Edited by John Leach
Last Updated June 1, 2021
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Do I need bike insurance?
If you've got an expensive bike, you'll want to add bicycle coverage to your renters or homeowners insurance policy to protect against theft.
If you bought a $100 bike, bicycle insurance is probably not a concern of yours. But a good bicycle can cost thousands, and if you’re an avid cyclist, you might even brag about your bike costing more than your car. If that’s the case, you’ll certainly want protection against theft or damage. In many cities, bicycle theft is on the rise due to a pandemic-induced increase in bike sales.
Most renters and homeowners policies provide some coverage for bicycles in the event of a covered peril, such as theft or vandalism, and your bike will likely be covered even if you are away from home. But dollar amounts are limited. Depending on the type of bike you have and what you use it for, it could make sense to purchase additional coverage or get a separate policy for your bike altogether. But it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, and the process of insuring your bike will be painless if you follow these steps.
One: Assess the Value of Your Ride
Getting the right coverage for your bicycle starts with knowing how much it’s worth. This will help you decide how much coverage you need to purchase and what your deductible should be.
You don’t necessarily need to pay for an appraisal to estimate the value of your bike. Bicycle Blue Book, the industry’s authority on bike valuation, allows you to find the value of your bike by brand, model, and year. You can also use Checkaflip to find out what your bike might go for if you sold it on eBay.
Two: Learn the Lingo
When reviewing bicycle insurance quotes, it’s important to understand the language used in policy documents. Here’s a brief overview of the terms you might encounter.
A premium is an amount you pay monthly, quarterly, or annually to maintain coverage for your bicycle. If you fail to pay your insurance premiums, you won’t be able to file a claim if something happens to your bike.
A deductible is a way for the policyholder to share some of the risk with the insurer. It’s the amount you’ll be responsible for before your insurance company will pay your claim. So if your deductible is $1,000 and your bike is worth less than that, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim.
The lower the deductible you choose, the higher the premium will be, and vice versa. While some renters, homeowners, and bike insurance companies offer $0 deductible policies, these typically come with a higher premium.
Your coverage limit is the total amount your insurance company will pay after your deductible should they accept a claim. There are different limits for different types of coverage. For example, you might have a $10,000 limit for additional living expenses and a $100,000 limit for liability coverage.
Your bicycle falls under personal property coverage. However, just because you have a $30,000 limit for personal property coverage doesn’t mean you can expect to be reimbursed for the value of your $2,000 bike. There’s typically a limit for different categories, and there may even be a limit for specific items.
Valuable Articles Coverage
Valuable articles coverage, also known as scheduled personal property coverage, is an add-on that covers specific valuable items against damage, theft, and loss. Think fine art, jewelry, musical instruments, and (you guessed it) bikes.
Adding this type of coverage raises your premium, but you won’t be subject to a deductible if something happens to your bicycle while you have valuable articles coverage. You’ll also be covered against more events, such as accidental loss.
Cash Value, Agreed Value, and Replacement Cost
Policies differ with regard to how they pay claims. There are three ways your insurance provider may assess your payout:
Cash value: If you have a cash value policy, your insurer will only pay the actual cash value of the item after depreciation. This is typically less than what it would cost you to replace the item.
Agreed value: If you have an agreed value policy, then you and your insurance provider have agreed ahead of time on the payout for each item you own. This guarantees you get the full amount in the event of a covered loss.
Replacement cost: If you have a replacement cost insurance policy, your insurance company will assess the cost to replace your stolen or damaged item. Sometimes, they might pay you the cash value first and then reimburse you after you’ve replaced the item.
Three: Build a Bundle or Go it Solo
In most cases, it’ll make sense to add bicycle coverage to your renters or home insurance plan. Adding scheduled personal property coverage will increase your premium, but it’s not likely to cost as much as getting a separate bicycle insurance policy.
However, there are some cases where it would benefit you to get a separate policy. Bicyclists who race or compete in triathlons are typically not covered by home or renters insurance policies. If you have an expensive bike and sustain crash damage, you could be on the hook for a huge bill without separate insurance coverage for your bicycle.
If you’re only worried about theft and not accidental damage, you could go the route of purchasing a bike lock with a theft warranty. However, keep in mind that a bike lock won’t protect you from a lawsuit if you cause an accident or property damage with your bicycle. You’ll need a renters or homeowners insurance policy for that. And if you want medical payments coverage to supplement your health insurance should you sustain a personal injury from crashing your bike, you’ll need a more robust bicycle insurance policy. If you’re injured on your bike by a motorist, your auto insurance policy will likely cover you, however.
Below are a few bike insurance options.
GEICO offers both renters and home insurance policies with the option to add scheduled personal property coverage and replacement cost coverage.
State Farm offers a personal articles policy that covers valuables, including bicycles. This policy generally has no deductible and provides worldwide coverage up to the replacement cost of your bike. It also covers most losses, but there are some exceptions.
Progressive offers scheduled personal property coverage for your bicycle and notes that you can expect to pay about 1.5 to 2 percent of the value of the item for the rider.
Specialist Insurance: Markel, Velosurance, SPOKE
If you need a solo bicycle insurance policy because you’re a competitive rider, you have options. Companies like Markel, Velosurance, and SPOKE provide a ton of extras you won’t get with your renters or homeowners insurance. You can be covered for things like your riding apparel, spare parts, and even roadside assistance.
Bike Lock Protection Guarantees
Both OnGuard and Kryptonite bike locks come with anti-theft protection offers. These kick in if your bike lock is broken or opened by force and your bike is stolen as a result. With OnGuard, your bike will be covered up to OnGuard’s maximum for that particular lock. Kryptonite will reimburse you for the lesser of the base cost of your bicycle or your insurance deductible. With either company, you’ll need to opt-in by registering your bike online.
Four: Ponder Your Preferred Coverage Level
While you may want full coverage for your bike, you might only need partial coverage for your other belongings. For example, do you want to add scheduled personal property coverage for every valuable item you have, or do you want to pay a lower premium? For each of the coverage types, consider the amount of coverage you’ll need.
Homeowners insurance generally has six types of coverage:
Damage to the house
Damage to other structures
Additional living expenses
Renters insurance generally covers personal property, additional living expenses, and liability, with some policies providing medical expense coverage.
All Risk vs. Named Perils Coverage
An all-risk policy covers anything that isn’t specifically excluded from your policy. For example, most policies exclude accidental loss unless you add scheduled personal property coverage for that particular item. Named perils coverage, on the other hand, only covers incidents specifically named in the policy. These policies usually cover 16 perils that account for most types of incidents, however.
Five: Shop ’til You Drop
Once you’ve picked out the coverage you need, you’re ready to pull quotes from different insurance providers. You can start with the companies listed above and also check out Lemonade and USAA (if you’re eligible).
Six: Research Time
You’ll probably find that the average cost varies widely depending on whether you choose an add-on or a solo policy. For example, the average Markel insurance policy costs between $250 and $300 per year, while USAA offers valuable personal property insurance for as low as $4 per month.
Narrow down your choices by what fits your budget, and research financial strength ratings, customer satisfaction ratings, and reviews to find your top pick.
Seven: Sign off on a New Quote
The next step is to formally sign up for the policy you want or add the coverage you need to your existing plan. You can usually get set up with automatic payments as well if you don’t want to have to remember to pay your bill every month.
Eight: Hope You Never Need Your Insurance
When it comes time to file a claim, you’ll be glad you insured your bicycle. First, check to make sure the damage or loss is covered by your policy. Your insurance company may require that you submit a police report and, if you were injured, a medical report. After filing a claim, you’ll receive a payout according to the terms of your policy. Keep in mind that filing a claim can raise your premium amount.
If you need to cancel your policy, you can usually do so by calling your insurance agent. Different insurance providers have different rules when it comes to refunds of prepaid amounts.
Bicycle Insurance FAQ
Yes, bicycle insurance policies usually cover theft, even when it happens while you’re away from home. However, there are some exceptions; your policy might specify that your bike needs to be stolen from a secure location, so you can’t just leave it outside without a lock.
Bicycles are typically covered under the personal property portion of your renters or home insurance policy. However, the amount of coverage you receive will be limited, and you’ll usually be subject to a deductible.
That depends on your needs and budget. The best way to find the best company for you is to compare quotes from different insurers. If you’re only a casual rider, adding scheduled personal property protection to your home or renters policy will probably suffice. If you race competitively, you’ll need to go through a company like Velosurance, SPOKE, or Markel.
The best and easiest way to compare insurance quotes is to use Insurify. You’ll only need to enter your information once to compare homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance rates that are customized to you. While we don’t currently offer a way to compare bicycle insurance or renters insurance, we may in the future.
How to Find the Best and Cheapest Renters Insurance
You can keep your overall insurance costs down by using Insurify to find car insurance quotes or home insurance quotes quickly and easily. It’s best to shop around for a new policy every six months since circumstances can change and so can your rates. But that doesn’t need to be a drawn-out process. Insurify ‘s artificial intelligence technology can find you the best deal in minutes.
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