We asked for your questions about bike insurance for the insurance companies. We put the questions to our panel of insurers, and got some comprehensive replies. Here they are.
Note: This article does not constitute financial advice. We're simply passing along what the insurance companies have to say for themselves.
bbir asked: Why should I bother with bike insurance at all? When I am out on my bike, I'm riding it and it's unlikely to be nicked. When it's at home there are locked doors between it and the world and it's unlikely it will be nicked. An incident on the road, there is no such thing as cost effective comprehensive bicycle insurance. I surely would be better off saving the premium and using that to buy a new bike when I need one. Go on, prove me wrong.
Bicy Insurance replied: You're right. The chances of a bicycle being stolen whilst you're riding it or storing it at home are very small. But what about when you've parked it at work or the gym? Or what about if you don't have the space to keep it at home? Considering just how common bicycle theft is becoming, it's in these sorts of situations where insurance really comes into its own.
On top of that, the monthly premium for an average £500 bike is just £3.20, so it's going to take you more than 12 years to save for a new one.
Rouboy asked: Why does it cost so much more for me to insure my bikes than it costs to insure a 4 litre TVR, a VW Tiguan 13 plate and a New VW beetle, all fully comp and protected no claims. I can only drive one vehicle / bike at a time.
Eversure Cycle Insurance replied: The premium you pay to insure most things will be relative to the property insured and the number of claims processed. With over 35 million cars on the road, the risk is spread amongst many individuals and premiums reflect this. Cycle insurance on the other hand is held by a small fraction of cyclists and let's face it, bikes are far easier to steal than a car.
Whilst you may think insurance companies making a fortune out of your cycle insurance, you would be wrong. The majority of the premium Eversure Cycle Insurance receives goes towards settling claims and administration.
levermonkey asked: Why can't insurers understand that asking what make and model the bike is is totally irrelevant, as we are habitual upgraders? Why do the least upgrades invalidate our policy?
Alex Mills of Dynamo Cover replied: The reason is for proof of ownership. In the event of a claim it's to help identify the bike and prove ownership. It's actually designed to help you, not us.
I can only speak on Dynamo Cover's behalf but we look at the bikes as individual items. It doesn't matter if they're stock spec or fully customised as we can insure all your third party components at no extra charge. I would say only 10-15% of our current customers bikes are stock spec.
It's important whoever your insurer is to check that cover includes third party components as most insurers will just stick to the stock bike value when writing a policy. Not nice when you claim and find your £700 Zipp wheels aren't covered.
As for the 'invalidate policy' question I would need a specific example, as this isn't true about Dynamo Cover.
levermonkey asked: Why should I insure my bike through an insurance company anyway? Liability is covered by household insurance and my LCC membership; the cost of replacing my bike(s) can be covered by 'self-insurance'. Insurance Companies need me more than I need them so what's in it for me?
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance replied: Liability cover on home insurance has limitations; home insurers do not always cover third party liability for riding on the road and not in competitive events. Secondary membership style liability cover often excludes claims against other members and is limited to certain types of competitive events.
If you can afford to self-insure then lucky you, not everyone is in your position with £2000+ spare to cover a replacement.
We don't just offer replacement cover for theft and crash damage; there are a number of other benefits which add value. Cover for accessories such as race wheels and power meters, cover for cancellation of race fees, breakdown insurance are all examples of other covers we include.
TheDoctor asked: Why don't most companies want to insure bikes? The prices they quote certainly suggest so. As has been previously mentioned I insure my car for way less than quoted for my bike.
Alex Mills of Dynamo Cover replied: We do want to insure your bikes. But as explained earlier, this is a new market for insurers, and as such isn't as developed as other insurance products.
The one thing I would point out is that they are not the same product. Car and bicycle insurance policies are completely different animals (it's as different and nonsensical as comparing cornflakes to a sausage). Bikes are harder to trace, easier to move on, easier to steal, don't need a licence to use them, can be stripped down and sold online, easier to damage, easier to get injured... You see where I am coming from?
At the end of the day it's risk management. It's finding out what's at risk, and then getting a policy to protect you from the financial consequences of that risk.
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance added: We are aimed at the racing enthusiast where there is real value in buying cycle insurance. If all you do in your car is commute then it's difficult to compare our prices but if you tried to insure your car for racing at a track day you'd soon see cycle insurance is reasonably priced.
The car insurance comparison is a common question and we have tried to solve it. We believe the theft risk decreases as bikes get more expensive and the amount we charge reflects this fact. We also give a full 50% discount on additional bikes as you can only ride one at a time, so compare us to a fleet of cars and well come out on top.
Sergius asked: Does anyone offer a decent policy that can be rolled into my home/contents insurance as an high value added extra.
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance replied: Short answer: No. If you buy home insurance speak to an underwriter to agree the proposed use. Most policy wordings don't include what is covered when riding a bike. If you train regularly and race UK and abroad you will need the home insurer to confirm in writing they are happy offer you cover. Shopping around for quality home insurance to include bike cover takes time and often means you have to choose a more expensive policy. Standard home insurance can be sourced cheaply on the internet, having separate cycle insurance is simple and not as costly as you think.
Sergius asked: Why not take into account usage like my car policy does? A weekend leisure rider whose bikes are either locked up or being actively ridden pays the same as someone who rides around London every day and chains their bike up outside (from what I can see).
Eversure Cycle Insurance replied: It would be pretty difficult to prove the mileage of a cyclist and from our experience cyclists want to evidence a minimal amount. If we were to start asking for mileage evidence, this would be impossible to police and may infuriate some of our policyholders.
That said, this is nice idea and, perhaps, one day technology will provide a reliable and fair solution which everyone is happy with and we could consider this at Eversure Cycle Insurance.
Sergius asked: What is covered exactly? My bike getting nicked from my house is one thing, but what if I crash and no-one is at fault apart from me? If I crash indirectly due to another road user, directly because of another road user?
Alex Mills of Dynamo Cover replied: Few points here, I'll answer them on behalf of Dynamo Cover:
Stolen bike - Yes that's insured, subject to using appropriate lock
Accidental damage - Yes that's insured
Crash indirectly because of other road user - Yes that's insured.
Crash directly because of other road user - Yes that's insured, we'd cover the loss in case the car was uninsured, but could possibly recover the losses from the car insurance company.
Cycle insurance companies will either offer a 'pre-packaged' product, or like us at Dynamo Cover, we offer a 'build-it yourself' product. This means you can choose what you want to insure. Usually it's better on price as well, as you'll only be paying for the cover you need.
Sergius also asked: Are policies just covering the bike, or potential losses due to damage to me?
Eversure Cycle Insurance replied: We have a personal accident benefit for severe personal accident such as loss of limb or death. Conversely, some policies cover loss of earnings, but they may not offer the same benefits for the bicycle.
Eversure Cycle Insurance recommends you speak with an IFA about protecting you and your family.
DeCockburn asked: How can I insure my bike which has an unusual 1990s Scanini Profilio frame with Colnago Precisa forks? It's Columbus MS tubing. Whole thing kitted out with Campagnolo stuff and worth in excess of 1,000, but insurers' websites have no idea what the f**k it is.
Alex Mills of Dynamo Cover replied: I know what it is, and I'll happily insure it for you.
Some general advice to other riders is that if you can't find it online when doing a quote, just call the company and ask them. If the company will insure your custom bike a good tip is take a photo of it, preferably of you with it. The reason is in the event of a claim, it helps you prove to the insurer what equipment was on the bike, and that it was yours.
I can only talk about Dynamo Cover here, but with our quote engine customers just need to put the value of the bike including third-party components and they get a price to insure - simple."
a.jumper asked: What insurers cover component theft? That's the main thing that could attract me to specialist insurance over house add ons but seems usually excluded?
Alex Mills of Dynamo Cover replied: We at Dynamo Cover do - We look at the bikes on an individual basis, and we insure third party components & custom builds for no extra cost.
Our cover is also valid should any of your components be stolen from the bike.
Eversure Cycle Insurance replied: We are not familiar with other insurers' products and not permitted to comment on them by our regulator, but we can confirm that Eversure Cycle Insurance covers component theft. In the event that you have upgraded parts, please ensure that you have evidence of ownership for the parts that need insuring as well as the bicycle itself.
There are a number of data-dot component marking kits on the market and to avoid the aggravation of replacing components we believe that these are a worthwhile deterrent.
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance replied: We do.
Bicy Insurance replied: We can't speak for other companies, but Bicy Insurance understands that it's often not the entire bike that's appealing to thieves, but parts of it instead. That's why, in the event of a theft, we will replace any part or parts which are stolen.
Giles Pargiter asked: I have cover from CTC and can get foreign cover from my bank for a nominal fee so please explain why specific bike insurance is worth having?
Bicy Insurance replied: If your CTC doesn't include foreign cover, it sounds like it may be a fairly basic policy. By opting for specialist bicycle insurance you'll not only be covered for accidental damage, mechanical breakdown and theft, but you'll also get worldwide cover, public liability, personal accident and legal expenses cover all included as standard.
kevinmorice asked: What is actually covered beyond my what my house insurance covers?
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance replied: With home insurance you may not have protection for your bicycle away from home. The value of your bike may exceed the policy maximum; it is likely not to include third party liability especially whilst racing. Cover on most home policies also has restrictive warranties, excluding cover in an aircraft hold or in the boot of your car.
We can cover all of these things, we can cover single bikes up to £15K or a fleet up to £50K all for theft and accidental damage. We include competition cover, race fee cancellation cover, accident management and cycle breakdown rescue.
Finally, we asked: What's your best tip for getting the cheapest quote possible without compromising cover?
Alex Mills of Dynamo Cover replied: Insurance is calculated risk, so you'll be paying for your individual risk. It is very important that you answer all questions honestly, as insurers may not pay out if you've supplied false info.
My two tips are:
Don't accept gimmicks. A discounted first year could mean a price hike in year 2
Call them. Ask them over the phone if they can give you a better price.
Remember, competitive cover is cover at a good price. Cheap cover is something you could find that doesn't cover all your risks, therefore it's useless when you come to claim.
Eversure Cycle Insurance replied: Firstly, cheapest it not necessarily best. As with any purchase, whether it is an insurance purchase or not, do your homework, check comparison sites, read reviews and ask around. Eversure Cycle Insurance use feefo to gather independent reviews about ourselves which are published on their website and ours. We cannot withhold anything that our customers have to say and we hope that the reviews which we receive say a lot about us.
Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance replied: Make sure you pick an insurer that is suitable for the type of cyclist you are. If you race and travel it's clearly us . If you only commute then unless it's an expensive e-bike and you want breakdown cover then probably pick someone else.
Bicy Insurance replied: If you use your bicycle for commuting to work and leisure purposes only, you'll probably save money by not going for a policy which includes cover for professional racers. Aside from the basic features however, with there being such a high risk of theft and damage associated with cycling, it would be wise for any cyclist to go for a policy which includes extra benefits such as personal accident cover, public liability and legal expenses cover.
Thanks to the insurance suppliers who took the time to answer our questions:
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.