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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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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35 comments

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Chris Hayes | 2 years ago
0 likes

Only half? I'm shocked. 

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Tired of the tr... | 2 years ago
0 likes

The article could be a bit clearer that they are talking about insurance against theft of the bicycle, not about liability insurance.

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cyclisto | 2 years ago
3 likes

Uninsured bicyclists is a big problem, but even bigger is the uninsured pedestrians as the numbers are even bigger. The mother of all problems that no ones dares to mention is the rising number of uninsured bed users that is a liability bomb waiting to explode, as when Corona ends and increased intimacy will inevitably follow, spring noise levels will be tested.

There will be some heavy lawsuits from neighbors accusing poor uninsured guys for insomnia.

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LastBoyScout | 2 years ago
2 likes

"You need more insurance" says company that sells insurance!

Just been on there for a quote - annual policy for all our bikes is nearly £800, which is slightly less than the house and contents insurance.

Compare that to ~£250 to insure my car!

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wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
4 likes

Just went to bikmo

£50 a month for my 3 bikes. I pay less for my car.

Sold secure locks etc.
So only covered in the house, or when locked up at work, not on club rides, sportive, audax etc. Possibly covered for a mugging.

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Sriracha replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
0 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

Just went to bikmo

£50 a month for my 3 bikes. I pay less for my car.

Sold secure locks etc.
So only covered in the house, or when locked up at work, not on club rides, sportive, audax etc. Possibly covered for a mugging.

Just added a bike to my household policy with Nationwide. Cost - nil. Yup, zero, nada, free. Why; because my policy is due for renewal in a few months, so the additional premium came to under a fiver, so they waived it (I thought that was worth a shout for Nationwide). Theft from home, or away from home (including Europe) whilst locked to something immovable. You say Bikmo want £50 every month??

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CXR94Di2 | 2 years ago
1 like

No legal requirement to insure a cycle to ride on the road.

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wycombewheeler replied to CXR94Di2 | 2 years ago
3 likes
CXR94Di2 wrote:

No legal requirement to insure a cycle to ride on the road.

True, but for about £15 a year for 3rd party cover it would be foolish not to.

A personal injury liability case could easily award more than most people could pay.

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LastBoyScout replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
3 likes

Most people should have 3rd party liability cover as part of their house insurance.

Although it's one of the reasons I took out British Cycling membership, so it was distinct from that.

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Rendel Harris replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
2 likes

wycombewheeler wrote:
CXR94Di2 wrote:

No legal requirement to insure a cycle to ride on the road.

True, but for about £15 a year for 3rd party cover it would be foolish not to. A personal injury liability case could easily award more than most people could pay.

Definitely - we joined British Cycling (with included TPI and legal advice etc) the day after that poor sod got done for his life savings and more for a hitting that yoga instructor who stepped in front of him whilst looking at her 'phone as he rode through a green light.

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Hirsute replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
2 likes

It was 50/50 though. His major error was not getting legal representation within a short time which would have reduced the costs to 10-12k max.

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Rendel Harris replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like

hirsute wrote:

It was 50/50 though. His major error was not getting legal representation within a short time which would have reduced the costs to 10-12k max.

True - but if he'd had BC membership, for example (other insurance schemes are available) he could have availed himself of the included legal advice and found that out.

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wycombewheeler replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Definitely - we joined British Cycling (with included TPI and legal advice etc) the day after that poor sod got done for his life savings and more for a hitting that yoga instructor who stepped in front of him whilst looking at her 'phone as he rode through a green light.

Remembering that she was not crossing against a red light, and the green light the cyclist rode through was some 50m back.

Also that many people were crossing the road at the time, and he made little attempt to slow down, instead attempting to thread a line through the crowd.

I've never caused an accident on car or bike, but it's possible it could happen and I would not want to explain to my wife why we had to sell the house to cover liability.

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Hirsute | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm intrigued grahamd and joanneh as to who your insurers are as I've haven't found that with the ones I've had.

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Grahamd replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
0 likes

Mine is with a main high st bank, as an employee of the bank it would be inappropriate for me to go into details on this forum. It is however not a staff policy, but a premium policy that is priced accordingly.

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Hirsute replied to Grahamd | 2 years ago
0 likes

Thanks. When renewal comes up in a couple of months, I will be looking around a bit more.

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Dingaling | 2 years ago
2 likes

Advice that I came across years ago said if you can afford the loss then don't pay to insure something.

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wycombewheeler replied to Dingaling | 2 years ago
0 likes

Dingaling wrote:

Advice that I came across years ago said if you can afford the loss then don't pay to insure something.

exactly, only insure what you can't afford to lose.

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alansmurphy | 2 years ago
5 likes

This is quite a long advert!

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Chris Hayes replied to alansmurphy | 2 years ago
0 likes

Not a very good one.  Road.cc's admittedly self selecting straw poll deems that insurance is pointless and offered by shysters who never pay out. 

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Sriracha | 2 years ago
7 likes

"Insurance company says cyclists carry too much insurance cover." Now that would be a news story.

Quote:

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

Translation: Our products are unattractively priced.

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Fursty Ferret | 2 years ago
10 likes

Is it at all possible that the reason many cyclists don't have specialist bike insurance is because it's astronomically expensive? I can insure a car for less than half what I was quoted for a Canyon Ultimate. 

Sure, there's a greater risk of the bike being nicked but the insurance company would likely find an excuse to wriggle out of the claim anyway - "Yes sir, you might have locked your bike up with a "Sold Secure Gold" rated lock, but did you check that the lamp post that you fastened your bike to was also gold rated? I think not. CLAIM DENIED". 

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mdavidford | 2 years ago
6 likes

Quote:

A specialist cycle insurance firm has warned that it estimates that half of cyclists in the UK currently have inadequate cover

Isn't it for the bike owner to decide what represents adequate cover, rather than for the insurer to decide what they'd like to be paid for?

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Chris Hayes | 2 years ago
10 likes

From what I've seen, bike insurance products are extremely unnattractive financial products with high premiums (GBP 580 p.a. for my Factor 02, a bike that is either being sat on or inside a locked apartment, inside a locked apartment block, inside a gated, 24-hr guarded community in Central London) and - if it did get nicked they would probably not pay out because I'm not using a lock which weighs as much as my bike! 

So, no - Bikmo - I won't be lining your pockets.  I'll self insure.  I've had one bike nicked in 20 years...it was a Cervelo worth GBP 3,000 - but by not giving money to 'Bikmo' and the like I had nominally saved GBP 11,600 to replace it.

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Hirsute replied to Chris Hayes | 2 years ago
2 likes

Even something in the 1500-2000 range costs a lot of extra premium.
I just take the standard cover and self insure the rest.

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Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
8 likes

Presuming this figure of un / under-insured cyclists relates to theft cover rather than third party liability, which any cyclist covered by a standard house insurance policy almost certainly has.

The problem with theft cover is that even the owners of high end bikes are statistically going to be financially better off if they assume the risk themselves. Having your house burn down is likely a catastrophic financial consequence and worth insuring against given the tiny premium in comparison to that potential loss. Having your bike nicked is not.

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fwhite181 replied to Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
5 likes

This is really key. If someone launched bike insurance that covered me if my bike was stolen in any event (i.e. even if it was just propped up against a cafe wall, or on a rack at the start of an event etc..) I'd be on that like a shot. But whilever the insurers are going to charge ~1/5 to 1/4 the cost of the bike per year in premiums and then try and wangle their way out of any theft claim unless I can prove that I nailed my bike to an admantium lock pinned down with Thor's hammer it's just not worth it. Plus, my contents insurance includes the option to add 'protect against loss/theft of bikes outside the home' for a fraction of the cost of dedicated bike insurance. 

Added to which, the most likely place for my 'nice' bike to get knicked from is...from inside the brick shed it's locked inside of. At which point my contents insurance covers it anyway. 

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Awavey replied to fwhite181 | 2 years ago
2 likes

Absolutely, I've looked at those types of insurance policies several times and never worked out what additional benefit Id get from them, since its patently clear the one thing you most want, decent coverage in case of theft,wont be covered

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Hirsute replied to fwhite181 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Home insurance does but it stops around £500 and ramps up if you want to increase the value insured.

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JoanneH replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
4 likes

I've got three bikes ranging in value from about £700 to £1,800 insured on my home & contents policy, including away from the home, and it's never increased my premium massively. When I added my new gravel bike last year I think I paid £12 more for it.

The only problem is that parts aren't covered, so when I got knocked off by a car and knackered my newish, expensive front wheel, I couldn't claim because the frame was fine. Luckily my British Cycling 'Ride' membership covered me for a claim against the driver which eventually paid out handsomely for injury and replacing all the stuff that was damaged.

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