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Half of UK cyclists have no insurance or inadequate cover, warns insurer

Bikmo sounds alarm as it releases 2020 data showing that theft accounts for half of claims on its policies

A specialist cycle insurance firm has warned that it estimates that half of cyclists in the UK currently have inadequate cover, or none at all. The company, Bikmo, has meanwhile released claims data relating to 2020, in what it says is “an effort to set a new standard for transparency.”

According to Bikmo, theft accounted for 49 per cent of claims it received during 2020 – a 23 per cent rise compared to two years ago – with damage to bicycles and equipment responsible for a similar percentage.

It said that the number of claims related to incidents taking place at customers’ homes had doubled compared to the previous year, with more people now storing and riding their bikes where they live, presumably an effect of lockdown and the shift towards working from home.

Among other trends identified by the company from its analysis of thousands of claims received last year – 98 per cent of which it says it paid – is that the average claim amount is falling, down from £1,675 in 2017 to £1,293 in 2020.

The company attributed that to an increase in the percentage of bikes insured with it that are valued at £500 or less, now standing at 29 per cent of bicycles it covers compared with 18 per cent in 2017, which it says reflects the number of new and returning cyclists seeking policies with it.

More than half of claims – 56 per cent – came from people identifying themselves as road cyclists, with commuters making up 25 per cent and mountain bikers 11 per cent, followed by eBikes at just 7 per cent of claims.

By month, October saw the most claims, despite widespread press reports of a spate of bike thefts in the spring, including from NHS key workers, as the country entered lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on Bikmo’s Open Project data for 2021, the company’s CEO David George said: “2020 has been a year like no other.

“Whilst presenting significant challenges and personal tragedy for millions across the country, it has also seen a positive shift in the way we travel.

“Believing strongly in the values of openness and transparency, we have today released insights from our claims data in 2020, so that we can share some of the trends we’re seeing as well as better predict what lies ahead.“

He also outlined his top five predictions in the cycle insurance market for the coming year, as follows:

1 – With theft claims in 2020 nearly double what they were in 2017, sadly we expect this trend 2 – continue with an estimated 45% growth in our bike theft claims in 2021. Although thieves are continually becoming more sophisticated, it’s worth noting that we expect the overall number of thefts to rise as we see a spike in riders, rather than the rate of theft per capita increasing.

2 – Anyone who assumes their bike is covered by their home insurance should check the small print very carefully, as many will not cover incidents away from the home or accidental damage, and may have a single item/bicycle limit as low as £500. As a result, we expect over 50% of UK cyclists to have no or little cover.

3 – The European Cycling Federation (ECF) estimates that European eBike sales will increase to 17million per year by 2030. With insurers now starting to understand the different riding behaviours of eBike riders, we believe insurance for eBikes will grow in line with eBike sales. Our recent study found that 38% fewer insurance claims arose from Bikmo riders on eBikes compared with traditional bikes.

4 – We’re hopeful that mass participation events will restart in 2021. We believe that when this happens, interest from riders will be extremely high and entrants will be looking for insurance policies that offer extensive event cover as standard.

5 – As more and more people start to realise the many benefits of cycling and active travel, we expect to see a boom in the number of personal leasing/hire schemes especially through employer-led schemes. As a result, we expect to see increased demand for insurance and service products within this space.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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