Bicycle insurance: The right of way for responsible riders

bike insurance guide

As any top notch cyclist knows, protection is vital. So have you considered bike insurance?

Whether you’re a lycra-clad commuter or a two-wheeled weekend warrior, you may not think you need bike cover. Well think again!

You may not know it but not having the right kind of insurance can cost you a bundle should life throw you (and your bike) off course. If you’re serious about your new set of wheels or simply want the best protection it’s worth comparing bike insurance policies.

What is bike insurance?

Bike insurance is cover designed specifically for cyclists. Just like any vehicle, riding a bicycle (particularly a very expensive one) poses multiple risks. Bike insurance protects you against theft or damage to your bike, damage to other people’s property (like a parked car) and the risk of liability should you injure someone else while riding.

Every cycling insurance policy is significantly different and in order to find the right policy, it’s important to identify your specific needs.

Cycling accidents: The serious stats

With its plentiful health benefits and traffic dodging convenience it’s easy to see why Aussies have turned to cycling in droves. However, alongside the trend towards two-wheeled transport comes a rise in cycling accidents and deaths. And the cost of cycling injuries can truly sting! In a recent court payout, an ACT cyclist was ordered to pay more than $1.6 million after knocking a fellow rider off his bike.

According to Allianz Insurance:

  • Cyclists have the highest proportion of self-reported near-miss crashes
  • The average probability of a cyclist being seriously injured in a collision is almost 27%
  • A large factor influencing vehicle and bicycle collisions are drivers failing to see cyclists

So you’ve taken a tumble and now your bike is now a mangled mess. Or perhaps it’s been stolen from outside your friendly neighbourhood café. Or worse still, you’ve crashed into another cyclist or a pedestrian causing them serious bodily damage. If you’re passionate about your ride, bike loss or damage can seriously put a spanner in the works. That’s where bike insurance comes in very handy.

What are the different types of cover available?

Bicycle damage/theft: While home and contents will usually only provide limited insurance should your bike be burgled, bicycle cover provides theft cover for high-end bicycles. Additionally, unlike home and contents cover, bike insurance will cover your bicycle if is stolen away from home. Your policy will also usually include crashes and incidents such as ‘garage door collision with bike on the roof.’ Also most home and contents policies would not provide cover for damage while riding or if the bike is damaged away from home.

Personal injury or death: Both bicycle insurers Velosure and No Worries include cover for personal injury or death in their policies. Velosure also provides international coverage in the event that you are injured whilst riding overseas.

Third party property and liability: Most insurers offer third party liability insurance if a cyclist were to damage another person’s property or cause injury or death. Cover ranges from $1 million to $30 million.

Bike insurance while travelling: Want to see the world with your bike in tow? Traditionally bike insurers provide cover for your bike while travelling in Australia only. However some, like RealBike insurance will cover you overseas provided you notify them before you travel. NoWorries also provides worldwide cover with no notification required.

Where can you buy bike insurance?

These specialist bike insurers are just some of the companies offering high performing cover for your two-wheeler.

  • Bikesure: Bikesure provides two policies; Bikesure Sport and Bikesure Pro. Both provide worldwide cover (up to 90 days) plus cover while racing and liability insurance.
  • Cyclecover: This combined home contents insurance from Allianz includes theft, accidental damage and third party liability. Cyclecover will cover an unlimited number of bikes and has no locking requirements for bicycle theft cover.
  • NoWorries Insurance: Backed by underwriter giant Lloyds, NoWorries provides cover for high-end bikes. They’ll also cover custom parts and accessories and replace the full cost of your bike provided it is less than two years old. NoWorries provides cover to Aussie cyclists both at home and away.
  • NRMA Insurance: Issued by Swann Insurance, NRMA has two policies; Bike Essentials (provides $1,000 cover and excludes carbon fibre bikes and racing cover) and Bike Plus (provides up to $20, 000 cover and includes carbon fibre bikes and racing cover). Third party liability cover is capped at $1 million.
  • Velosure:: Underwritten by the Hollard Group, Velosure covers commuters to racing cyclists and includes cover for theft, crashes, and personal or accidental damage. Their Premium Bicycle Insurance policy can also be extended to cover you if you are cycling overseas.
  • Real Bike Insurance:Also underwritten by the Hollard Group, Real Bike Insurance features and cover levels are the same as Velosure’s.
  • Swann Insurance: Based in Victoria, Swann insurance covers theft and accident insurance and liability cover for third party property damage (including injury and death). Their Elite Cover policy provides up to $20,000 in bike cover and includes cover for racing.
  • QBE: Bicycle cover from QBE comes as an addition to their Home Contents insurance. QBE provides theft and accidental damage (cover is based on the value of cover a customer chooses) and third party liability up to $30 million.

Remember depreciation applies!

If you’ve invested heavily in your bike, chances are you want to be reimbursed for its full cost should it be stolen or damaged.

Where one policy may offer you full replacement value for your bike, irrespective of its age, another might only reimburse the bike for market value at the time of loss.

It’s worth shopping around and comparing bike insurance before you buy as some insurers like QBE and Cyclecover will replace the full cost of your bike (less any applicable excess). On the other hand insurers like NoWorries and Velosure will only offer market rates for bikes over two years old.

What’s covered?

Although bike insurance policies vary greatly, most policies cover you for:

  • Theft from your home and while you are out and about
  • Damage to your bicycle when used for commuting, training and recreational use
  • Accidental damage

What’s not covered?

It pays to check your policy wording closely before insuring your bike as every policy will differ in what they will and will not cover.

  • Locked up: When it comes to theft, some insurers may not cover damage to the bike ‘while in use’ or theft in ‘open air’. Additionally, there may be strict definitions around locks and safety, meaning your claim could be thrown out if your bike wasn’t sufficiently secured when it was stolen.
  • Evidence needed: Without sufficient proof of purchase (such as receipts and serial numbers), your claim could be unsuccessful.
  • Racing risk: If you were to injure a third party or damage another person’s property, while participating in either a paid or competitive sporting activity, you may not be covered. Again, check that fine print!
  • Stunts and high-jinx: High risk types of bike riding (such as stunt, trick, ramp and BMX riding) are usually excluded from. You must also be riding legally (i.e. not cycling through red lights) in order to be covered.
  • Working wheels: Those who use bicycles for work such as couriers or mobile services may be excluded from cover.
  • Friendly thief: If the person who has swiped the bike is known to the victim (i.e. a housemate or relative) there may be no cover.
  • Commercially sponsored riders: Professional cyclists who are sponsored would not be covered. You are required to be the owner of the bicycle for it to insured.

Why compare bike insurance?

When it comes to bike insurance, great cover is an essential!

Bike insurance policies can vary greatly in their features and exclusions. Comparing bike insurance policies using a comparison like ours is a great way to see all the different policy differences at once.

Additionally, it’s just as important to understand your insurer’s policy thoroughly (by reading your policy documentation) so you know exactly when you’re covered (and when you’re not). After all, riding shouldn’t be an exercise in risk prevention!