By Jordan Galeles
A good bike is expensive to replace if something happens to it. And we know that any kind of injury can result in extremely high medical costs. One way to rest a little easier is to have the right bicycle related insurance. Will homeowner’s insurance be enough? What about separate bike insurance coverage? What if a cyclist causes injury to someone else while riding? What about theft or vandalism? This article will provide the answers to all these bike insurance questions and more.
Typically, cyclists looking at bicycle insurance policies will want to look at several options: Homeowners insurance (including the option to add their bike as a scheduled item) for basic coverage, their own car insurance for cases when a car is involved and the motorist does not have adequate (or any) coverage, or even separate, specific bicycle insurance for better coverage for a wider range of situations.
Homeowners’ or Renters’ Insurance
Because companies may have nuanced differences in insurance policy coverage (such as assigned value and limits), you’ll want to check your existing homeowners, renters, or condo personal property insurance policy to see the specs of what they cover. Generally, traditional homeowners’ insurance will cover bikes in the event of a fire or theft and similar events under personal property coverage, but they aren’t an end-all-be-all for bike coverage, especially if you have a really nice bike or anticipate higher risk situations. You’ll want to make sure that bicycle insurance will cover it if you have your bike stolen.
Often, homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance cover bike theft, but keep in mind: When your bike isn’t locked up properly, it likely wouldn’t be covered because that would be considered negligence.
If a cyclist is in a bike accident and someone else in a car is at fault for damage caused to the bike, their auto insurance policy will likely cover the damage. If the party at fault is uninsured, cyclists will want file a claim under their homeowners or renter’s policy.
If you have a more expensive bike, you’ll want to investigate separate bicycle insurance from your homeowners, renters, or condo personal property insurance policy, since the limits may not be enough on those to cover the replacement value. There are more specific options related to bikes through scheduled personal property or separate specialty/bike insurance if that’s not enough, since homeowner’s insurance policies usually payout a depreciated value on bikes compared to what was originally paid. How do they treat a damaged or stolen bike?
If no car at all is involved, homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance can still cover bicycle accidents, even when the accident occurs somewhere other than your home or apartment. It’s best to check with your insurance company in advance to find out how your policy covers you in this situation.
Scheduled Personal Property
Traditional homeowners’ insurance may cover bike damage in a fire or theft but scheduled personal property coverage may provide further coverage such as if the owner loses or damages the bike and will exclude depreciation when calculating replacement value. To pursue scheduled personal property as supplemental coverage under your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy, cyclists can add their bike as a “scheduled item.” Lastly, those who have a scheduled personal property policy don’t have to pay a deductible on the items under the policy.
Homeowners insurance may not cover events like cycling apparel, e-bikes, racing coverage, or airline shipping. That’s when you’ll want to investigate more specific bicycle insurance.
Specialty Coverage / Bicycle Insurance
Sometimes regular insurance just doesn’t cover it and you’ll need something more specific. That’s where “specialty” or bicycle insurance comes in. Bicycle insurance usually covers damage, theft, vandalism, and injury to yourself or others and any related medical payments up to your specific coverage limits. How is the theft coverage limited?
Some bicycle insurance policies cover accidental damage, damage in transit, liability, and roadside insurance, like those found at companies like Velosurance, a specialist. You’ll likely have to add a separate insurance policy for your bicycle if you want coverage for damage caused to the bike through a fall or collision you caused.
Ask for a specific bicycle insurance policy, and be sure to get a bicycle insurance quote. Will the speciality coverage include replacement bike rental? Will it cover medical expenses? A bicycle insurance policy that is specialty insurance might only cover your bike and not things like medical payments. What happens if your bike is damaged while you are taking it somewhere and have a car accident? Will it cover a mountain bike if you were riding your bike off road?
Cyclists may also want to consider separate liability or disability insurance, especially if they are going into higher risk situations like races. Check your coverage limits. Most cyclists don’t race, but maybe you do.
Car Insurance for Cycling?
Your own car insurance can be important when it comes to what happens in some kind of a bicycle accident that involves an automobile. Why your insurance? Because the other motorist might only have a tiny policy that doesn’t cover your injuries, even if they are at fault. And the driver might not have any insurance at all, or money to pay for damages.
That’s why you need to talk to your car insurance agent about your UM/UIM policy. That stands for Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist. It means you are still covered even if the driver that hit you can’t pay because they aren’t insured or don’t have enough insurance. Check your coverage limit.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP), sometimes called Med-Pay
PIP insurance is also part of your car insurance policy in many states in the US. It provides no-fault coverage for medical bills and limited wage loss. It would be used in the case of a driver not having insurance, or not having enough insurance to cover your injuries in a car related accident while you are cycling. Depending on the state, your PIP insurance could cover you regardless of who is at fault in a collision.
Learn More About Bicycling Insurance Issues
The Velosurance blog writes about bicycle insurance things you should know.
Bicycling Magazine columnist and cycling attorney Bob Mionske writes about insurance issues as they relate to accidents and injuries.
More general bicycle related insurance advice from Bicyclelaw.com, including bicycle theft, dealing with more than one bike, liability insurance and personal liability.