HomeRenters InsuranceConsidering Getting Bicycle Insurance? Here's What You Should Know

Considering Getting Bicycle Insurance? Here’s What You Should Know

Getting your bicycle stolen sucks. It sucks a lot less if you have bicycle insurance.

That’s right: you can insure your bicycle. If it’s stolen or damaged, your insurance will cover the cost of replacement or repair. (Well, it should cover the cost. We’ll get to the terms and conditions in a minute.)

If you’ve been pedaling around uninsured all your life, you probably have questions. How much does bicycle insurance cost? Does it cover everything, from mugging to racing accidents? Is it really, truly worth it? Read on for answers.

1.Not Everyone Needs Bicycle Insurance

Unlike car insurance, bicycle insurance is not a legal requirement. A simple rule of thumb can help you decide if you should get it anyway. “You should insure your bike if you can’t afford to replace it out of your bank account,” said David Williams, COO and co-founder of Velosurance.

That said, there’s more than price to consider. There’s also liability. Most e-bikes are street legal without insurance. “All it takes is for a pedestrian staring into a cell phone to step out in front of an e-bike rider,” Williams said. “All of a sudden, it becomes the rider’s fault and once EMS is called, a lawsuit is not far behind.”

That $5,000 racing bike? It makes sense to insure it. The $50 fixie you got off of Craigslist? Probably not necessary. The $2,000 e-bike that goes nearly 30 miles per hour? You might want to get liability coverage, just in case.

2. You Might Already Have It

Good news, renters. If you have renters insurance, it may already cover your bike. Lemonade’s Extra Coverage policy covers accidental damage, theft and mysterious loss, for example. Just check with your insurer to make sure if, how and when bicycles are covered.

The news is not as good for homeowners. “Homeowners insurance has serious restrictions,” Williams said. A $500 limit for bicycle coverage is common. That won’t go very far at the bike shop these days. Additionally, making a claim on a bike can prompt your insurance company to raise your rates – or drop you as a customer. “Their idea is that three small claims means a big claim is coming.”

In short, renters insurance can be a good bet for bikes. Homeowners insurance, less so.

3. Bicycle Insurance Is Usually Pretty Cheap

Let’s say you don’t have existing coverage. How much will it cost to cover your bike?

It depends on a range of factors. For starters, different companies offer different rates, so it’s always a good idea to shop around. Opting for more extensive coverage could push up the price. Racing accidents probably won’t be part of the basic package, for example. You can also expect to pay more for e-bikes, folding bikes and fancy road bikes.

Even your location can affect the price. Warmer weather means more bike rides – which also means more bike accidents and thefts. “Someone in Minneapolis who has their bike in a basement for six months a year won’t pay as much as someone in Miami,” Williams said.

That’s enough about hypothetical price variation. Here are some real numbers. When I plugged in some numbers to Velosurance’s online estimate tool, I got rates ranging from $8 per month for a $500 bike to $50 per month for a $10,000 bike. In other words, the typical monthly price will fall somewhere between Netflix and cable.

4. You Need to Make Sure the Right Clauses Are Covered

It’s always a good idea to read the fine print. That’s especially true when it comes to your bicycle insurance policy.

Why? There are many different ways to lose a bike. Your policy may not cover all of them.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list to consider:

  • Theft from your house: Any policy worth its salt should cover theft from your home.

  • Theft while you’re out and about: Some bike insurance policies’ “theft away from the home” section can get awfully victim blame-y. Did you leave your bike in a shared space, like your office bike shelter? Are you sure it was secure? Did you use a Kryptonite U-Lock? Can you prove it? Read through the restrictions before you get your bike stolen – and miss out on coverage on a technicality.

  • Mugging: A masked criminal stealing your bike out from under you is rare, but it does happen. Check if this category is covered – especially if you ride a particularly valuable bicycle.

  • Accidents during races: Not all insurers cover race day damage. If you’re planning on pushing your pedals to metals, opt for insurance that covers racing.

You don’t necessarily need insurance to cover every single one of these possibilities – especially because that could jack up the price. But you do need to understand what it will cover to make an informed decision.

5. You Can Cover Accessories

There’s bike commuters and then there’s cyclists. If you belong to the latter category, you probably have more than a bike to protect. You have a helmet, a Garmin, clip-on shoes and singlets, too. Most insurers are happy to cover these add-ons.

6. Making a Claim Involves Some Paperwork

What happens if you actually have to use your insurance? It depends on what happened and what your policy states.

As an example, let’s say a Velosurance customer got in an accident and needed a tune-up to ride again. Williams said the first step would be pretty simple: “You would take your bike to your preferred local shop for a repair estimate.” You would also send over a statement explaining what happened.

If your bike was stolen, the process would be different. As long as your bicycle was locked to an immovable object, you should be covered. But you would need to do some legwork to prove that. A police report and a picture of the defeated lock would be a good start.

Either way, if everything looked OK, you could expect a check (minus your deductible) within about a week. Losing your bike hurts, but a reimbursement check can dull the pain.

Contributor Ciara McLaren is a freelance writer with work in Insider, HuffPost and elsewhere.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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