My favourite pass time is reading the small print – said nobody ever. As we’ve covered some of the top bicycle insurance providers previously, we thought we’d take a little time to highlight some of the main points to pay attention to. We can’t know the ins and outs of all insurance providers, but hopefully this can point you in the direction of some of the common pitfalls.
Leaving your bike in a public place for more than 12 hours
If leaving your bike outside your flat on the street overnight or even during the day, it might not be covered, Bikes are often not covered if they are left in a public space for more than around 12 hours. Therefore, your policy will also be invalid if you leave your bike overnight in town for whatever reason – puncture, night out, etc.
If you leave your bike in a communal area, it will need to be locked to something immovable to be covered.
Using a Sold Secure lock
Check the wording to see what locks are covered and check with the insurer if your particular lock is fine. A lock will typically be approved based on its security rating in the Sold Secure system. The minimum level required is based on the value of your bike, with many policies only requiring a Gold level lock for bikes over £750 or so. In London of course you will be wanting a lock at this standard regardless of bike value, but if you travel and take a smaller lock, just keep this restriction in mind.
Proof of ownership
You will need proof of purchase for your bike, accessories and the lock you intend to use. Without these you will not be covered. The bike is also only covered at replacement cost in the first 3 or so years for most policies. Therefore if it is a second hand, vintage or custom bike you will often have to call to check with them first about what can and cannot be covered on your bike.
Not quite proof of purchase, but the bike is only covered if you locked it up yourself. Therefore, your bike will not be covered if you lend it to a friend and it is stolen when they locked it up. The bike also needs to be in your designated address overnight. This could also mean, while not expressly stated in the T&C’s, that if you go and visit a friend and stay over night, your bike may need to be locked up to something inside their residence for it to be covered should they be burgled.
Personal liability cover through bicycle insurance
If you crash and sustain any head injury and were not wearing a helmet, then the personal liability section may not be covered. As there is no real control over when you might be involved in an incident and whether you could suffer a head injury, it basically means that if you want to be sure you could claim on the personal liability of your insurance, you need to wear a helmet. If this is really not your thing, then consider whether you can get a cheaper policy to just cover your bike and accessories.
If you are intending to go on a cycling holiday, the policies vary as to how long you can be away for and still be covered for personal liability and theft. Therefore, if you do a lot of touring or holidaying with your bike, it is certainly worth checking holiday coverage and using it to decide between policies.
If you are thinking about getting an insurance policy then check out our helpful article from a couple of years ago. Whilst there are conditions on all policies, it is still a benefit for most people and can really help out in unpleasant situations.
What small print conditions have you found with your bike insurance? Is there anything you have been caught out on in the past, or a particularly good policy you know of? Let everyone know below!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.