Why it can cost more to insure your bicycle than your car

James Alston By James Alston

It’s hard to believe that bicycle insurance can cost the same amount as car insurance, but in many cases, it’s true. This can be confusing for some people; surely cars, which are larger and more powerful machines, would be inherently more expensive to insure?

But for various reasons outlined below, bicycles can sometimes cost the same, or even more, to insure than cars. And it’s not only bicycles - sometimes, it can cost more to insure your dog than your car.

To prove our point, we got a car quote from Direct Line for a 2016 Dacia Sandero Laureate. We used the example of a 32-year-old single male, who drove up to 10,000 miles per year just for commuting and social purposes.

Our quote for this driver was £352 for comprehensive cover. This includes personal accident cover up to £5,000, a 24/7 helpline and five years guaranteed repairs as long as you use Direct Line's approved repairer. Even better, this was with zero voluntary excess.

For comparison, we looked to insure an Émonda SLR 8 bicycle with Bikmo bicycle insurance. On a twelve-month policy, we received a quote for £457.44. This policy has no excess for bike replacements above £1,000.

This policy included cover for theft and race fee cancellations, as well as £2,000,000 in third party liability and worldwide cover for racing – but is more expensive than the cost of insuring a Dacia Sandero.

Remember this might not be true for everyone. Your car and bicycle insurance will depend largely on where you live, how old you are, and the make of your vehicle, among other things.

For more on the factors that determine your insurance, check out our articles on the top ten car insurance companies and best bicycle insurance policies.

There are a number of reasons why bicycles can cost the same (or sometimes more) to insure than cars:

  1. Some bicycles cost as much as a car. The Émonda SLR 8 we used for our quote example can be found on Trekbikes.com for around £5,500. The Dacia Sandero is available to purchase new directly from Dacia for just under £6,000. Your premium has to reflect the fact that your bicycle could be as expensive to fix or replace as your car.
  2. Some bicycle parts can be more expensive than a bicycle frame, and are more easily stolen. For instance, some wheels can cost upwards of a thousand pounds, and if your bike isn’t properly secured, they can be removed relatively easily. Other equipment, such as cycle computers, can cost hundreds of pounds. Computers, helmets and other equipment are usually additional extras, which can bring the premium up.
  3. Bicycle insurance often includes quite a few extras at no extra cost. For instance, Bikmo includes worldwide racing cover and transit cover as standard. It would significantly increase your premium if you were to try to find racing and transit cover for a car.
  4. The likelihood of claiming may be higher for cyclists than motorists. If a cyclist gets into an accident, however light the impact, they may be questioning the integrity of their bike's frame. A motorist might not question the integrity of their car if they get into a light accident, as cars can be sturdier than bicycles. This potential for cyclists to claim whenever they get into an accident rather than try to fix the damage to their bicycle themselves can push the price of premiums up. Moreover, the premium on bicycle insurance doesn't usually increase if you claim, whereas it normally does if you claim on your car insurance.

    If you were to claim on Bikmo's insurance, they can pay out for any replacement components with no excess and no increase in your premium. Get a quote from Bikmo for bicycle insurance here.

  5. Bicycles are at a higher risk of theft than cars. Each year, there are usually more bicycles stolen each year in the UK than cars, which is all the more surprising considering more people drive their cars more often than most people ride a bicycle. This is probably because they are easier to steal than cars, especially if their owners don’t correctly secure them when they are not in use. 65% of people in 2013 used their bicycle only once per year – and yet rates of theft are still higher.
  6. Stolen bicycles are much harder to recover than cars. Cars have registration plates which can be tracked by the police, and response from the police to stolen cars is usually relatively good. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult to locate a stolen bicycle, and police are sometimes less responsive to bicycle theft than other crimes due to limited resources, which results in just 5% of stolen bicycles returning to their owners. There are ways you can protect against this, though: there are GPS trackers available for bicycles, as well as DNA coding kits which leave a uniquely coded DNA particle on your bicycle which can be tracked by the police.

    Insurance companies such as Bikmo, Yellow Jersey and PedalSure provide a DNA coding kit when you take out insurance with them. Get a quote from each of them by clicking the link on the company's name.

  7. You’re at a higher risk on a bicycle. If you’re riding a bicycle on the roads, or along the trails, you’re much more likely to hurt yourself than if you’re protected by a few centimetres of metal. Cars have crumple zones, airbags, seat belts - all you've got on your bike is your helmet (something we recommend wearing). On top of this, serious cyclists at times will be travelling as fast as a car, hitting speeds up up to 50 mph down hill, with much less safety equipment. If the likelihood of you having an accident is higher, then the insurer bears more risk, and if the accidents you do have are likely to be more serious, the insurer’s payout will have to be higher.
  8. A final reason that premiums may be higher for bicycles is due to a perception that risky cycling on roads frequently causes accidents. In reality, a 2009 study by the Department of Transport found that risky cycling was very rarely the main cause of accidents, especially ones in which the cyclist was killed. A later fact check by fullfact.org found that risky cycling was a contributing factor in accidents about 50% of the time, but not the main cause. Nonetheless, the perception that cyclists cause accidents is a potential factor in high premiums for cyclists.

This article was independently written by Bought By Many. We were not paid to write it, but we may receive commission for sales that result from you clicking on a link to one of our partners.

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