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What is cycle insurance and how does it work?

Closeup of a Bicycle resting on a pole

More and more of us are swapping four wheels for two, as cycling offers a range of financial, physical and mental health benefits compared to driving. Cycling also provides a more efficient and environmentally-conscious way to get around.

But all of this comes at a risk, as cyclists are among the most vulnerable to accidents on the road. If your bike is damaged or stolen, you could be left out of pocket finding a replacement. This is where cycle insurance comes in.

In this guide, we’re going to explain exactly what cycle insurance is, including how it works and what it covers.

What is cycle insurance?

Many cyclists choose to include protection for their bike in their home contents insurance policy. However, home insurance plans usually have a low value limit and will typically only protect your bike while it is on your premises.

Unfortunately bike theft is common, and a contents insurance policy typically won’t pay out if this occurs away from your home. The same is true if you are in an accident while out on your bike. Home insurance likely won’t cover the full value of your bike in the event of a claim, especially if you have an expensive bike.

The best way to ensure complete protection for your bike is by getting cycle insurance. This is a standalone policy that negates the need for you to add your bike to your home insurance.

Whether you use your bike to get to work during the week or prefer taking it out for long country rides on weekends, a cycle insurance policy will provide the most robust protection for your two-wheeler. This type of policy will cover the cost of replacing your cycle if it is stolen or damaged as standard, but can be much more personalised than home insurance and include several optional covers.

It is therefore particularly recommended if you use your bike every day or very often, or if your bike is brand new or top of the range.

How does cycle insurance work?

Cycle insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing a bicycle in the event it is damaged or stolen. It can also provide compensation for injuries, permanent disablement or death sustained after an accident while riding your bike, and financial support for legal expenses (more on what cycle insurance covers below).

The claims process for cycle insurance is convenient, as all services can be accessed through an online portal. ALA will provide a new-for-old replacement for a bike that is less than three years old (based on when the bike was bought, not when it was manufactured), or a like-for-like replacement for a bike that is more than three years old.

ALA are one of the top UK providers of financial products for the motor industry, meaning we have a wealth of knowledge to help two-wheeled road users as well. Our flexible cycle insurance policy means you can create a cover that works for you based on the type of bike you use, how and where you want to use it, and more.

What are the different types of cycle insurance?

BMX insurance

BMX cycling involves a lot of skill to achieve jumps, flips and spins on a range of different terrain. This can be thrilling, but of course is not without its risks. BMX insurance gives you peace of mind that you and your equipment will be protected should you be involved in an accident.

Please note that this policy does not cover damage or injury sustained during amateur or professional competitions.

Mountain bike insurance

If you love pedalling across hilly landscapes on your trusty two wheels, mountain bike insurance is ideal for you. It will keep you protected should anything happen while you’re out, so you’re free to make the most of every adventure.

Commuting cycle insurance

Cycling to work is a cheaper, healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative to driving, but it’s not without risks. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), most accidents involving cyclists occur during daylight hours and the most dangerous hours for cyclists are 8-9 am and 3-6 pm during the week.

Commuting cycle insurance is designed to keep you and your bike safe at all hours of the day, and will cover the cost of a replacement cycle if yours is damaged or stolen.

Electric cycle insurance

Electric bikes are increasingly popular in the UK, but they can be more costly than regular bikes. A home insurance policy likely wouldn’t cover the value of an electric bike, but e-bike insurance with ALA would cover you up to the value of £6,000.

Road cycle insurance

Road cycle insurance is perfect for you if you love taking your bike out for long rides on the open road. Whether it’s for a regular ride with friends or family or if road cycling is your favourite hobby, a flexible insurance policy will give you peace of mind so you can enjoy every journey.

Touring cycle insurance

Touring bikes are built to be robust and reliable, and are favoured by adventure enthusiasts for their endurance and stability. To match these features, your bike needs some insurance to protect it while you are out riding. Touring cycle insurance from ALA can provide a valuable safety net should you ever need it.

What does cycle insurance cover?

As more people embrace cycling, the need for more detailed insurance provisions is becoming more important. ALA Cycle Insurance protects you in the event of theft or/and damage to the insured bike, up to the value of £6,000. This coverage even extends internationally, for up to 30 consecutive days outside of the UK.

This is subject to your bike being in good working order, and you must be able to provide proof of purchase (an original retailer receipt/invoice, gift receipt or evidence of insurance replacement). You must also be able to provide your bike’s frame number and adhere to security requirements by using a lock which is approved for the value of the bike.

Your policy can also include the following additional covers:

  • Accessories – covers the selected value of cycle accessories such as your helmet and clothing in the event of theft or damage.

  • Replacement cycle hire – pays for the cost of hiring an alternative cycle while you are waiting for yours to be repaired or replaced.

  • Personal accident – compensation for loss of limb(s), loss of sight, permanent disablement or death sustained following an accident while riding your insured bike.

  • Legal expenses – covers the legal costs and expenses incurred in the pursuit of compensation and/or damages following injury or death while riding your insured bike.

  • Public liability – cover covers you in the event of a cycling incident involving a third party such as damage to property or injury.

There are a number of exclusions and restrictions on these covers, which you can read more about in the policy wording.