What Is Bicycle Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

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Ask any cyclist, and they'll tell you their bike is part of the family. They've named it, spent a significant amount of time riding it and usually store it in the house and out of the elements. 

It's not just an emotional attachment though—bikes can be a serious investment. With all the carbon components, disc brakes and electronic groupsets, it's not uncommon to own a bike worth upwards of $13,000

Sure, some homeowners policies can protect against theft, but what if you crash while out on a ride? Just like car insurance, bike insurance is a stand-alone insurance policy that covers not just your bike against damages, but theft and liability, too. 

What Is Bike Insurance? 

There are a whole host of bicycle-specific insurance companies currently offering plans, but for this example we'll reference one of the most popular: Veloinsurance. It's a team (that consists of cyclists) who have partnered with a U.S. insurance company to offer multi-risk policies only to cyclists. Markel is another specialty insurance company that offers bicycle insurance, as well as customized policies for small businesses and other sports and fitness applications. 

Veloinsurance policies include options that insure your bike at full value, meaning you'll be able to purchase a similar bike in case of a total loss. A total loss might include an irreparable damage in a crash or accident, or if your bike is stolen from a secure location. 

Home Insurance vs. Bike Insurance

As we mentioned above, homeowners insurance doesn't usually provide enough coverage for serious cyclists. Home insurance policies vary, but at the very most they partially cover the value of the bike from theft, theft away from home and sometimes medical payments. 

Bike insurance offers these same options, but with more complete coverage. Veloinsurance also includes crash damage, theft coverage, vehicle contact, personal liability, replacement bike rental, event fee return, cycling apparel, medical payments, racing coverage, electric assist bicycles and bicycle airline shipping coverage. 

Better yet, if you make a claim, it won't affect your premium on your homeowner policy.     

Coverages

What does this really mean for cyclists? Continuing with our Veloinsurance example, making a claim is about as easy as it gets. It's partnered with local bike shops across the country to take a look at your bike and determine whether your bike is repairable or not (and give you an estimate). 

The liability protection covers everything from injury, sickness, death or damage to personal property, with coverages in specific increments. Like most insurances, only pay for what dollar amount you're interested in. 

If your bike is damaged or lost while traveling—for example, stolen off the car rack or broken while flying—bike insurance will cover this loss or damage. Some other insurance providers offer this, but it can be difficult to make a claim. 

Just like the liability protection, medical coverage is also available through bike insurance. If you get in a crash and need financial assistance, it's a great way to supplement your health insurance and account for your personal contribution (up to the policy limit, of course).  

Bike theft is a common occurrence—especially in big cities and urban areas. Recovering a stolen bike is usually highly unlikely, and bike insurance offers theft coverage in case your bike isn't able to be recovered or is damaged while being stolen or returned. 

Crash protection is the most common type of bike insurance, and all bike insurance companies offer some form of this coverage. This includes everything from losing control and crashing on a descent, to having someone hit your bike from behind while on the trailer hitch rack.  

Many bike insurance companies (including Veloinsurance) offer worldwide coverage, so if you damage your bike or crash while outside of the United States or while traveling between countries, your bike is covered. It's an additional peace of mind that can take some of the stress out of traveling with a bike.

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