With warmer weather on the horizon, you may be thinking about ways to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Maybe you’re thinking about cycling to work? Or you’re thinking about hitting the trails as your new hobby? If you answer yes to either of these, there are a few things you should know about choosing the right bicycle insurance. Unfortunately, bicycle theft has been on the rise over the past few years, but don’t let that dissuade you. We discuss the types of bicycle insurance available and whether your existing home insurance covers bikes.

Increased interest in cycling

Bicycle shops across Canada are dealing with the pandemic-driven boom in bicycle interest since spring of 2020. With COVID-19 travel bans put in place, many Canadians are looking to cycle to escape lockdowns and enjoy their time at home. Spurred on by recommendations of health officials to stay active and avoid indoor gatherings, cycling has been experiencing a renaissance. Many local bicycle shops that sell everything from commuter and road bikes, up to high-end mountain bikes, are seeing increasing sales. However, nearly 4,000 bicycles alone were stolen in 2020, including an increasing number in or beside condominium apartments and rental housing. The 2020 total is roughly three times higher than 2014. Unlike vehicles, bicycles don’t have a VIN, so tracking them down can be challenging or downright impossible. However, there are several ways to prevent theft and protect your investment.

Bikes and home insurance: Does my existing policy cover my bicycle?

Yes. There are two kinds of bicycle insurance in Canada: home insurance and stand-alone bicycle insurance. Let’s explore how they differ, and which one might be right for you based on your bicycle, your budget and your existing coverage.

Home insurance

Most home, condo and tenant insurance policies will have limits in coverage for your bicycle. So, if you have one of these policies, there’s a good chance your bike will have coverage against theft and damage. Home or tenant’s policies are meant to protect your personal property — and a bike is just that. However, there are some exclusions around this, so it is best to speak with your isure representative to clarify your coverage. Depending on the policy you have, each type of bicycle you own may be covered up to $1,000. However, you may need to pay a deductible, depending on the policy details.

The primary types of insurance available for cyclists are:

  • Theft and damage coverage
  • First-party personal injury coverage (protects you if you are involved in a crash)
  • Third-party liability coverage (covers you for claims that are made against you if you cause a crash)

All three coverages are important, but the amount of coverage that you need depends heavily on your personal circumstances. In any case, if your bike is damaged in, say, a house fire, or stolen out of your garage, you can make a claim with your home or renters insurance provider. When you are ready to buy bicycle insurance, you’ll need to itemize the bicycle (either with photos and receipts) and submit them to your insurer. If you take biking seriously and have an extremely valuable bike, you may consider adding it as a scheduled personal articles endorsement. This is similar to how you would insure other high-value items, like jewelry or art. In other words, this will mean a little more added to your monthly premium.

Third-party bicycle insurance

If you are an avid cyclist that competes, you’ll want more tailored coverage. This can be provided by specialized bicycle insurers. This type of third-party insurer can cover you for third-party liability and personal accidents. You can also receive coverage for legal defence costs if you crash into another cyclist during a race, especially if they decide to sue. If it goes to court and they win, your insurance can cover their bicycle, medical expenses, loss of income, and bike replacement, depending on your insurer. Generally, your membership cost for these policies will range from $45-$100 per year. If you injure yourself while riding, and depending on the chosen policy, you can receive coverage for dismemberment and even death. Your bicycle itself can have coverage against all-perils, including fire and theft, too.

Third-party bicycle insurance companies:  

How much is bicycle insurance in Canada?

The amount you will have to pay will depend on the insurer and the chosen policy. For third-party insurers, it’s about 3% to 4% of the bicycle’s value annually for basic coverage. However, it can jump to 7% or 8% if you’re in competitive racing.

What if my bicycle gets stolen?

If your bike is stolen, you can file a claim on your property insurance policy. Whether it is a home or tenant policy, you will follow a similar process when it comes to bikes and home insurance. However, keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying the deductible on your policy. If it’s stolen, follow these steps:

  1. Capture photos and take note of the date, time and location.
  2. Report the incident to the police and your insurer.
  3. Check online to see if you bicycle has resurfaced to be sold.
  4. If you see it online, be sure to let the authorities know – they can help you recover it. Register your bike with the authorities. Despite the 1% return rate in Toronto, it’s still worth it. AND it’s quick and easy to do.

Check your coverage

Many insurance companies place a limit on the coverage they provide for specific items, such as bicycles. This means that no matter how much you spent on your bike, insurance may only value the bike at a certain amount. To learn more about how to keep your bicycle safe, check out our article on bicycle safety tips here.

Did you know: If your bike is worth $1,500 and your deductible is $1,000, you will get $500 for your claim towards replacing your bike? However, when it comes to bikes and home insurance, it’s possible your premium can increase if you submit a claim.

Be sure to shop around in order to find the right bicycle insurance that suits your bike and your individual needs. Speak to one of our isure representatives to find out all the details. Remember when speaking with one of our advisers, the more we know about the value of your bike and the way it is used, the more comprehensive coverage we can offer you and your ride.

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