Bicycle insurance – small print to consider

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.

Bike insurance

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.

bikes in flat

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.

Bicycle helmet

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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11 Responses to Bicycle insurance – small print to consider

  1. deadmanjones 22/07/2016 at 10:31 am #

    Mmm, stollen

    • Andreas 22/07/2016 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you – spotted and updated!

  2. Paul 22/07/2016 at 10:46 am #

    Whatever you do, do not use Cycleplan; I had my bike stolen from private (work) grounds. It was securely locked to a proper concreted bike post under cover and out of site of the main road. The thieves strolled in in broad daylight and used bolt cutters. It was the pikeys, that’s what the police told me (along with, ‘you will never get it back, consider it gone, we wont even investigate’) the pikeys had scoped out the site previously and chosen a particularly quiet day to commit the theft, probably having already visited earlier in the day…Only the pikeys are so organised. Turns out my particular Hiplock was not covered by Cycleplan because – ‘Cycleplan had yet to rate that particular Hiplock model’ (its worth noting that the bike shop had told me the lock was covered when I bought the bike, lock and insurance in one hit, £1550 in total) I could not believe it…a 2-month old £1100 commuter bike lost and the £400 insurance policy gone too. Use Cycleguard, if I had my ‘particular model of Hiplock’ would have been covered. Angry, yes, aggrieved, yes…but I learned a lesson from it, don’t bother with insurance, just get a hack bike for commuting or a motorbike type lock and never leave your bike out of the corner of your eye….alternatively, just store it indoors whenever possible. Don’t use Cycleplan. Dont bother with insurance.

    • Andreas 22/07/2016 at 12:04 pm #

      Thanks Paul for sharing your experience!

    • Mark Palmer 22/07/2016 at 12:17 pm #


      “…the bike shop had told me the lock was covered when I bought the bike, lock and insurance in one hit, £1550 in total…”

      Did the shop sell you the bike, lock and the insurance together?

      At the very least, if the bike shop stated to you that the lock was covered, they are liable.

    • Adam 22/07/2016 at 1:16 pm #

      Another recommendation for Cycleguard here. The “secure” bike storage at my new address was broken into, frames wrecked and wheels etc. stolen. Cycleguard paid out in full with little complaint despite my fears that I wouldn’t be covered as I hadn’t updated the address on the policy yet.

      Will definitely be renewing with them.

  3. CanAmSteve 22/07/2016 at 2:24 pm #

    Yup – waste of money and another failure of UK insurance regulation. The only possible way that bike insurance makes sense is if you know your bike is 100% going to be stolen, and then you comply with all the fine print, so you can claim maybe 50% of its original value. It’s like mobile phone “insurance” – it’s really an instalment savings plan so you can get a new one in a year or two. Evaluated as an actual “insurance” product, it should be illegal to sell the policies.

    Nice casual racism, too. No idea who did it, but it had to be the “pikeys”. Sure it wasn’t Jews or migrants or …. oh never mind.

  4. Spoquey 25/07/2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Yes CanAmSteve I was shocked by that too… Didn’t even get to the end of Paul’s contribution after his first “pikey”. I actually think it might have been Corbyn.

  5. MJ Ray 27/07/2016 at 11:37 am #

    You wrote “If you crash and sustain any head injury and were not wearing a helmet, then the personal liability section may not be covered”.

    Let’s look at the policies in your previous round-up:

    Bikmo+ – no mention of helmets;
    ETA – no helmet requirement and talks about “When you buy a policy from us, you help fund campaigns such as Back on a Bike – a new road show that allows people to have a go on a comfortable bike without commitment, pressure, high-vis clothing or helmets”;
    E&L – no mention of helmets;
    Cycleplus – only mention in policy wording is to explicitly state they’re covered as accessories;
    Cycleguard – only mention in policy wording is to explicitly state they’re covered as accessories;
    Protect Your Bubble – only mention in policy wording is to explicitly state they’re covered as accessories.

    So what are these insurance policies which require helmets to be worn? It would be rather strange for any insurer to insist on helmets because there’s no evidence that they improve outcomes significantly at population-level – I’ve seen it in a couple of travel insurances, but usually in ones that are pretty rubbish and look like the insurer is trying to deny/reduce as many claims as they can. I suspect the main reason for helmet requirements in travel insurance is to reduce risk by discouraging people from cycling while travelling, especially in places where UK-style helmets are rare and fairly difficult to obtain when hiring a bike, such as most London/Paris-style bike-share schemes.

    I feel you shouldn’t try to use insurance to scare people into helmets.

    • MJ Ray 27/07/2016 at 11:40 am #

      Sorry, I wrote cycleplus when I meant cycleplan.

  6. Angela 18/08/2016 at 10:14 pm #

    I also recommend Cycleguard, had my bike stolen and had the insurance sorted really quickly with no fuss.

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