How to get your bike insured

·5-min read

More and more of us are using pedal power to take to the streets. Government figures show that, since the start of the pandemic, levels of cycling have increased by an astonishing 200% at weekends and 100% during the week.

But whether you’re in the saddle to get fit, improve your green credentials, save on costs – or all of the above – it’s worth thinking about getting it insured.

Unlike for cars, it’s not mandatory to have insurance for your bike. However, bicycle insurance can protect you financially if your bike is stolen or damaged; you’re involved in an accident; or you injure someone else or their property. So it’s worth checking out your cover options.

How do I insure my bike?

There are two main options when it comes to insuring your bike. The first is under the contents aspect of your home insurance.

Home insurance

While most home insurers will include bikes, don’t assume the cover is automatic. You may need to arrange ‘pedal cover’ as an add-on to your existing policy.

It goes without saying that a bike will also count as ‘items away from the home’ which, alongside laptops, phones and some jewellery, comes under the personal possessions aspect of your contents cover.

There are pitfalls however when it comes to insuring your bike under your home cover.

Watch out for value limits for example, as home content policies impose caps to the amount you can claim for each bike, for example £500 or £1,000. These caps become especially important for higher-value bikes.

Home insurance may also exclude certain storage for your bike, such as outhouses.

Also, think about how your contents insurer would respond if you needed to make a claim. Many charge chunky excesses, which is the first part of any claim that you must pay out of your own pocket.

A claim for your bike on your contents insurance could also push up your home insurance premiums in the future.

Bike insurance

It’s also possible to take out insurance specifically for your bike. While considerably more expensive, this is a much more comprehensive solution if you are a serious cyclist with expensive kit.

For example, as well as being covered for theft or damage, both at home and when you’re out and about, a bicycle insurance policy will cover you for personal injury while cycling.

You’ll also benefit from public liability cover if you have a mishap and injure someone else or their property.

Standalone bicycle insurance can also include:

  • Cycling accessories, such as a helmet, lights or GPS device

  • Overseas trips

  • Loss of earnings, if you can’t work due to a bike accident

  • Competition use, such as a road race, triathlon or a time trial.

How much does it cost to insure my bicycle?

Choose to cover your bike through your contents insurance and, unless its value exceeds any single item limit, the cost should be reasonable. For example, it could be as little as £10 or £20 for a run-of-the-mill bike.

Costs for separate cover through a bicycle insurance policy will depend of course on the value of your bike and any extras you want to include.

Cover for a £5,000 bike (with no extras) which is kept in a locked garage, might cost from around £250 a year to insure for example, while cover for a £2,000 bike could cost from £100 a year.

Always shop around to ensure you have the cheapest deal for the cover it offers.

Will an excess be payable?

Excesses are a standard part of bicycle insurance and you should typically expect to pay anything from £50 to a couple of hundred pounds should you need to make a claim.

Some policies also carry a percentage based excess, typically 10% of the claim, and you pay the greater of that or the stated excess.

What small print should I be aware of?

Bicycle theft is pretty common, with an estimated one stolen every 90 seconds in the UK, so insurers will expect you to look after your bike.

This will include locking it with an approved lock to something ‘immovable’. The policy may also specify how long you can leave it in one place, generally no more than 12 or 24 hours.

You’ll also need adequate security at home. Even standalone bike cover is unlikely to pay out if your bike is left in an unlocked shed, for example.

If you’re using your bike as a courier, a standard bike policy won’t cover you. Instead you’ll need to take out a specialist policy for cycle couriers.

Always check the policy small print for exclusions and make sure you and your bike stay on the right side of them.

What about e-bikes?

Unlike push bikes, where you can pick up a used one for less than £50, electric bikes start at around £600 with most models costing £1,000 plus. As with top-of-the-range push bikes, e-bikes will probably benefit from being insured separately.

How do I get a good deal?

To get the best deal, start by shopping around for bike insurance. It’s also the easiest way to compare the myriad of cover options against quotes for annual premiums.

You can bring premiums down by opting for a larger excess. Just bear in mind that if the level you opt for is likely to prevent you from making a claim, the insurance becomes counterproductive.