How do you insure a really expensive bike?

You’ve just spent £3200 on a Trek Madone road bike and now you want to go out and ride it. But, sensibly, you decide to grab some insurance first.

You checkout the best bicycle insurance options and head over to ETA to get your bike covered.

Enter the post code, value of the bike plus accessories.

You spit out your coffee at your computer screen!

£318 insurance quote screenshot

A lightbulb goes off in your head! Maybe it’ll be covered under your home insurance.

A quick call to their helpdesk later, you hear that they’ll only cover a bike up to £2000.

Nobody wants to touch the risk of insuring an expensive bike, especially in a city like London where there is a good chance it’ll be stolen.

You can’t really use your bike for shopping or anywhere it might be left unattended, without a private security guard watching over it 24/7.

But you really want to ride your nice bike, what do you do?

Obviously, you could just grumble, enter your credit card details and buy the annual insurance.

You could opt for a different kind of security. Such as hidden GPS trackers that hide in your stem or seat post. These cost around £100 and will report the location of your bike if it is stolen.

However, the police won’t necessarily help, even if you have the location of the thief, so you may have to go in to vigilante mode.

Baseball bat over the shoulder and knuckledusters is a look that doesn’t suit you.

What about a beater bike?

There’s that bike you bought back in the 80s, cost about £50 and no thief in their right mind would touch it.

For about £80, your local bike shop will bring it back up to shape.

Obviously, it’s not as exciting as the new bike but it gets the job done.

None of these solutions are perfect and it’s tough to own a fancy bike in London. If I was the proud owner of an expensive bike such as the Madone, I would probably keep it solely in my house and use it only for weekend rides outside of London. I simply couldn’t trust it outside my local pub or supermarket.

If you’ve found a better solution, leave a comment below.

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16 Responses to How do you insure a really expensive bike?

  1. Watdabni 20/12/2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Home contents insurance is the answer. A standard policy probably won’t cover you for more than £2,000 for a single bike (many offer a lot less cover than that) but if you contact the company when you get the quote and explain what you have, and the value, you should be able to get them added to the policy for a nominal sum. They will be separately listed in the policy. Our bikes are covered both at, and away from, home. In our case it did not even add to the premium.

  2. Barry 20/12/2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I have a Cervelo R5. My annual insurance would be about £400 – unacceptable. The simple answer is that the bike never leaves my sight – it’s purely for riding, not for transportation.

    When it is transported, it’s in my van where it’s locked to the van chassis by multiple high end D Locks and Chains. The van is alarmed and tracked.

    You could also consider bolting it to a wall at home / garage – it’s vulnerable there also.

    I’m also looking to a GPS tracker for it.

  3. Tony 20/12/2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Andreas you are right! The old trusty Marin comes out for the shopping and ’round town stuff, but the Legend comes out when I know it isn’t going to be out of my sight at anytime. It’s a shame, but that is the way of the world. Too many people believe that they have a right to take what you own (and have worked very hard to get)!

  4. Mick Beaman 20/12/2013 at 3:43 pm #

    For the most part you don’t get new for old. So while I paid a lot for mine, its value fell fairly quickly… around £2000 I reckon. It is now on the house insurance with cover specified as £2000.

  5. Les Hereward 20/12/2013 at 4:44 pm #

    I am fortunate that work has some fairly secure bike parking. This with a Gold sold secure lock means insurance is valid. I just pay the premium (that looked close to what I pay for £4200 spread over 2 bikes). It is the only insurance product I have where my claims have exceeded my payments.

  6. Christine Jones 20/12/2013 at 5:49 pm #

    It depends on the type of valuable bike you have. If it’s a 1960’s Holdsworth track bike, no amount of money will replace it. Invest in a motorbike lock, and a hardened steel disc lock (no spring so very hard to break) and think carefully where you lock it.
    The general way in Holland to avoid getting a bike nicked is to always use at least two locks, usually as above. Being stranded without your bike is a pain whatever.
    I think it’s better to think in terms of making sure it’s very unlikely to be stolen. In my experience thefts are usually at night and in quiet back alleys, so if you can avoid those scenarios, that’s better than relying on insurance.
    Insurance is another name for gambling and as house insurance is a legal requirement, I prefer not to do it unless it’s required.

  7. Tim 20/12/2013 at 6:23 pm #

    You could do one of the Threshold Sports multi day events. They have secure guarded bike areas – floodlit and watched over all night.

  8. Nick Donnelly 20/12/2013 at 7:27 pm #

    This is a real shame.

    2 locks, at least – a D and a decent chain (different types of keys – and thus different to pick) – GPS stickers and a real GPS. Cover it in everything you can and just enjoy the bike.

    Don’t leave it unattended for long periods, think about the area it is in.

    Bikes are meant to be enjoyed – every day. It is like saving your best clothes for Sunday – find a way to ride your best bike everyday – there must be a way.

  9. Vincent 20/12/2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Get two different, compact, Gold sold secure D-locks: There’s no room to insert a crowbar, angle grinders are anything but discreet, and two different locks are harder to pick.

    And try not to park always in the same spot.

  10. Kie 20/12/2013 at 10:38 pm #

    If you’re planning on having bikes for ten years+ then why bother with insurance, mathematically the odds are that you’ll be financially better off by not getting insurance. At the end of the day insurance is a form of gambling, and that rarely pays in the long run.

  11. Spencer 20/12/2013 at 10:44 pm #

    I’m fortunate where I work. They provide bike parking secured by mechanical gates, swipe carded doors, security guards and CCTV.

    Only use my bike for the commute as being a custom build getting it insured seemed expensive for a potentially limited replacement.

    Otherwise the old catalogue mountain bike is used for the shorter journeys like shopping, etc.

  12. David Bates 21/12/2013 at 12:29 pm #

    When cycling to work in London I joined H2 Bike Run ( which offers secure indoor parking for bikes and all the facilities a commuting cyclist could need – on-site bike mechanics, showers, towels, lockers. Obvioiusly at a price – but one which is considerably cheaper than a travelcard. Unfortunately they only have 2 branches at the moment – one in Soho and one near St Pauls, but if you are lucky enough to work near one of those locations they’re definitely worth checking out.

  13. James 03/01/2014 at 6:02 pm #

    I was unfortunate enough to have a bike stolen from a well secured garden shed. (this is increasingly common) I was insured through a specialist policy and they paid out within a week of filing paperwork.
    The insurance is expensive at about 10% of value but you have to consider if the worst happens can you afford to go out and replace it? I could not!

    I would never leave an expensive bike unattended even when locked. My “expensive” bike is for riding and not leaving outside work. That is what the 3rd bike is for!

  14. Dave 09/01/2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I have a gold Sold secure lock because that is a requirement for my insurance, but I never use it. If I am not provided a secure place to keep my bike at work, I find one. I teach at a large London college, and I first kept the bike in the consumables storeroom. That drew some complaints to management, so I stored it in the maintenance workshop office.

    That drew complaints from the maintenance operatives, so then I kept it in my classroom all day. The college director called me in the other day and said that they were going to provide me with secure bike storage as soon as it could be arranged, and wonder of wonders, a shower for me to use. Sometimes one needs to persist and hope that their employer will see reason

  15. Wendy 07/04/2014 at 1:43 am #

    Put pipe lagging on the frame to protect it, then wrap it all with parcel tape so that it looks horrid, makes it less desirable. Locks too of course…

  16. Tony Delaney 27/05/2016 at 6:35 pm #

    What about using gps security? I don’t know if we would get a discount on our insurance for installing such an item. Would it be worth (say) £60 to know where your bike is located after the theft??

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