Does Your Insurance Cover Your Bicycle?

Where to Get Coverage for Your Bicycle and What You Can Claim on Insurance

Woman with bicycle on side of road
Do you need special insurance for your bicycle or is it already covered?. Drazen_/E+/Getty Images

Bicycling is a fun outdoor activity that we enjoy at all ages. it is not only a healthy and fun leisure activity, but cycling is a great environmentally friendly way to get around, and a great way to become involved in competitive sport. Given all of this, it's not surprising that according to the 2016 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, for people between the ages of 6-24 16.9 million people participated in bicycling activities in 2015.

For the age group of 25+, there were 26.1 million participants in bicycling activities. That's a lot of bicycles being used by people every day!

Is a Bicycle Covered By Insurance?

The good news is that bicycles are covered as part of the contents on your homeowner's, renter, or condo insurance policy under the contents section of the policy, as long as your contents limit is enough to cover your bike, and as long as there is no exclusion or special limit of liability on your particular policy about bicycles. If your bicycle is covered on your personal property coverage on one of the above-mentioned policies, then it will usually be subject to a deductible.

What Is a Bicycle Usually Covered For?

Every insurance policy is different. You may have a policy that covers all risks or open perils, or one that is only going to cover specified perils for personal property. The base policy which covers specified perils will cover you for theft and fire, as well as some other named perils.

Is Bicycle or Cycling Apparel Covered?

Although many cycling insurance websites state that cycling apparel may not be covered by home insurance, if cycling apparel is not excluded on your personal contents section of the policy, then it would not be excluded, and therefore may be covered against specified perils just like all other contents of your home.

Please ask your insurance representative about this before assuming it is not covered.

All Risk Comprehensive Coverage vs. Named Perils Coverage on a Bicycle

An open perils or all-risk policy will have the best coverage, especially when you can consider all the things that go wrong with a bicycle. For example, because an open perils policy is based on the concept that unless something is excluded or limited, it is covered.

You get coverage for all kinds of things that are not excluded. Some examples may include mysterious disappearance, or for example, if you are busy taking selfies and you don't realize you've left your bicycle too close to the edge of the rapids and your bicycle suddenly slides into the river and gets damaged beyond repair. In an open perils or comprehensive policy, if the cause of damage is not excluded, it is covered.

In a specified perils, or named perils policy, if the damage is not listed, then it is not covered. This is a limited form of coverage. You can ask your insurance representative about what is covered and go over this specifically in regard to your policy because as you can see it makes a big difference in what you can claim for.

How Will a Claim Be Paid for a Bicycle? How Much Money Can You Expect?

If your bicycle is damaged due to one of the covered risks of your policy, like theft, for example, you will need to know if your insurance covers replacement cost, or actual cash value in order to know how much money you will get.

If your policy includes replacement cost coverage for your stolen bike, then you can expect to be able to receive the value it will take to replace your old bike with a new one of similar quality and style. Sometimes you may receive a partial settlement that covers the depreciated value, and then get the remainder of the amount, less the deductible (if a deductible applies) once you prove you have replaced the bicycle by providing receipts. Each insurance company will work differently. You can learn more about different ways a claim gets paid in tip number 6 in our article about understanding home insurance coverage options.

The basic claims settlement options that determine how much money will be paid in a claim are:

  1. Actual Cash Value - which is depreciated value at the time of loss
  2. Replacement Cost - value to replace the item
  3. Agreed Value - this is not as common, but may be the condition if you buy a specialized policy, or if you add a rider to cover the bike specifically. You have to ask your representative if this is an option, then what they may do is agree to a predetermined amount of insurance for your bicycle with no depreciation in a claim. This is similar to other specialized scheduled item insurance that is added to a policy, like for photographic equipment or jewelry.

Example of Actual Cash Value in a Bicycle Claim

If the basis of claims settlement on your policy is actual cash value, beware that this doesn't mean you are getting enough cash to cover your new bike. What it means is that they will give you the depreciated value of the bike. This usually amounts to half of the replacement value, if the bike is newer, then it may not have depreciated as much, so you may get more, but you will never get 100% of the value of the cost of a new bike in an Actual Cash Value situation. On top of that, don't forget that before they pay out the value, they will deduct the deductible, so you may not even get a payment if your deductible exceeds what they determine as the value to be paid.

Should You Make a Claim on Home Insurance for a Stolen Bicycle?

If you make a claim on your home insurance under the personal property coverage it is important to know how much you will lose for the deductible and if you will be penalized by losing a claims-free discount as a result of your claim.

If you lose a 25% claims free discount for 3 to 5 years on your home insurance costs, and you also lose $500 of the value you wanted to claim for the deductible, then you may want to really consider whether it make sense to make a claim on your home insurance for a bike.  The value of the bike becomes an important factor in the situation.

Discuss this scenario with your insurance representative before you have a claim so you can make a decision on whether or not you want to purchase extra insurance for this situation, or if you are okay with simply not making a claim if the bike is stolen. If having your bike insured is important, then there are other options to consider and it is best to do this before a claim happens.

Is Your Bicycle Insured While Traveling?

Your homeowner insurance covers you and your personal property temporarily removed anywhere in the world. Therefore if you travel with your bicycle, it would be covered when it is in your care and control, just as it would be when you are at home.

If you put your bike in the hands of a transport company, then you will want to check with your insurance company about how it is covered during that time, because it may be the third party who would be held liable for damage when the bike is in their care. These situations can be tricky, so be sure and ask if you will not be the one in control of your bike at all times when traveling around the world.

Will Your Personal Property Insurance Cover Damage to a Bicycle? 

Your personal property coverage on your home insurance policy will only cover bicycle damage if the damage occurs as a result of an insured peril.

If you drive your bicycle into a tree, for example, and your policy is specified perils or named perils, as we discussed above, then the damage to the bicycle may not be covered.

An all risk policy may cover this if the circumstances of the situation are no excluded. There are other specialized bicycle insurance options you may also want to look into who might over this if this is important to you and you find out it would not be covered under your current policy.

Your Personal Injury in a Bicycle Accident

Your personal injuries caused to yourself by your own fault would not be covered under a home, condo or tenant policy.

This normally falls under a health insurance policy. However, in comparison, some professional specialized bike insurance policies may include coverage for personal injury, You just need to decide if you already have that coverage through your health insurance, or a personal accident policy instead. Don't buy double insurance if you don't need it. Review your full insurance portfolio before jumping at insurance you don't need, only your insurance representatives can help you review this. Sometimes choosing to buy a personal accident policy may be more appealing to you since it may cover you for all kinds of accidents, not just ones on your bike. Credit card companies even offer this coverage sometimes. There are many options.

What Are Options for Insuring a Bicycle?

  • You may be able to have your bicycle automatically insured under your home insurance, as previously discussed above, subject to policy terms and conditions and subject to the deductible
  • You may buy a rider or endorsement to be added to your personal property coverage to get better coverage for your bicycle and possibly avoid a deductible in a claim.
  • You may purchase specialty bicycle insurance with a company like Velosurance, Markel Insurance or many other companies that you may find by searching online. Asking friends or associations like a bicycle club like the Bicycle Adventure Club (or others), your bike retailer or other cycling friends. Cycling enthusiasts often have great insider info or special packages they may be able to tell you about to add to your points of comparison.
  • Shopping around in your area and talking to bike shop retailers or cycling friends to find out what their experiences have been may be a good option to start your research. Know your options before making a decision.

Should You Buy Specialty Insurance for Bicycles or Mountain Bikes?

Special insurance can offer coverage that will cover many more risks than your home insurance policy. Depending on your needs and what kind of activities you do with your bike, this may be an option. These are some of the things you can ask a special bike insurer if you are trying to determine if you are getting a good policy. You will see from the list below that the coverage can be quite extensive, and allows for coverage during competitive sports in many cases. The key advantage is not having to claim on a home insurance policy and risk having your home insurance increase due to the loss of a claims-free discount. 

Special Bicycle Insurance? Is It Worth It? What's Covered?

Here is a list of what is covered by some specialty bike insurers that is not normally covered by home insurance or personal contents insurance.

Some of these items may be partially covered by home insurance, indicated with a * - however, each policy is different and it may not be covered to the same degree the specialty insurance would cover this.

Each specialty bike insurance program will be different, so again, these items can be used as a checklist for you to find out what is covered and make a decision. There may be more coverages or advantages available depending on the company you contact, and each item may be subject to a limit. Be sure and find out.

Only you can decide if it is worth it, but it is good to know what kinds of coverage are available so you can make a decision and compare your options when you speak to your insurance representative, agent or broker.

Specialty Bicycle or Cyclist Insurance Coverage Examples

  • Replacement Bike Rental when your bike is damaged
  • Racing coverage
  • Airline Shipping Coverage
  • Access to bike shop partner networks which can be useful when traveling
  • Roadside assistance
  • Crash or accidental damage
  • Damage or loss in transit
  • Full Value Coverage*
  • Medical Coverage*
  • Vehicle Contact Protection

Do You Need Liability Insurance for Bicycles?

Your homeowner, condo or renters insurance covers your personal liability subject to policy conditions and exclusions. Your personal liability may also provide limited coverage if you injure someone while riding your bike if you are responsible. MORE>>

Is Participation in Competition or Racing Covered By Insurance?

If you are participating in racing or other organized activities, you will want to check with your insurance company because any liability assumed by contract may be excluded, as well as liability for professional activities, and racing or competition. However some of the options we discussed above in "Options for Insuring a Bicycle" may offer coverage for this type of risk. It is really important to discuss with your insurance and make sure you have the coverage you need or you may be stuck with no insurance coverage for these activities and risks.

Should You Call Your Insurance When You Buy a New Bicycle?

If you are investing in a new bike, it is a really good idea to contact your insurance company to let them know about the new purchase. They will be able to review your specific policy and tell you:

  • if there are any limits pertaining to bicycles or sport equipment
  • what your deductible will be if you need to make a claim for your bicycle
  • if there is a special rider or endorsement you can add to your policy to get better insurance for your bicycle

Taking the time to discuss all of this before a claim will let you know exactly what to expect, and if you have invested a significant amount in your new bicycle, or have several bicycles in your home, it is really worthwhile to find out. On your next cycling adventure, if something goes wrong, you'll have the help and coverage you need.