Around 25 million people in the UK own a bicycle, cycling a total of 3.5 billion miles per year. But not everyone insures their bicycle, even though many bicycles now cost a four-figure sum. The latest figures show that there were an estimated 297,000 bicycle thefts in England and Wales alone.
So how can you make sure you’re fully covered in case of theft and damage? Are there any extras you need to consider, such as a separate bicycle insurance policy, to protect yourself further? And how can you reduce the likelihood of your bicycle being stolen in the first place? Let’s take a look.
How to add your bicycle to your home insurance
You should always double check, but home contents insurance often covers bicycles when they are in your property as standard. But don’t assume you’re covered when you’re out and about. If you want your bicycle covered away from home, you will likely need to add this specifically with your insurer. This may push up the premium slightly, but you’ll have greater peace of mind against theft and damage.
Remember – if you’re ever unsure about the cover you have, always check with your insurance provider.
Do you need a separate bicycle insurance policy?
If you can add your bicycle to your home insurance policy, you may wonder why you would want a separate specific bicycle insurance policy.
A separate policy can provide even more cover, such as public liability insurance (if you were to cause accidental bodily injury), personal accident cover (in case you hurt yourself) and roadside recovery (in case you need rescuing) – plus more. This extra cover may be worth considering, particularly if you go on a lot of lengthy rides or participate in sportives where you might be cycling far away from home. And if you take part in competitions like triathlons, you may want to consider a provider that covers for competition use.
Once your bicycle is insured, remember that you still need to take reasonable precautions. For example, you generally won’t be able to claim for theft if your bicycle hasn’t been securely locked to an object that can’t be moved or in a locked building. Wear and tear is also generally not covered – so you’ll still need to be responsible for servicing your bicycle from time to time. Any exclusions are generally made clear when you take out a policy – so always check this carefully.
How to reduce the chances of your bicycle being stolen
As many insurers will not pay out if you’ve not secured your bicycle properly, you’ll need to think about how to keep your bicycle secure. Here are some top tips:
Register your bicycle with the National Cycle Database, also known as the BikeRegister. Simply register your bike for free using your frame number, mark your bicycle using one of BikeRegister’s security marking kits (for a small cost), then apply a warning label to reduce the risk of it being stolen. All UK police forces have secure access to the BikeRegister, so if your bike is stolen you can ’flag’ it as stolen, then if it’s recovered by the police the bike can be reunited with you.
Keep your bicycle out of sight. And if you’re out and about, vary your routine. Stick to well-lit and busy areas.
Use the best locks you can afford. Using two locks is best – that way you can secure the frame and both wheels. And using two different types of locks is a good idea, as the would-be thief may need more tools to access your bicycle.
Lock your bicycle to a fixed object – and lock it closely together to make manoeuvring it difficult.
Lock it every time you leave it – even if it’s only for a few minutes to pop into a shop.
If you have a bicycle and you want it covered against theft and damage, check your home insurance provider first to see whether what they offer is enough for your needs. And if not, you could consider a separate bicycle insurance policy to give you additional protection that standard home insurance doesn’t offer.