Do I need Bicycle Insurance?

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Cycle Insurance is not compulsory. Whether or not you need bicycle insurance depends primarily on the type of cyclist you are and the amount of risk you are willing to take both for yourself and, importantly, for other people. Before you dismiss this out of hand as not applicable, you might want to consider that pedal bike insurance can support you with the following:

  • 1. Theft of your bicycle.
  • 2. Injury to yourself or to third parties.
  • 3. The financial, emotional and physical health costs should you be uninsured.

It must be said at the outset that cycling is generally safe. Risk increases with your speed and the type of roads you ride, that much is obvious. However, accidents can happen, as can theft. So, why should you buy bicycle insurance?

1. Theft.

Pedal bike theft is a ‘low-risk, high-reward’ crime. Here are some bicycle theft statistics:

  • Railway stations are hotspots. 16,725 bikes were stolen this way in 2016-17.
  • In 2017, there were 290,000 bicycles stolen, according to the ONS.
  • Stealing a bicycle is easy, even when bike locks are used.
  • High value bikes are targets for thieves.

So if you have spent anything between £300-£3,000+ on your bike, can you afford to lose that money?

2. Injury

While it is true that cycling remains a safe activity, with very few people actually killed and injured per 100,000 miles cycled, it remains the case that it is very easy to fall off even at slow speeds. This is especially true if one uses ‘clips in’ shoes. However, should you hit someone or collide with or fall into traffic, the costs could escalate dramatically.

Cycle Safety

Do you cycle to work? Do you cycle in cities? Do you see pedestrians and car drivers using phones? If so, you know the hazards all around you.

More serious accidents, involving collisions with cars and left turning lorries, may see you off work for weeks, months or forever. Do you have sickness and accident insurance that covers this eventuality?

Check your small print to ensure a policy covers the type of cycling you do—commuting, weekend leisure, dirt track, sportives and ‘racing’, whether that is in training with friends or you trying to beat a personal best.

Types of Cycling Insurance.

  • Third party liability: Covers you if someone else or their property is damaged by your actions.
  • Cycling related legal assistance: Legal help to bring a claim against another at-fault party (e.g., a motorist or local authority that doesn't look after potholes).
  • Theft: Cover if your bike is stolen or damaged during attempted theft.
  • Breakdown cover: Assistance if you have a mechanical breakdown while out cycling.
  • Cycle Activity Provider: Cover for those organising cycling events or instructors.
  • Travel/Health for cyclists: Cover when you're travelling abroad, not covered by the NHS, etc.

See: Cycling UK for more details.

Cycling and the Law

What if you hit someone else—even if it is ‘their fault’?

in 2018, a cyclist was charged with dangerous riding and ordered to pay compensation to a pedestrian who was on her phone. The cyclist was in the right, passing a green light. Yet, he was ordered to pay over £100,000. He was uninsured and faced bankruptcy. The judge acknowledged the pedestrian was equally at fault.

Apart from the financial cost, is there not also an ethical case to consider? Even if the third party is at fault—say someone with sight or hearing impairment, a child or a frail older person not looking—do you really want to incur the emotional costs exacerbated by the financial? If you are at fault, and they claim compensation for injury, what if you can’t pay?

As a road user, you will be in close proximity to other road users. Therefore, you have a ‘duty of care’ to them just as they have to you. Your ‘duty of care’ will be enhanced by insurance.

Repair Cost

If you are a club cyclist and your bicycle is an expensive carbon framed model, you will know the cost of repair or exchange is very high indeed. A frame can easily cosy £1,000 plus to replace.

Repairing your old city commuter can cost you £15-£25 per hour unless you have the skills and tools yourself.

Things to Consider

There are of course many things to consider when taking out insurance:

  1. Full or partial—just your bike and/or for covering yourself?
  2. Does your home insurance cover it?
  3. Should you speak to specialists? Cycling UK and the British Cycling Council can help.
  4. Do you really understand ‘third party liability’? This is something you should already be familiar with.
  5. Check out exceptions, premiums and limits.
  6. Insurance becomes invalid if you don’t lock your bike!

Finally, cycling is healthy and safe. Don’t let the risks of theft and potential injury put you off. However, if you want to weigh up the cost of insuring your body parts, cycling equipment or future ability to work, then why not get a quote for cycling insurance?

NimbleFins Editorial Team

Our team of writers has expertise in personal finance, travel, cars and pets.

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