lock your bike up away from your home.

Here is how to work out whether you need bike insurance

What types of bike can you cover?

Most insurers can cover a wide range of bike types, including:

If you are unsure whether you can get cover for your bike, read the policy or call the insurer to check before you apply.

What does it cover?

Bicycle insurance can cover your bike, yourself, or both.

Cover for your bike

Bicycle insurance can protect your bike against:

  • Theft: This covers your bike up to a set amount to replace it if it is stolen. It can also cover your accessories, bike box or personal possessions.

  • Malicious or accidental damage: This covers the costs of repair or replacement if your bike is damaged or vandalised.

  • Bike hire replacement: This covers the cost of hiring an alternative bike to use while yours is being repaired or replaced.

Many policies offer new for old replacement if you need a new bike, but some may deduct an amount for wear and tear. Check if the policy offers new for old cover before you buy.

Cover for yourself

If you also want protection for yourself if you have an accident, bike insurance can cover you against:

  • Personal accident: This gives you a lump sum pay out if you suffer loss of limb, sight, hearing, or become paralysed or die following an accident on your bike.

  • Third party liability: This covers the cost of any claims against you following an incident that you caused while riding your bike, e.g. if you collided with a pedestrian.

  • Legal expenses: This covers any costs that you incur taking a third party to court to claim for damages following an accident that was not your fault.

Most policies offer all of these benefits as standard if you choose a policy that can cover you and your bike together.

Extra cover options

You may also be able to add extra benefits to your policy to extend your cover, including:

  • Taking your bike abroad

  • Cover for competitions like road races or time trials

  • Extended accessories cover

  • Bicycle breakdown cover

It costs extra to add these options to your policy, so only consider them if you think you need the cover and can afford the increased cost.

Do you have to pay an excess?

Yes, most bicycle insurance policies set an excess, which is an amount of money you need to contribute to the cost if you make a claim.

You may have to pay an excess of:

  • A percentage of the claim. For example, a 5% excess on a claim worth £1,000 would mean you have to pay £50.

  • A set amount based on the bike's value. For example, £75 if it is worth less than £1,500, £100 if it is worth between £1,500 and £7,500, and £250 if it is worth over £7,500.

  • A set amount for any claim, for example £100.

You could be charged a higher excess if your bicycle is stolen from a public area, or if you leave it unattended at a certain time, for example between 1am and 4am.

Check the policy documents before you buy cover to see what excess you will need to pay if you claim.

Here is how to claim on your bike insurance

What is not covered?

There are several exclusions that mean your claim could be rejected, including:

  • Any accident that happens while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Using your bike for monetary gain, for example as a courier

  • Any loss or damage where you cannot give proof of ownership

  • Damage to accessories including tyres, unless the bike is damaged at the same time

  • Cosmetic damage like scratches or dents that do not impair the bike from working

  • Any theft claim where you have not secured your bike correctly

To make sure your bike is fully protected you must lock it away securely while it is at home, or if you leave it in a public place.

Choose an approved lock

Most insurers have locking requirements you need to follow to keep your bike covered against theft. The locks you use will need to be approved, for example:

  • Sold Secure Bronze rating, if your bike is worth £1,000 or less

  • Sold Secure Silver rating, if your bike is worth between £1,000 and £2,000

  • Sold Secure Gold rating, if your bike is worth more than £2,000

The lock will also need to be specifically designed for bicycles, scooters or motorcycles. You can check the rating of any lock on the Sold Secure website.

Each insurer may have different locking requirements so check their terms and conditions carefully before you buy a policy.

Your bike also needs to be secured to something immovable, like a lamp post or bicycle rack.

What affects the price?

The cost of your cover is determined by things like:

  • The value of your bike

  • What you use your bike for

  • Any previous claims you have made

  • Where you live

  • Any extras you add, for example accessories cover

The more expensive your bike is, the more you have to pay.

Do not give a lower value of your bike when you apply to get a cheaper deal, because this could invalidate your cover if you make a claim.

Compare bicycle insurance here

How to find the best bicycle insurance

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

Unless your needs are very specialised (such as 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.