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Do you need Cycle insurance for touring bikes?

19 September 2023

Written by Simon England

|  5 Minutes

Two cyclsits on road bikes riding down a country road

A keen cyclist will always want to keep their bicycle in excellent condition and full working order. If the worst happens and your bike is stolen or damaged, cycling insurance can help repair or replace your bicycle quickly to get you back on the road. This is especially vital if you are on a tour, as your bike is your primary mode of transportation when travelling cross-country. Specialist cycle travelling insurance could cover repair or replacement costs, and temporary cycle hire if you can’t finish your bike tour on your own bike.

This article will explore what a cycle tour is and why you especially need cycle touring insurance. We will also look at the difference between cycle and travel insurance and the benefits that ALA Cycle Insurance can provide.

What is cycle touring?

Before considering whether or not you require cycling insurance, let’s compare road cycling, a cycling tour, and a cycling holiday to determine which kind of insurance coverage you may need.

Road cycling

Cycling for leisure or casual/competitive sport usually comes under the road cycling umbrella; You typically cycle significant distances on rural, scenic roads. Unlike commuting, road cycling is not for getting from A to B but for enjoyment/sport. High-quality road bikes designed for long-distance travel are usually much more expensive than your typical commuter bike.

Cycle touring

Cycle touring is when you use your bicycle to travel long distances, from city to city in the UK or internationally. You usually don’t return to the same location along your cycling route. You ride between destinations, stopping over along the way. Spending at least a few days on a tour is typical, but a fortnight or month-long trip is also common.

Cycling holiday

While the term “cycling holiday” can also be applied to a touring trip, a cycling holiday usually means staying in a specific location away from home (in the UK or abroad). You take your bike out daily, enjoying excursions amongst the local scenery before returning to your base.

Two clyclists riding on a narrow, country road. They are both wearing road cycling gear.

Do you need insurance for cycle touring?

Taking out insurance during your trip is vital, especially if you are touring abroad. Here, we cover the insurance types available.

Cycle touring cover

Road bikes need to be robust and resilient to cover long distances without significant wear and tear. As such, they tend to be more expensive than bicycles used for shorter distances such as commuting. Road bikes usually cost over £1,000, making them a significant financial investment even before considering the extras you might need. Helmets and other protective gear, repair kits, and lights can add up on top of the initial cost.

Due to the expense of a road bike, you will want to protect your assets with insurance in case of theft or accidental damage. This, combined with the increased risk of a severe personal accident (relative to the amount of traffic) on rural roads. The right touring insurance can protect you and your bike

Travel insurance cover

If you are on a cycling trip overseas, taking out a travel insurance policy may be necessary to cover potential transport, luggage complications, and medical expenses. You may no longer be entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) while travelling in Europe. However, most standard travel insurance policies are unlikely to cover your cycle touring trip. Also, if you are travelling across multiple countries, you may need to take out multiple insurance policies. A cycling insurance policy that covers you overseas could save money and give you peace of mind when touring.

What is the difference between cycle insurance and travel insurance?

Cycle Insurance can cover any non-professional cycling activity, while travel insurance can cover other unexpected holiday-related incidents. Frustratingly, standard travel insurance doesn’t cover a cycling holiday (where the main activity is cycling); this includes touring holidays, so cycle touring insurance is a must.

Travel insurance for one week can cost around £30, while cycle insurance that covers you overseas might cost as little as £21 for the whole year. Travel insurance is sensible for covering other costs but adding on a cycle touring insurance with ALA is better value than you might think. It’s definitely worth considering if you frequently travel with your bike.

A bicycle leaded against a wall, with the sea and sunset in the background. Backpack and helmet are perched atop the wall.

What does cycling travel insurance cover?

You will be covered in various circumstances, including bike theft or accidental damage. Standard bicycle insurance will cover the cost of repair or replacement. You can also add additional cover options such as accessory cover, cycle hire replacement, personal injury compensation or public liability coverage.

Bicycle touring insurance with ALA

Our standard policy offers bike theft and malicious or accidental damage cover. This coverage is extended to travel outside the UK for 30 consecutive days for no additional cost to your standard policy. Thirty days of coverage is typically more than enough for a cycle touring trip.

Additional coverage options from ALA

Although our standard policy is ideally suited for cycling holidays or a tour, you may want the peace of mind of additional coverage. Build a tailored policy suited to your cycling needs by adding the following cover options to your policy:

  • Bike Hire Replacement covers the cost of finding a temporary replacement bicycle if you cannot use your own. This allows you to complete your trip as planned. Coverage is limited to £500 or £1,000 (depending on your agreed coverage limit).
  • Bike Accessory Cover can reimburse the cost of replacing any lost or stolen bike accessories agreed on your policy. Coverage is limited to £500 or £900
  • Personal Accident Cover will pay up to £10,000 or £25,000 if you are seriously injured while cycling.
  • You can take out Public Liability Coverage up to £1m or £2m for accidents involving another person or private property.
  • ALA can also cover you for up to £25,000 of legal fees, including cycle prosecution defence or recovering uninsured losses.

While ALA does not cover professional cycling or roadside assistance, we can cover a range of eventualities for touring cyclists. Our standard policy is ideal for travellers since there is no additional cost to extending your coverage internationally.

Find out more about Cycle Insurance here