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Cycle insurance for second-hand bikes

Cyclists are vulnerable road users with one of the highest casualty rates. Additionally, thousands of bikes are stolen in the UK each year and many of these thefts occur in non-private locations. Cycle insurance is not a legal requirement in the UK but given the risks of a personal accident, damage or theft it should be considered equally as important as car insurance or motorcycle insurance for frequent cyclists.

Choosing to get cycle insurance depends on many factors including the value of your bike and also the level of risk to the cyclist/bicycle. This includes the risk of personal injury, damage or theft. Other factors like frequency of use can influence may sway you to get cycle insurance. Read more about whether cycle insurance is worth it for you.

A common misconception is that second-hand bikes cannot be insured. As long as certain requirements are met then second-hand bike insurance is the same as new bike insurance. This guide will help you understand everything you need to know about insuring your second-hand bike.

Can you insure a second-hand bike?

Yes, you can insure a second-hand bike if you want to. There are many reasons why second-hand bikes should be insured, including:

  • If your second-hand bike is of high value: if the second-hand value of your bike is over £150 it may be worth insuring, to cover the costs of damage or theft.

  • If you are at high risk when cycling: High-risk cyclists may have high personal injury risk (e.g. BMXers or mountain bikers) but this also includes individuals who live or cycle in areas with high levels of road traffic (higher chance of accidental damage) or with high crime rates (higher chance of bike theft/damage).

  • If you frequently use your second-hand bike: If you use your bike every day you may appreciate the protection of cycle insurance. The consequences of not being able to use your bike because of a theft or accident may be higher if you use your bike on your daily commute, for instance.

  • If you tour with your second-hand bike: Bicycle touring can come with risks such as accidents and bicycle damage. International insurance cover will be vital if you travel abroad with your bike.

How to insure a second-hand bike

There are a few requirements before any bicycle can be insured. To get insurance, you will need proof of ownership of your bike, the known value of the bike and a frame number.

The bike will need to be in your possession and in full working order on the date of policy initiation.

ALA requires that you use an approved lock according to the value of your bike. Check which type of bike lock you need in our bike insurance policy here. You may also need to provide proof of purchase for this lock.

Proof of ownership

Evidence of ownership may be a till receipt, delivery note or invoice issued to you or to a direct family member, or, if the cycle was gifted to you, a gift receipt issued by the retailer. If your purchase or ownership of your bike cannot be proven, then it cannot be insured. You will also need to know the value of the bicycle and a gift receipt may not contain this information.

Frame number

ALA cycle insurance requires that cyclists provide a frame number for each bicycle that they wish to cover.

Most bicycles have a frame number stamped into the metal under the bottom bracket. If it’s a carbon frame, the number will be etched into the surface or displayed on a sticker. Occasionally, the frame number will be on the inside of the chain stay or on the down tube or top tube.

black and yellow men’s bicycle with blue rings indicating where to find the frame number on the bike.

If you want to insure a valuable vintage bicycle, provided you have bought it from a recognised retailer, and you have proof of purchase, it may be difficult to find a frame number or there may not be one at all. In this case, ALA will not be able to offer bike insurance.

The bike must be in your possession and in good working order

Your second-hand bike must be fully functional for it to be insured by ALA; aesthetic damage will not affect your insurance. If your bike is faulty, you must repair all faults and have the bike back in your possession by the date of your insurance policy initiation. ALA cannot cover a bike that is not yet in your (or a direct family member’s) possession.

Tips for insuring a second-hand bike

Check stolen bike records

It is an offence to purchase a stolen bike, and should the police discover that your bicycle is stolen they may seize it, and you may not be compensated. Check your bike here.

Take pictures of your bike

ALA and many other cycle insurance plans do not cover aesthetic damage to bicycles. However, it may help with accidental damage claims to have pictures of your second-hand bike from the date your insurance policy was initiated.

You may also need to prove that your bike had been stored in line with security requirements should vandalism or theft occur.

Insuring a second-hand bicycle

Insurance for your second-hand bike will be important if you have a high-value bike or if you are at high risk of personal injury, damage or theft. You may want to consider bike insurance if you use your second-hand bike frequently or if you tour with your bike.

The cost of bike insurance depends on how valuable the bike is that you want to insure, what you choose as excess cover and which add-ons you decide are appropriate for your lifestyle. Whether you decide to pay a lump sum or in monthly instalments will affect the total cost of bike insurance. Get a quote for ALA cycle insurance here.

Standard bike insurance will cover theft or damage to the insured bicycle, even if you are abroad. ALA offers additional covers including accessory cover, replacement hire cover, personal injury cover, legal expenses and public liability cover. You may wish to use bicycle insurance in addition to home insurance and travel insurance as this covers your bike when you are away from home or abroad.

Cycle insurance, unlike car insurance, is not a legal requirement in the UK. However, cyclists are vulnerable road users and insurance is recommended. If you are a frequent cyclist, cycle in high-risk areas or partake in high-risk activities, you should especially consider bicycle insurance. Bicycle theft is also common, so valuable bikes should be insured.