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Insider guide to cycle insurance

Cycling is a simple pleasure, free from the bureaucracy of driving. It’s a good thing cycle insurance is not mandatory, but that’s not to say it isn’t a useful thing to have.

travel by bicycles with kids

At its most basic, cycle insurance protects against theft. However, cover from a specialist is similar to the fully comp policy you have for your car and will protect against accidental damage, vandalism, third party claims, breakdowns and includes personal accident and European cover.

There is a wide range of cycle insurance to choose from and while they might appear the same, each company offers a slightly different level of cover and imposes different restrictions. The devil is in the detail, so it pays to do your homework. It’s important to read the small print and to check a company’s reputation online. Pay particular attention to the following;

Devaluation

If your policy claims to offer new-for-old replacement, check that it applies to bikes of any age. Being told that your four-year-old bike is worth only half the amount of a new bike is a kick in the teeth and will leave you out of pocket if your bicycle is stolen.

Excess

An excess is the amount that you will be asked to contribute towards a claim. If the excess is low or non-existent, check the minimum claim amount as this is effectively the same thing. In other other words, if an insurance company has zero excess, but has a minimum claim amount of £100. The ETA has a low standard excess of 5% (with a minimum excess payment of £25). A higher excess (10% / minimum £100) applies to bikes stolen from a public place between 1am -4am.

Quick release components

What is the insurer’s policy on quick release seat posts and wheels? Does it require that the wheels are locked? A good policy should cover these against theft, with a low excess and understand that it’s not always possible to lock both wheels as well as the frame. The ETA covers quick release components as standard and does not specify that they need to be locked.

Racing and training

All ETA cycle insurance covers you against theft, accidental damage and vandalism when you are training for, or competing in, races, sportives and other mass-participation, non-professional events. During triathlon events, the insurance covers your bike while it is in the transition zone (as long as the area is being supervised by a marshal, which is usually the case).

Making a claim

The best test of an insurer is what happens when you claim. Can you do it online? Is your claim farmed out to an external company? Will one person deal with the claim or will you be passed from pillar to post? If your bike is stolen, will you be forced to use a supplier of their choice or will you receive a cheque so you can choose to use the bike shop you want? These are not answers that you will without looking carefully at an insurer’s website or asking them directly, but they are best answered before you choose which policy you buy.

Storage

Check whether the way you store your bike – both at home and when you’re out and about – is covered. For example, if you keep your bicycle in a shed, is a particular level of security specified for the door or padlock? If so, you can end up having to fork out for an expensive lock unexpectedly. ETA cycle insurance simply requires that the shed door is locked – it does not specify the lock type. If you have any questions about the way you store your bike, please get in touch as we happy to assess storage arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

Theft of components

When you lock your bike in public, are parts like the saddle and wheels covered against theft? And if they are, does a minimum claim amount, or high excess, make it hardly worth putting in a claim in the first place? ETA cycle insurance covers all bike parts against theft and vandalism, including quick release components such as saddles and wheels.

Electric bicycles, e-bikes and pedelecs

ETA cycle insurance covers all road-legal electric bicycles, e-bikes and pedelecs as standard. If your pedelec weighs less than 60 kg, and its output does not exceed 250 W/15.5 mph, it can be covered under the cycle insurance at no additional cost. The battery is covered against theft and Cycle Breakdown comes as standard.

Custom, vintage and self-build bikes

We build our own custom bikes, so we have first-hand experience of how precious they are, and of what we would expect if they got damaged or stolen. It’s the reason we don’t charge extra for custom, vintage or self-built bikes.

Cycle touring

If you take your bicycle on holiday with the family, travel to sporting events across Europe, or go cycle touring further afield, ETA Cycle Insurance extends cover for theft, accidental damage and vandalism worldwide for 90 days per year. The policy covers your bike for damage caused while in the care of an airline, rail or coach operator.

Comprehensive bicycle insurance from the ETA includes the following as standard:

  • Theft, accidental damage and vandalism
  • New-for-old replacement – no devaluation ever
  • £5m third party cover on any bike
  • £20k personal accident cover on any bike
  • Family and friends cover
  • Worldwide cover for 90 days + European cover for 90 days
  • Cycle Breakdown cover – including punctures
  • Replacement cycle hire
  • Free legal advice
  • Race events and triathlons covered
  • Claims handled in-house
  • Every cycle insurance policy you buy helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future