For many, the warmer weather means it’s time to dust down those bikes and get out and about.
But whether jumping on your bicycle to enjoy the countryside or cutting the cost of your daily commute, it’s worth making sure you’re properly covered in case something goes wrong.
Bike theft is the obvious risk, but there’s also damage and repair costs to consider – plus the potential costs of personal injuries from cycling, should you have an accident and need treatment or time off work, perhaps.
Specialist insurance is available for cyclists. Here’s what cyclists need to know about insurance…
Why it pays to be insured
Bikes can be very expensive, so losing them – perhaps because they’ve been stolen – can be costly. And the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says cyclists involved in a collision with a pedestrian or another road user could find themselves liable to pay damages to the injured other person, if they can be shown to be totally or partially at fault.
How you could be covered
You may want to shop around for a specialist cycle policy – particularly if your bike is high value. However, cycles may be included in your home contents insurance, so check the policy.
Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for the ABI suggests finding out if there’s any cover for your legal liabilities in your home contents insurance. If there is legal expenses cover, then this may cover pursuing a claim for damage to your cycle or personal injury.
Insurance can provide benefits such as lump sum payments for serious injuries, cash payments if you are admitted to hospital, or emergency access to dentists and physiotherapists following an accident. But the exact terms will vary, so check the details.
Why it may be worth taking out added cover
Even if cycles are covered by an existing insurance policy, a fixed monetary limit may apply. If your cycle is worth more than any monetary limit, Tarling suggests seeing if it can be insured separately under your home insurance. If this isn’t possible then you may want to take out a separate cycle insurance policy.
A standalone policy may also cover you for any legal liabilities, and give you personal accident benefits. Shop online or using an insurance broker.
The potential pitfalls to watch out for
It’s important to understand what might – and might not – be covered. If you’re taking your bike abroad on a cycling trip, check you’ll still be covered.
Also, Brian Brown, from Defaqto, which analyses financial products, cautions that payments may be declined if you cause an accident because of your own recklessness, or an illegal act.
Brian says that for personal injury claims, some bike insurers will want consumers to pay an excess towards the claim – potentially £100-£500. Some contents policies may have exclusions for bike thefts from outbuildings.
What should cyclists bear in mind if weighing up insurance policies?
Pedal cycle insurance policies may provide a wide amount of cover – for example, damage to cycle clothing and accessories including helmets, as well as personal accident cover and cover for the hire of a replacement cycle during a claim for loss or theft, says Brian.
They may also give cover during sporting events such as triathlons and races, which would often be excluded by home insurance policies.
“Any cyclist who does not have home contents insurance should seriously consider buying it, or getting a pedal cycle insurance policy which provides personal liability cover,” Brown urges.