Bicycle insurance: How to protect your two-wheeled beauty

A checklist for what you need to look out for when insuring your bicycle.

Cycling in South Africa is increasingly popular – it makes sense when you think of all the beautiful routes and races available to us. But these two-wheeled beauties aren’t exactly cheap; some even cost more than what you’d pay for a car. Protecting your bike properly with insurance is a no-brainer, so we’ve created a checklist of what you need to look out for when insuring your bicycle, along with a few other things to consider.

What kind of cover do you need for your bicycle?

There are many different insurance packages out there that all slightly differ from each other. Therefore, to make sure that the package you're looking at is appropriate, you should go through this checklist to make sure that all items of cover that you need are included in the package.

❑ Cover for theft and accidental loss

It’s no secret: there’s a good chance your bike could be stolen. There are many stories of bikes being snatched off roof racks, from the garden shed or even after a ride in front of the local coffee shop.

If you’re one of the unfortunate ones, it goes without saying that without insurance, you’ll be left with no bike and having to pay for another one yourself.

The same goes for loss. Although losing a bike sounds a bit absurd given that it’s quite a big thing to lose, it is possible if you’re leaving your bike in the hands of a local bike carrier or an airline.

❑ Cover for accidental damage

You could ride into a pothole you didn’t see coming or fall off your bike in a group ride. Or someone could drive into the back of your car, damaging your bike on its rack.

Tip: your car insurance won’t cover damage to your bike that’s a result of a car accident – you’ll need separate bicycle cover for that.

❑ Cover for your bicycle if you plan to travel

While travelling – while you're on holiday in another province/country

If you’re planning on travelling abroad with your bike, your insurer should cover it for the same risks it faces when you’re not travelling. But to be 100% sure, you should ask your insurer what their policy is around travel.

Cover while in transit (eg. during the flight)

The same goes for flying locally with your bicycle. If your insurer doesn’t cover your bike in transit, most airlines offer specific insurance for any possible losses while your bicycle is under their care for both local and international travel.

❑ Cover for your bicycle while in use

The reason you bought your bicycle was to ride it, so make sure that your insurer covers it while you’re riding it!

❑ Cover during an event

Most insurers will cover your bicycle for the risks listed above during a race. But rather be safe than sorry and check with your insurer.

Should you insure your bicycle under your home contents or as a standalone item?

If you already have a home contents policy, then it’s easy to pop your bicycle under that cover. Not only will it probably cost less than buying standalone cover, you’ll also have all of your stuff covered under one policy, reducing your admin.

Naked’s contents policy automatically covers your bicycle(s) for up to R5 000, at home or away from home. For bicycles that are worth more than R5 000, you just need to specify their value on the app to make sure you are covered for their full replacement value.

The added benefit of covering your bicycle under your contents policy is that personal liability cover is automatically included. This means you have protection if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property. For instance, if you cause an accident while on your bike and injure someone so seriously that they can no longer do their job, they can sue you for compensation. Personal liability cover is there to protect you when that happens.

Another positive about insuring your bicycle(s) through your home contents is that if your mountain bike and road bike are both stolen at the same time, you generally only need to pay one excess (the flat amount that you need to pay towards the claim).

If you don’t have home contents cover and aren’t convinced that personal liability cover is worth having then buying standalone cover is a good alternative.

Standalone cover generally offers the same coverage as a home contents policy. Just think of it as buying one policy per item minus the personal liability cover. So if you own a mountain bike and a road bike, you’d need to insure them separately. This also means that you’d pay two separate excesses in the event that both were stolen at the same time.

How much should you insure your bicycle for?

Always insure it for what it would cost to buy new today

When insuring your bicycle, you should always insure it for what it would cost to buy new today. If the model of your bicycle is no longer made or sold, then you must insure your bike for the price of the next model up. The reason for doing this is that bike insurance works on a new-for-old basis.

Some bikes are bought stock-standard as one piece, but if your bike is custom-built with various components that come with different price tags, you need to take this into consideration when putting a value on your bike. If a bike store built it for you, they might be able to help here. Ask them for a breakdown of what each part costs or how much the bike would cost to replace with the different parts, new today. Getting a new quote based on your original invoice would be easiest. This is then the number that you would give to your insurer.

Other things to consider

What about all my cycling gear? Is that included in my cover?

If you have home contents cover, things like helmets, cycling shoes, cycling kit, watches, and sunglasses should be covered, at home, provided that you have included their value in your insured value of your home contents.

To have these items fully covered away from home, most insurers will require you to specify them as “all risk items”. For example, at Naked, we require you to specify any portable items worth more than R5 000 on your policy, so they are covered both at and away from home.

If you don’t have home contents cover, you can cover things like helmets, cycling shoes, cycling kit, watches, and sunglasses individually through standalone item insurance as you would your bicycle. This route may prove more pricey because if you have to claim, you will have to pay a separate excess for each item you’re claiming for.

Items like your power meter, cycling computer and upgraded gear set, which are ‘permanent’ fixtures on your bicycle, should be included when calculating the replacement value of your bicycle itself.

What level should I set my excess at?

An excess is the amount that you will have to contribute in the event that you have to claim. Think of it as your participation in the loss. For example, let’s say you chose an excess of R2 000 and you’re claiming for your bicycle that was stolen – it’s worth R60 000. Your insurer will pay you R58 000 (R60 000 - R2 000).

When buying an insurance policy, you often get to choose this number and it will affect your premium. The higher your excess, the lower your premium and vice versa. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay this amount every time you claim, so it should be a number that you can afford to pay at a moment’s notice, more than once a year.

Will I personally be covered if I’m in an accident during a race?

This all depends on if you have medical aid and/or life insurance and what cover your policies provide during a cycling event.

If you want to have more comprehensive cover during races, you can buy a Cycling South Africa membership for R250 a year. As a member you’ll receive a death benefit of R25 000, and/or emergency medical treatment at a medical treatment facility and an emergency travelling cost benefit of up to R25 000 for any cycling related accident that occurs at a Cycling SA sanctioned cycling event. Note that a Cycling SA membership won’t cover you for damage caused to your bike, for liability cover or for the loss of an entry fee.

Insuring your bicycle might seem more complicated than taking it apart and putting it back together, but it’s really not once you know what kind of cover you need for it. Don’t wait for the ‘what ifs’ to become ‘oh nos’ – get your bicycle and gear covered sooner rather than later.

To make protecting your bike even simpler, you can get a quote with us under 10 seconds. Check out our Single Item cover.

Main image credit: