Do I need bicycle insurance?

More and more people are choosing two wheels over four as their preferred method of transport, but if you’re one of them, you should make sure your bicycle is protected.

According to latest figures from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) pedal cycle traffic (cyclists on public highways, and the paths next to them) last year was 45.7% above 2019 levels, the highest level of cycling on public highways since the 1960s.

Whether you cycle as a hobby, as a sport, or just to get around, you may want to consider looking into bicycle insurance to ensure your bike is protected if it is damaged or stolen while you’re out and about.

Here, we explain the ins and outs of bicycle insurance, and why checking the small print of any policy you’re thinking about buying is crucial.

How does bicycle insurance work?

Bicycle insurance generally covers the cost of repairing or replacing your bike if it is stolen or damaged while you’re using it away from home. It may also offer a payout if you’re injured while cycling, or cover any legal fees you might incur from an accident involving another person.

Insurance policies exist for most different kinds of bikes. Sometimes these will be specialised policies, for example, specifically for mountain bikes or electric bikes, although some regular policies may cover these. Double-check the terms of a policy or check with the insurer before you commit to make sure that your bike will be adequately covered.

What does bicycle insurance cover?

Different insurance policies will cover different things, so it’s worth shopping around for a policy that suits you and your concerns. Some of the most common things covered are outlined below.

Cover for your bike

Most bicycle insurance policies will cover the cost of replacing or repairing your bike if any of the following happens:

  • Theft: If your bike is stolen and you need to replace it. This may also cover tools and accessories
  • Malicious or accidental damage: If your bike is damaged either intentionally or unintentionally and needs to be repaired or replaced
  • Bike hire replacement: If you need to hire an alternative bike while your current one is being fixed or replaced

Some policies will offer new for old cover too, if your bike is just too old and needs replacing. This may not be enough to cover the full price of a new bicycle, but it can still be useful.

Cover for you

Many policies will include cover against:

  • Personal accident: A lump sum payout in the event that you become seriously injured or die following an accident on your bike
  • Third party liability: If you cause an incident while riding on your bike, for instance, colliding with a pedestrian, then this will cover the cost of any claims made against you
  • Legal expenses: If you take someone else to court over an incident that occured on your bike that was not your fault, then this will cover your legal costs as you seek to claim damages

Additional options

You can also seek cover for specific circumstances if you feel you need it, though this will naturally increase the cost of your insurance. Such extra options include things like breakdown cover, cover for competitions or races, or overseas cover.

Do I have to pay an excess?

In many cases, yes, you will have to pay an excess in order to claim your cover. This may be a small percentage of the claim, an amount based on the value of the bike, or a fixed amount. Check your policy carefully to make sure that you’re getting good value for money.

You might be charged higher excesses in certain cases, for example, if your bike is stolen after being left in public overnight.

What is not covered by bicycle insurance?

Insurers may reject your claim under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Damage that is purely cosmetic and doesn’t stop the bike from working as intended, such as scratches or dents
  • Loss or damage where you cannot provide proof of ownership
  • Accidents where you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Incidents that occured while you were using your bike for work or monetary gain
  • Theft where you did not lock or secure your bike properly

As bike theft is not uncommon, most insurers will have specific requirements about the proper lock to use. Many insurers will ask that your lock be approved by ‘Sold Secure’, with either a bronze, silver or gold ranking depending on how expensive your bike is. Sold Secure is an independent, security product certification agency that holds the industry standard for security product testing. Check your policy carefully and make sure that you acquire and use the right lock, as your claim may be rejected otherwise.

How much does bicycle insurance cost?

The cost of bicycle insurance is determined by a few things:

  • How expensive your bike is
  • What you use your bike for
  • Where you live and where you keep your bike
  • Previous claims you have made
  • Any extra cover that you want

As with any insurance application, it’s important to be honest about everything, including the cost of your bike. If your insurer finds that you have been untruthful then this can jeapordise any claims you try to make.

Is my bicycle covered by home contents insurance?

Your bike may well be covered under your home contents insurance, but usually you’ll only be able to make a claim if something happens to it while it is at home, not when you take it out. You will usually need to confirm to your insurer that your bike is kept securely either in your home or in a locked outbuilding.

Bicycle insurance is a way to cover all of the things that can happen while you’re out and about cycling, or when your bike is locked up away from home.

Where can I buy bicycle insurance?

As with any type of insurance, it’s a good idea to compare different deals to find one that covers all of your concerns for a reasonable price. You can compare bicycle insurance deals from several different insurers with this free comparison tool. All you need to do is enter your details to get a quote.

Or, if you need some inspiration for a scenic cycle route this summer, check out our article 9 beautiful cycle routes in the UK.

Are you a keen cyclist? Have you taken out a bicycle insurance policy? We’d be interested in hearing from you. You can join the money conversation on the Rest Less community or leave a comment below.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

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If your insurance is coming up for renewal, it’s well worth checking the market for a better deal. It only takes a few minutes but could save you £100s a year, so why not check what deals are available now?

If your deal isn’t expiring soon, make sure you don’t forget – set up your free reminders here.

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