Is it worth insuring a bicycle?

Ireland is recapturing its cycling heritage, with more and more of us getting on our bikes. In Ireland, 3% of all trips made are by bike. That’s a lot less than Holland’s 30%, but we are going in the right direction. Ireland has more miles of road per square mile than any other country in the world, and things like the recession, health concerns, environmental concerns and traffic congestion have persuaded more of us to use a bike. Concerns about child obesity in Ireland are also a factor. Sadly, the number of kids cycling to school is only a fifth of what it was just 20 years ago.

There are other benefits of cycling, which is the quickest mode of transport for trips up to 6 km in an urban environment. Cycling speed is about three times that of walking speed, and when you substitute cycling for driving, you save around 200 grams of CO2 per kilometre traveled. As we can see in cities like Dublin that have bicycle schemes, up to 20 bicycles can be parked in the same space taken up by one car.

Whether you use a bike to commute to work, you want to pop into a local shop, or you are turned on by indulging in some serious mountain biking at the weekend, the attraction of pedal power is growing.

The trouble is that bicycles appeal to thieves. Thousands of bikes are stolen every year, while thousands more bike thefts go unreported. The good news is that many insurance companies will cover your bicycle against theft, as well as against crashes and accidental damage. Insurance for your bike is essential, and you need appropriate cover.

Many standard home and contents insurance policies cover bicycles as part of a standard homeowner’s policy. Unless you own a particularly expensive bicycle, it is not always worth making a claim for a stolen or damaged bicycle.

Some insurance companies offer bicycle registration and marking kits designed for people who use their bicycle for getting to and returning from work. These policies can help prevent theft with warning labels and traceable markings.

If you are a cycling enthusiast who regards cycling as a leisure activity or a sport, there are special policies for you. Some insurance companies offer special discounts if you are a member of a cycling club or if you are a member of Cycling Ireland. By taking out separate cycle insurance, you can get cover for your bicycle independent of your house insurance policy. This separate protection covers you against having your bicycle damaged while taking part in an event. Another advantage is that any claim will not affect your home insurance premium or no claims bonus.

Naturally, bike insurance cover comes with exclusions. Typically, only bikes that are less than a certain age at time of insurance purchase are eligible. The insured bike must also be in full working order, and you will probably not be covered if you lend your bike to someone else. Your policy may also stipulate that you are covered only if your bike has been locked to an immovable object using an approved lock when you leave the bike unattended away from your home.