On Your Bike, But Are You Covered?

cyclist insurance
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Paul Kavanagh (CID QFA CIP), Managing Director of McCarthy Insurance Group reminds consumers that cyclists don’t always need separate / specialist bicycle cover, but they do need cover!

We’ve gone bonkers over bicycles! Cycling for fitness and sport is now mainstream, and not just as a means to get from A to B. The Cycle to Work scheme has been hugely successful, over doubling the amount of bicycles in the 26 counties. Under the scheme employers can pay for bicycles and bicycle equipment for their employees and the employee pays back through a salary sacrifice arrangement of up to 12 months. The employee is not liable for Tax, PRSI or the Universal Social Charge on their repayments. The number of regular cyclists in Ireland is estimated at over one million. And I believe it’s about to get even more popular.

In line with the increase in cyclists across the country, we have also seen an explosion of specialist bicycle insurance providers coming into market. Many offer niche insurance for triathletes and those with high-end bikes costing the same as a small car. And that’s the point really, whilst the specialist bike market has exploded over the past few years, it’s still niche and only a tiny section of Ireland’s cycling community own the high-end bikes demanding specialist insurance cover.

For the vast majority of cyclists, cover under their household insurance policy is usually more than adequate, as it covers the bicycle and the policy owners liability, which is vital if they are involved in any type of accident. This type of policy is widely available for homeowners and tenants alike. The problem is that this benefit of household / contents cover is not as widely understood as it could be and in the buzz and marketing hype around cycling, many keen cyclists could be paying for specialist insurance unnecessarily – in effect doubling up on cover.

As long as the bike is locked securely, it is likely to be covered as standard by most home insurance policies – possibly with an upper limit for the value per bike. However every policy is different, so you need good impartial advice to find a policy that suits your needs. Your standard policy will not cover the bike when it is away from the home, so you will need an All Risks cover extension, as a simple add on to your policy.

Home insurance policies will cover bikes stolen from the home, whether they are in the house, garage, shed or other locked outbuilding, but with a limit on the value of the bike itself. While the average outbuildings limits range from €500-€5000.

Away from the home, cover limits tend to be a bit less for obvious reasons but even so, a limit of €600 is usually enough, considering the average claim for theft away from the home. Of course these covers only apply if the bike is locked securely to an immovable object.

Of course the downside of the popularity of cycling is that bike theft is rife. Looking at our claims data, bicycle thefts are one of the top claim made on home insurance policies and, sadly, 60% occur within the boundary of the home, with peaks in July, August, September and January. Don’t leave your bike ‘thrown around’ the boundaries, unless it is locked securely to an immovable object, like a gate, downpipe or a post set in concrete. It makes sense to be security conscious!

Our advice is to step up your bike security, perhaps starting with a good quality D-lock to secure the bike to an immovable object.

At home, keeping bicycles out of sight in a LOCKED shed, garage or outbuilding, if not the home or apartment itself, will keep most opportunistic thieves at bay and customers should be advised to have their bicycles marked and a photo of same on your smart phone, with detail of the identification number.

While some customers may feel they need to purchase separate cycle insurance on top of their home insurance policy, our staff are in the best position to explain the limits and options available. For some, a specialist policy will indeed be the best and most cost-effective option, but with the volume of higher value bikes in the market still relatively low, the true number of those needing this type of insurance will be very limited.

Do not assume that just because you have a comprehensive home policy, that you have cover for your €2,000 bicycle, you just purchased! Be sure and check it out, record it and photograph it, along with all your other valuables.