Insurance firm says cyclists should treat bikes as cars when it comes to cover

Survey points to gap in cover - but some issues wouldn't be picked up by motor policy either

by Simon_MacMichael   November 8, 2010  

Lloyd's of London (© Simon MacMichael).jpg

An insurance firm is urging cyclists to treat their bikes as though they were cars when it comes to obtaining insurance cover after conducting a survey that found that 57% of cyclists injured while on their bikes said that the accident was their own fault. However, it’s unclear exactly how taking out insurance for their bicycle would help them in such circumstances.

Capita Insurance Services surveyed 1,000 adults and found that a third of those who owned a bike had been injured while out riding, reports the cycle trade website Bike Biz.

Commenting on the survey, 

Mark Boulton, a director at the insurance firm, said: “It would be unthinkable for a driver to take to the road in a car that was not adequately insured and cyclists should think the same way."

Leaving aside the issue that the owners of the estimated 1.5 million uninsured vehicles in the UK are unlikely to agree with that sentiment, the fact is that drivers are required by law to cover third party legal liability cover. No such requirement exists for cyclists, of course. But that wouldn't cover your own injuries in an accident that was your own fault.

Nevertheless, Mr Boulton insists: "If you run the risk of being injured and off work for a sustained period of time due to an accident on the road you may find that you do not qualify for full pay let alone the cost of replacing your bike.”

While it’s true that most drivers go beyond the minimum legal requirement and take out comprehensive cover which insures against damage to their car in the event of an accident, what a standard comprehensive policy won’t cover is their loss of earnings should they be injured in the event of an accident.

“This survey has been invaluable for us as a business to understand the extent of potential problems and the issues associated with cycling to work or for pleasure,” says Mr Boulton.

“Of those injured, the fact that 34 per cent said they had to take time away from work due to a cycling injury also shows this could pose a wider issue for employers.

“From our experience, a high number of cyclists believe that they and their bicycles are adequately covered by their home contents insurance however this isn’t always the case.”

He continues: “Our advice is for cyclists who regularly use their bicycles to treat them as they would a car – whether they commute to work or use their bike for pleasure. They should take a closer look at their contents insurance to ensure they are legally covered in the event of an accident. It may be the case that further cover is required.”

Reading between the lines, there are in fact three separate issues here.
The first is ensuring that your bike itself is insured against loss or damage, and certainly if you have a contents insurance policy, it’s worth making sure that your pride and joy is covered up to its full replacement value, including not just the cost of the bike but any add-ons such as pedals, lights, computer and wheel upgrades.

Secondly, and this is the point to which Mr Boulton’s advice to cyclists “to ensure they are legally covered in the event of an accident” presumably relates, there is the issue of third party liability insurance in the event that through your negligence, you injure someone else while out riding.

While this should be picked up by the public liability section of most household contents policies, many will exclude cover where the policyholder has been competing in sport, although here the insurance cover provided by British Cycling under its Silver and Gold Race membership would plug the gap.

That cover also applies to non-competitive cycling, as does British Cycling’s Ride membership and liability cover provided by CTC to its members, and both organisations also provide legal advice helplines to their members operated by experts in the law as it applies to cyclists.

The third issue in Mr Boulton’s comments is what happens when you are injured while riding your bike and are unable to work. That isn’t something that would normally be covered by a motor insurance policy if you were injured while driving, nor is such cover a normal feature of a household insurance policy.

In the event you were injured after a collision with a vehicle and it was the driver’s fault, you could legally be entitled to compensation, although obtaining recompense can be a costly and time-consuming process, and if no vehicle were involved, or if the accident were your fault, then there is of course no redress.

Although in some cases an employer’s group personal accident policy might cover employees for accidents outside the workplace, for peace of mind it may be worth exploring personal accident cover that would help protect your earnings should you be forced to take extended time off work as the result of an accident while riding.


13 user comments

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Good shameless plugging of your own photos, there!

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
8th November 2010 - 12:48


What, Lennon? It's just a byline and assertion of (c) to remind people not to pilfer.

As for Mr Boulton he sounds a bit confused doesn't he?

posted by IHphoto [112 posts]
8th November 2010 - 12:56


I got a quote from Evans recently to insure my Road bike...£45 a month! That is about £17 a month more than it costs to insure my 2 year old Volvo which is worth considerably more that my bike, and presumably more of a risk to an insurer??
If cycle insurance was more affordable, maybe more cyclists would be inclined to get insurance.

posted by baldcyclist [6 posts]
8th November 2010 - 12:58


What a shock that an insurance company would suggest we all need fully/totally/beyond-most-drivers comprehensive insurance!

I've got 3rd party liability and that is more than enough for me. As the above poster points out, dedicated cycle insurance is an utter rip off - I've had quotes to cover four bikes that cost more than double the most comprehensive home cover available (unlimited value, worldwide cover for all possessions, no honerous lock standard requirements, cover for euro trips up to 90 days etc. etc.).

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [319 posts]
8th November 2010 - 13:09


I've just had a couple of bikes nicked from home and the contents insurance types (Nationwide in this case) were very helpful. I haven't checked the policy for any liability cover though, it's not something i'd expect in a home policy. i'll have a read through the fine print...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7829 posts]
8th November 2010 - 13:10


hhhmmmm ..... profits down a little are they .... drum
up a "little" business perhaps - meh !

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [919 posts]
8th November 2010 - 13:10


I've got dedicated insurance and Gold BC membership - About £180 a year for 3 bikes insured and £65 for BC gold membership. Covers a lot and for £20 a month i'd say it was worth it.

The Casati Owner's Club says - "Drink your Coffee strong"

posted by simonaspinall [10 posts]
8th November 2010 - 13:48


Insurance company advises cyclists to take out more insurance. Thinking

Knowing how long and difficult insurance companies make it to claim, I'll not being ringing up Capita just yet.

For bike theft I would choose your contents insurance carefully and if you are still worried work out how long putting the money from a bike insurance policy would take to be worth the value of the bike. That way you still have the money if the bike isn't taken (always worth doing this sort of calculation for such types of insurance)

posted by thereverent [351 posts]
8th November 2010 - 13:52


IHphoto wrote:
What, Lennon? It's just a byline and assertion of (c) to remind people not to pilfer.

As for Mr Boulton he sounds a bit confused doesn't he?

Dearie me, aren't we sensitive? It was just a smiling observation that he'd chosen to illustrate the story with his own (entirely suitable) photo!

Ok, perhaps I could have added a smiley of some description, but really ...

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
8th November 2010 - 14:14


I had mine nicked last year and MoreThan handled it perfectly, though I do also have insurance whilst out of the costing £17.99 a month.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
8th November 2010 - 15:22


Not sensitive Tim, just thought your original comment was a bit dumb, after all no-one would say anything about Simon's article having a byline. If it was supposed to be ironic then it wasn't that sharp really IMHO, especially as it seems to be policy to accredit pictures to the rights owner/author Wink

posted by IHphoto [112 posts]
8th November 2010 - 15:36


Blimey. None of my cycling pics on the site has attracted this much attention Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9364 posts]
8th November 2010 - 17:32


If you can't play nicely I'm turning the internet off

posted by Mat Brett [2168 posts]
8th November 2010 - 18:29