Bicycle insurance: Knowing when you can and can’t claim

Bicycle insurance - when to claim and when you can't claim

With bicycle theft remaining ripe in London, it’s important to know when you can and can’t claim on your insurance. Knowing is the difference between an inconvenience and a major hit to your bank account and ability to get around London. It will also make a difference when thinking about how you are securing your bike.

I decided to speak to ETA to ask about the difference scenarios where a claim on the bicycle insurance would be possible. Why ETA? They are consistently the most friendly bunch and I’ve had good feedback from readers on the service they provide.

Let’s dive right in to some common scenarios..

Does insurance cover bicycles that are left locked outside overnight on a regular basis? (E.g. a cyclist who cannot store his bike indoors at home)

Yes, bikes would be covered if left outside overnight on a regular basis. The ETA covers bikes for a maximum of 12 hours anywhere if the bike is locked to an immovable object. We also cover bikes stored in secured sheds and we don’t ask for the sheds to be locked with specialised locks, which some insurers require.

If you want to store your bike at a train station overnight, the ETA will cover your bicycle up to 24 hours, as long as it is securely locked through the frame with a Sold Secure rated lock.

We have found that some insurers don’t allow bicycles to be stored away from the insured address for more than 12 hours, which is not a restriction the ETA put in place. It is important for cyclists to check storage requirements when comparing cycle insurance, as some insurers apply specific exclusions to where bikes can be stored.

On a £1000, 6 month old bike how much would ETA typically pay out for replacement?

The ETA replaces ‘new for old’ on all insured bikes, no matter the age of the bike. In cases where the same model is not available the ETA will look to providing a like-for-like replacement (equivalent specification) or alternatively, reimburse the insured with a cheque up to the amount insured less excess in order that they may source their own replacement. It is common for some insurers to only replace ‘new for old’ on cycles up to three years old and older bikes are subjected to a yearly depreciation.

Would a bicycle stolen from a locked garage beneath an office be covered?

The bike would be covered if stored in a locked garage, out of sight, and only the owner of the bike had access. If other people have access to the garage, the bike will need to be locked to an immovable object to be covered.

If your bike is stolen from a cycle stand on a public road would this be covered by insurance?

Yes, if the bicycle was securely locked with a rated sold secure lock through the frame and not left for more than 12 hours, then the bicycle would be covered. The ETA also covers the wheels if they were to be stolen, which is not included by some providers. We recommend our customers try and lock the frame of their bikes as well as the front wheel, especially if the wheel is quick release; however, we understand that sometimes it is not always possible to lock the wheels and the frame.

If a bike is stolen from inside a house but it wasn’t locked would this be covered?

Yes, the bike would be covered if stored out of sight and there is evidence of a burglary.

If the bike is stored in a communal hallway, where all external doors are locked and the bike is locked to an immovable object through the frame, then the bike will also be covered.

Any more questions?

Hopefully the above clarifies some of the typical questions about when you can or can not claim on bicycle insurance. Obviously, this will vary depending on the provider. If there are any more questions that I haven’t covered then I’d be happy to try and get answers for a couple of them from ETA.

Also see our post on bicycle insurance.

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14 Responses to Bicycle insurance: Knowing when you can and can’t claim

  1. Dan 25/04/2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Do any insurers pay out if a bicycle has been left for more than 12 hours?

    • Andreas 26/04/2012 at 9:05 am #

      Good question. I’ve got a big list of insurers here but don’t really have personal contact with them so you’ll need to approach them and find out.

  2. Goonz 27/04/2012 at 11:10 am #

    Good article,

    What the answers do not state is how do you prove whether your bike was locked correctly or not in the first instance?

    Will the insurance company just turn around and claim the bike was not locked through the frame and hence no pay out?

  3. Jozudave 27/04/2012 at 11:37 am #

    I have ETA insurance. It’s good to hear they’re good, but I hope I never have to find out!

    I’m also curious about payouts based on theft. If the bike (and possibly even the locks too!) are gone, how can you prove how it was stolen? Or do theives at least have the good grace to leave the chopped up lock behind as evidence to show your insurer?

    Some insurance companies say they effectively have an honesty policy which is to believe a claim from their customer unless there is a good reason not to. That’s how my home insurer claims to work anyway. Again, I hope I never have to test this out…. 😉

  4. matt 27/04/2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Would be great to find out what bicycle insurers there are for accident cover. I’ve recently been involved in an accident where I believe the driver at fault, and have had damage to the bike (luckily I escaped with only a few bruises). It doesn’t look like I’m going to get anything out of it (going through the civil courts personally not worth it), and so want to get insurance. What is there for cyclists?

    • Goonz 27/04/2012 at 1:03 pm #

      I was thinking the very same thing yesterday when cycling home. If I had an accident and it was the drivers fault how am I able to claim without insurance?

      Would insurance cover this?

      • ETA insurance 27/04/2012 at 4:29 pm #

        Hi Goonz,

        Yes, you would be covered with personal accident cover for up to £20,000. We also have a free legal helpline which is available to anyone if covered by the ETA or not, all you would need to do is call us.

        If you have any other questions about ETA cycle insurance, call us on 0800 212 810 or 01932 828 882 from a mobile and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.



  5. Gcarrev 27/04/2012 at 2:46 pm #

    What about bikes left overnight on back of car (say left locked on buzzrack) while travelling?

    Would that be covered? Thanks

    • ETA insurance 27/04/2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Gcarrev,

      Yes, this would be covered. If locked on the buzzrack and not left for more than 12 hours when the car is parked in one place.

      If you have any other questions about the policy, we would be happy to answer them. Just call our Customer Services team on 0800 212 810 or 01932 828 882 from a mobile.



  6. Laurie 27/04/2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Just to let you know, I had my folding bike stolen from inside an entry-phone controlled door to our block. It was in its bag, locked to the internal stair railings. My home contents insurance (Ageas, arranged through Swinton’s) paid out in full with no trouble at all. Always worth checking your home insurance!

    • Craig 29/07/2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi Laurie,

      Your post was over 2 years ago so this may be a waste of time. I have home insurance with Ageas, and had my bike stolen from from the communal lobby inside my secure entry block of flats. It was chained to a secure wall anchor. Ageas have said they won’t pay out because the insurance policy wording states they won’t cover items if there has been no sign of forcible entry or exit from the building.

      It seems to be an identical case to yourself so I don’t understand the different outcome.

      Could you possibly tell me if your policy had the same wording? Did you have your bike identified as an additional personal possession? If you do get this, a note of your Ageas claim number might help me out alot! You can get me at clindsay2000 at if you want to contact me privately.

      Many thanks.

  7. Pete 09/05/2012 at 7:57 am #

    Many thanks for this article – really helpful. Please could ETA clarify something for me?
    I cannot lock my bike indoors at home on weeknights. It’s a 1-bed garden flat and we have a pram and baby to accommodate already! I do have a Sold Secure Gold ground anchor mounted in the lightwell in front of the flat and secure the bike under a cover with chain & padlock and D-lock (all three also Gold rated). As I’m typically at home for less than 12 hours at a time on a typical weeknight I should be covered therefore. But will ETA dispute this if it comes to a claim? I.e. “We don’t believe that you’re only home for 12 hours at a time”. Moreover it says on the policy summary on the ETA website:
    “When the bike is at your home address it needs to be kept inside a locked building”
    Please can you offer some reassurance that I would be covered?

  8. Bret 24/07/2013 at 5:58 pm #

    ETA will NOT cover your bike if left outside. My bike was stolen and ETA would not honor my claim because of this. DO not waste your money insuring your bike with them.

    Does anyone know of any insurers that do not lie and would actually cover your bike of locked outside?

  9. Marius 10/05/2014 at 6:07 pm #

    I just purchased insurance from ETA. I read the policy and I agree ETA will not cover if you store the bike overnight on a daily basis. Most insurance companies will not cover for this because the risk of theft is too high. Basically it is not good practice to store it on the street every night (it’s like inviting the thief to steal it). The best thing is to manage to store it somewhere else.

    PS. What I find useful with ETA is that they will cover the bike if the thief takes the lock with him. Surprisingly other insurers I spoke with will not cover unless I’m in the possession of the lock which the thief broke (which is kind of a bullshit requirement as many thiefs take the lock with them).

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