We seem to be at THAT time of the year, when bikes are being stolen, or broken on a regular basis, so a look at bike insurance seemed timely. Despite having a fair bit of experience with bike insurance claims, I’m no insurance expert so I consulted Insurance Broker, David Millington of MGA Insurance Brokers.
(Please don’t think this is an advertorial for MGA, although they are our insurance brokers and do offer a number of insurance products that will incorporate the right cover for your pride and joy into your home and contents insurance policy).
So, firstly, what are the risks that we’re insuring against?
The basic ones are:
- Loss or theft,
- Accidental damage,
- Personal injury; and
- Third party property damage
Not all insurance policies offer the same cover so it’s worth reading the small print or consulting a broker who can help you understand exactly what you’re getting.
There are a lot of misconceptions and plenty of misleading information surrounding insurance so I thought we’d deal with them first. Probably the most common misconception is that you cannot choose your own repairer/bike shop and are tied into whatever the insurance company offers you. David explains that you are entitled to choose your own repairer but if the insurance company shops around and finds a cheaper priced quote, then that’s the amount that they will pay you. David says in this scenario, if you’ve used a broker for your insurance, they will go in to bat for you and get you the best possible outcome, meaning you don’t have to battle with the insurance company yourself. Obviously, if you have a good relationship with your bike shop they’ll probably be able to help you out and get your bike fixed within the $s the insurer pays, so make sure you talk to them first.
Another issue a lot of people come up against when submitting a claim is providing proof of ownership. We’ve even heard of claims being refused because the original receipt cannot be produced. David says that if you don’t have a receipt and can’t get a copy, a photograph or owner’s manual should suffice. Failing that, submitting a statutory declaration is a perfectly acceptable means of proving ownership.
The next issue we talked about was what bike insurance actually covers. Obviously this will depend upon the specific insurance policy but what you should be looking for is a policy that covers you for the replacement value of your bike regardless of age and does so without additional premiums.
And what about exclusions? Again, many generic insurance policies will exclude cover under various circumstances – some even exclude cover when your bike is in use… More commonly insurers will exclude cover if you’re training with others or riding in a bunch. You don’t have to accept this, a good broker will be able to offer you a policy that covers your bike at home, interstate and overseas under all circumstances other than professional racing.
Many companies offer insurance for your bike separately from your home and contents insurance. However, as this insurance is generally charged as a percentage of the value of your bike, it tends to be a more expensive insurance option.
Personal injuries are generally covered by health insurance but if you’re cycling overseas ensure that your travel insurance covers you. It’s probably also worth checking that your health insurance provides you with sufficient cover, should you have an accident on your bike.
So what happens if you and your bike cause damage to someone else’s property? You might not be concerned about the cost of replacing your bike, but the cost of replacing someone else’s, or paying their medical bills is a different matter. Make sure whatever insurance coverage you have will pay out if you cause an accident or are at fault or you may be selling your pride and joy to pay those bills.
We’ve said that most policies won’t cover your bike if you’re racing, so how do you get covered if you are? Generally you’ll find that bike association or Cycling Australia membership will cover you for injuries and damage sustained during mass participation rides or racing, but it is worth checking the coverage to be sure that there aren’t unusual exclusions that leave you exposed.
Hopefully this post clears up some of those common questions about insurance coverage and hopefully you won’t need to use it.