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Cycling has soared in popularity in 2020, with bicycle shops enjoying unprecedented demand as riders took to the empty streets during the lockdown.
Data from the Bicycle Association shows cycle purchases increased by 63% between April and June. But as the number of cyclists increased, so too did the number of thefts.
The insurer Admiral says reports of stolen bikes increased by 46% during the lockdown, with thieves looking for easy targets at a time when people were spending more time at home.
Here, Which? investigates whether you’ll be protected by your home insurance policy if your bicycle gets stolen, and offers advice on protecting your wheels from thieves.
Do home insurance policies cover bicycles?
If your bike is secured at your home when it is stolen, it is likely to be covered under your contents insurance policy.
Insurers set limits on how much they’ll pay out, however. For example, John Lewis and Saga only offer cover up to £500 in the event of a theft.
If your bike is stolen or damaged while away from your property, you’re highly unlikely to be covered by a standard home insurance policy.
Of the biggest insurers, only Admiral offers this feature as standard, and its cover only applies to cycles valued up to £350.
Most home insurance providers offer ‘pedal cycle’ cover as an add-on to their standard policies for a few extra pounds a month.
Buying extra cover will offer you protection if your bike is stolen or damaged away from your home, but again, the payout will be subject to limits. For example, LV’s cycle insurance add-on only provides cover up to £1,000.
If you have a very cheap bike, paying for cover may not be worthwhile as the cost of your insurance excess in the event of a claim may be more than the bicycle is worth.
- Find out more: home insurance add-ons, fees and charges
Should you get specialist bike insurance?
If you have an expensive bike (or several bikes), you might be better off taking out specialist bicycle insurance.
This is also the case if you ride your bicycle competitively, as most general insurers won’t cover damage incurred in races.
Specialist bicycle insurance policies usually cover theft or damage while the bike is stationary, damage or injury while riding and cover for accessories as standard.
Most offer extras, too, such as reimbursing race fees if you can’t compete, covering taxi costs in the event of an accident, and providing liability insurance if you cause an accident and injure someone.
Some hybrid policies are also available. For example, Pedal Cover (underwritten by AXA) offers combined policies designed for cyclists that cover their bike and include contents insurance for their home.
How much does specialist bike insurance cost?
How much you’ll pay for a bike insurance policy depends on a series of factors, including the value and age of the bike, what you use it for, and the level of cover you require.
We ran a series of quotes from major specialist insurers (Yellow Jersey, Cycle Plan, Assetsure and The Insurance Emporium) to get an idea of how much a policy might cost.
All of the quotes below are based on insuring one bicycle for leisure and racing use, and include £1m public liability insurance, personal accident insurance and theft cover. They also assume you’ll be paying for the insurance in one annual payment rather than on a monthly basis.
|Bicycle value||Cheapest policy||Most expensive policy||Cheapest policy (UK cycling only)||Cheapest policy (worldwide)|
|£1,000||£88||£128||Yellow Jersey ‘Essentials’ (£88)||Yellow Jersey ‘Ultimate’ (£125)|
|£2,000||£135||£218||Yellow Jersey ‘Essentials’ (£135)||Yellow Jersey ‘Ultimate’ (£192)|
|£5,000||£260||£485||Yellow Jersey ‘Essentials’ (£260)||Yellow Jersey ‘Ultimate’ (£372)|
|£10,000||£470||£937||Yellow Jersey ‘Essentials’ (£470)||Yellow Jersey ‘Ultimate’ (£671)|
Source: Protect Your Family, 6 October 2020. Quotes based on one bicycle only, and may differ if you include multiple bicycles up to the same value.
How to keep your bike safe
As we mentioned earlier, bike theft is on the rise, so it’s important to ensure your bicycle is kept secured and that you’ll be covered if you need to make a claim. As a starting point, follow these three tips:
- Buy good quality locks: A quality lock can help you prevent your bike being targeted by thieves. Some insurers provide a recommended list of lock manufacturers you can choose from. Make sure you follow these rules, as failing to buy from an approved provider could result in any claim being rejected. Specialist insurers are likely to have stricter rules over which locks they will allow.
- Keep your bike in a secure location: Ideally, it’s best to keep your bike in a secure private area, such as a locked garage. Even if you’re able to hide your bike awake, it still makes sense to lock it up too. If you need to keep your bike somewhere more public, attach it to something that can’t be moved, lifted, or broken easily.
- Register your bike: Add your bike to BikeRegister, a national cycling database that could help you trace your bike if it’s stolen. BikeRegister sells security kits with which you can mark your bike with a unique number, as well as stickers that can dissuade thieves from targeting your bike.
How to find the right home insurance
If you’re thinking of taking out a home insurance policy, we’re here to help you find the right deal.
Earlier this year, we surveyed 1,525 policyholders and assessed more than 100 elements of policies from the biggest providers before crowning our Which? Recommended Providers.
If you’re a Which? member, you can find out who topped the charts in our guide to the best and worst home insurers. If you’re not yet a member, you can sign up for a trial, which will give you access to all of our online product reviews.