Cycling is one of the nation's favourite recreational activities, with over 2 million people taking to the saddle at least once a week, according to British Cycling . And it's big business too, with Mintel estimating that £2.35bn was spent on bikes and accessories in 2015 .
Alongside record interest in cycling, fuelled by recent British successes at events such as London 2012 and the Tour de France, insurers have reported a 75% increase in people insuring their bikes between 2009 and 2015. But is bike insurance really a necessity?
Cover for bikes under home insurance
Your bike is likely to be protected by your contents insurance when it's in your house or shed. So if you were burgled and it was stolen, you should be able to make a claim. You could also be covered if your bicycle(s) were damaged as a result of something like a fire or flood.
For cover when you're out and about, you might find that your personal belongings cover will offer some protection against theft, loss and damage, if you have it.
Bicycles are often subject to exclusions and limits within standard home insurance policies. There are often upper limits on the value of cover offered, as well a standard excess. So if your bike cost £1,200, you don't want to find that your cover is capped at £500 and you need to pay a £100 excess.
You may also find exclusions around accidental damage and claims arising from organised biking events (such as races).
Benefits of bike insurance
The policy limits of bicycle insurance are likely to be more appropriate for modern pedal cycles (as some insurers call them!). Over 30% of online bike specialists Wiggle's range is priced at £1,000 or above, so cover limits need to be appropriate for your bike. You could also find that the excess is lower than you have on your home insurance policy.
Some insurers will offer international cover for all bikes registered at your address, making it well-suited to families and those who take their bikes away with them.
Most insurers will only cover your bike for theft away from your home if it's locked securely to an object that can't be moved, or if it's in a locked building. You may also find that there's a different limit on claims where a bike is stolen from your shed, garden or garage.
You could find that some policies will offer elements more in keeping with car insurance than home insurance, such as breakdown recovery or cover for the cost of bike hire whilst yours is being repaired.
Public liability cover might be included, to cover the cost of any damage or injury to third parties as a result of your use of your bike and you may find fewer exclusions around cycling races and organised events.
Some policies may also add provision for accessories on your bike, although things like GPS devices might be best protected by a separate gadget insurance policy.
As always with insurance policies, you need to check that the policy you buy is right for you. Bear in mind how you use your bike, what you use it for and how much it would cost to repair or replace and make sure that the policy you select offers cover for your circumstances.