There are a lot of new cycling insurance policies on the market and many of them warn that there is a good chance you won't be covered by your home insurance.
But is this really the case? If you used a price comparison site, you might have chosen the cheapest home insurance policy available and in that case the cover might not be very broad. But not all home insurance policies are created equal - if you chose your home insurance based on quality, you might have more cycling-related cover than you think.
You can skip ahead and join our dedicated Home Insurance for Cyclists group, featuring a policy with extensive cover for bikes and a 10% member discount.
Alternatively, read on as we investigate if your home insurance is good enough:
In this article:
What makes for Home Insurance with good cycle cover?
Home insurers can sometimes advertise the value of the bikes that they cover, but these are just headline figures - there are several other things that we believe are important to check when considering the home insurance with good cycle cover. We think the following factors will help you identify the best home insurance for pedal cycles:
The theft, loss and damage limit for unspecified bikes
"My greatest fear is that when I die my wife sells my bikes for what I told her they cost" Ha ha! Buying bike insurance...— Pikes On Bikes (@pikesonbikes) August 29, 2015
If your bike is worth less than this limit, there will be some cover for them automatically. If not, you have to tell your insurer about ('declare' or 'specify') the bike. For some insurers the limit is only £500, whereas for others it's far more. This is important as if you have an expensive bike over the insurer's limit that you don't declare, your insurer is unlikely to pay out in the event of a claim. Note that having a bike over the insurer's limit means you are likely to have to pay extra to cover it.
We say: always check this limit before you buy
The theft, loss and damage limit for specified bikesThis is simply the highest-value single bike the insurer will cover. Again this varies a lot with More Th>n only covering bikes up to £1,500, but M&S Bank covering bikes up to £15,000 on their Premier policy. If you have more than one bike, there will often be a maximum limit on the total value of all bikes too.
We say: again, it is important to know this limit and more expensive home policies do tend to have higher limits
Theft cover from outbuildingsSpecial terms can apply to bikes stored in 'outbuildings' (e.g. a shed or a garage). Whilst some insurers don't cover bikes in outbuildings at all, many insurers will as long as the building is appropriately secured. Importantly, insurers might also put a limit on the value of any items that are stolen from outbuildings to encourage you to keep expensive items in your main home. This can be important as the limit can be lower than the value of your bike - for example Aviva's home insurance puts a limit of £2,500 on outbuildings cover, whereas they will cover bikes in your house up to £3,500.
We say: from our research, it appears that many insurers are now extending their cover to include outbuildings but not all. A good home insurance policy for a cyclist using outbuildings would have a limit high enough to cover all the bikes they are storing in outbuildings, just in case they are all stolen or damaged at once.
Accidental damage coverBikes are not always covered for accidental damage by home insurance policies. Confusingly, adding an 'Accidental damage cover' as an option does not always mean bikes are covered for accidental damage (they can be specifically excluded from this optional cover) - M&S Bank for example, despite their very high £15,000 limit for a bike on their Premier policy, have no options for accidental damage to bikes. In contrast, John Lewis include accidental damage to bikes when you select their bike insurance add-on. There can also be limits on whether accidental damage cover applies in the home or outside it too.
We say: accidental damage can be important to pedal bike owners due to the use of the bike, carrying it on bike racks, and so on. Insurers' terms vary a lot so make sure you ask yours if accidental damage is covered, and whether it is covered outside the home. Also ask if there is accidental damage cover when the bike is being used as some exclude this.
- Cover abroad
This is an advantage that many specialist bike insurance policies say is not provided by home insurance companies. However, our research of the best home insurance providers suggests that most in fact do cover your bike abroad.
We say: this is again worth asking as it is sometimes an option and there can be limits on the number of days you can take your bike abroad. There can also be different extents of cover - some policies limit you to Europe, some are Worldwide. It is also worth asking if any liability cover applies abroad or if that is restricted to the UK.
One of the most expensive risks you face when cycling is the potential to damage others and their property - for example you might be at fault, causing a car crash that writes off a Mercedes. Or you might cause an injury that costs tens of thousands to treat plus damages from a lawsuit. Liability insurance is designed to cover this.
We say: All the home insurance policies we looked at had liability cover that would include cover for cycling incidents. Always check as this can be a seriously expensive risk to be uncovered for.
@Bullardjohn good luck John, have a blast :)) friend bought a time trial bike, said it doubled cost of his house insurance!— Perfect Clarity (@callforclarity) March 22, 2013
Just as every insurer charges a different amount for their home insurance, each one also charges different extra amounts for a bike that is over the 'unspecified limit'.
We say: we tested the insurers in our Best Home Insurance for Bikes section to see how much they'd charge to add a £1,500 bike to the policy. The lowest was Hiscox (no charge), then John Lewis (£34.09 for the year) and the highest was More Th>n (£83.73 per year) - all based on an SW15 postcode, quoting in September 2015.
Best Home Insurance for Bikes
If you buy the cheapest insurance available, it might not always be the best. Some insurers are even stripping out parts of their cover to make sure they top the price comparison tables - whilst the price-tag is good, the cover might be quite slim.
Instead of focusing on price, we looked at the pedal cycle cover provided by the top 3 insurers in our Best Home Insurance rankings (based on combining research from three different sources) and the 3 largest UK Home insurers according to the Association of British Insurers, excluding Lloyd's Banking Group who do not underwrite their policies themselves.
|John LewisGet a quote||First in our Top 10 Home Insurance. This is John Lewis' highest tier of policy (Plus and Essential levels also available)|
|HiscoxGet a quote||Second in our Top 10 Home Insurers|
|M&S BankGet a quote||Third in our Top 10 Home Insurers|
|Direct LineGet a quote||The largest UK Home insurer. Direct Line's higher tier policy - standard 'Home Insurance' also available|
|AvivaGet a quote||The second largest UK Home insurer. One tier of policy at Aviva|
|More Th>n (part of RSA)Get a quote||The third largest UK Home insurer. One tier of policy at More Th>n|
Bought By Many have also negotiated an exclusive 10% discount on Home Insurance for Cyclists from Sterling. This includes a £5,000 limit per bike (with more expensive covered on request), worldwide, with liability cover, outbuildings cover and accidental damage included. It also covers your bikes whilst in use, including for sportive events (but not official race events).
You can get access to this offer through our Home Insurance for Cyclists group.
Home insurance versus cycling insurance: what cycling risks are not covered by home insurance?
You can get a members-only discount on specialist cycling insurance through our free Cycling insurance group.
Despite the policies above which are home insurance with good cycle cover, there are several things that (to our knowledge) they don't cover, but are usually covered by a specialist cycling insurance policy. These include:
- Personal accident - cycling policies often include a benefit that pays if you suffer a severe injury whilst cycling. Typically they pay out larger amounts for extreme injuries (e.g. typical could be £20,000 in the event of losing a limb) but usually don't cover less extreme injuries.
- Racing - official race events and time trials are not covered by home insurance companies, but are by cycling insurance. This is particularly important in the case of accidental damage or personal liability as collisions and injuries are more likely in these events.
- Accessories - cyclists can have a high value of equipment attached to their bike - perhaps a GPS or some strong commuting lights. Additionally their kit can be expensive and costly to replace if damaged in a fall. Home insurance will often cover these if they are stolen with the bike, but not on their own, whereas typically there is an amount of cover provided by cycling policies.
- Cycling breakdown cover - cycling specific policies can sometimes include cover to help you get to a railway station or back home in a cab in the event of an unrepairable breakdown. This is something that's unlikely to be covered on your home insurance.
- Multi-bike discounts - not something seen on home insurance policies, but cycling and bike insurance policies can include multi-bike discounts that lower the price if you are lucky enough to have a wide range of bikes.
You can read more about cycling specific policies in our Guide to Cycling Insurance
What does this mean for me?
The choice over whether to go with a cycling specific policy or a home insurance policy with good cycle cover is down to your own specifics and preferences. In general, there is a good level of cover for bikes and cyclists through the right home insurance policies, and if you are a recreational cyclist it may cover the activities you are planning and the bikes you own. If you are a more serious or competitive cyclist, the extra features and benefits of a cycling specific policy may become attractive if you think you need them.
Do I really need insurance for cycling?
It's an individual decision, but we think it would be a wise decision for this person: