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My Guide to Buying Insurance for your Bike
Insuring Your Bike

Understanding Insurance

Despite appearances Insurance is very simple. You pay a premium so that somebody else can worry about bad things. The policy wording simply explains what is covered, what is not covered and what you need to do to get the cover.

If you think of it like that you are halfway to getting to grips with Insurance.

Looking for the right Policy

There is more than one way to insure your bike, but in almost all cases the best way is to arrange cover as part of your Household Contents Policy.

All Household Contents Insurance provides cover on a New for Old basis. So you should insure your bike for its new RRP.

Household Contents Insurance Policies essentially have two sections of cover.

1) The Contents of your home. This is everything you own and keep at your house. Cover is provided for these items whilst they are at your home.

Cover for Accidental Damage is often optional. ALWAYS pay a little extra for this cover.

2) Personal Possessions. This is cover for some of your Contents whilst they are away from your home. Usually this cover extends to cover the items anywhere in the world. The intention of this type of cover is to provide insurance for things like your mobile phone, your camera, jewellery, laptops, clothing. All the things that are likely to removed from your house.

Your Insurance Policy Wording will separate these two sections out which makes it easier to read.

Your Bike needs to be covered under both of these sections. Below is a list of ways you could lose or damage your bike and also which section of your Household Contents policy would apply to the claim.

At your home

A thief breaks in and steals your bike.

A fire damages your bike

An items of furniture falls on your bike ***

Your house explodes and damages your bike

You accidentally drop a tin of paint on your bike ***

*** = only if you have accidental damage cover     

Elsewhere in the World

Somebody mugs you for your bike

Your bike is stolen from your car

Your bike is stolen from a hotel

Your bike is stolen from a friends house

Your bike is damaged when in the hold of a plane

This is only a quickly put together list but it hopefully shows that you really do need both aspects of cover.

Other Ways to Insure Your Bike

Specific Bike Insurance - This should be your second port of call if you can not afford Home Contents Insurance. These policies are expensive and often have very limited cover.

Self Insurance - Instead of paying for household insurance, just stick the money you would have spent on the premium in a savings account. And hope you have enough to buy a new bike.

So really, Home Contents Insurance is the only decent option. If you live with your parents ask them to arrange cover under their policy. If you are at University your parents policy can probably be extended to cover your possessions at the University.

Getting the Best Cover

By far the quickest way to find the cheapest policies is to use one or two of the Price Comparison websites such as

Once you have done this you will have an idea of who the cheapest insurers are. You now need to contact them ascertain what amount of cover they provide for bikes.

Be sure to tell them...

> The value of the bike when NEW
> Where the bike is kept when you are not riding it

Explain that you want the bike covered both at home and away from home (Personal Possessions Cover) and be very clear about the value.

They will most likely explain that they will require an increased premium to provide this cover.

Then ask them if adding the bike means that you will need to have increased security at your home.

Once you have narrowed things down to 2 or 3 Insurers you need to take a more detailed look at the cover they are providing.

Getting the Best Deal

Once you have found out the cheapest 2 or 3 Insurers, check to see if you can get cashback via websites such as these

As an example, presently Quidco are giving

> £19 cashback for an AA Home Contents Policy sols through them.
> £80 cashback for a Sainsburys Building and Contents policy
> £60 cashback for an Aviva Buildings and Contents policy

Well worth the effort of signing up.

Reading the Policy Wording

This is boring. I do this very often and have done for years and I still struggle to stay interested. But as your bike is so important to you here we go...

A Household Contents Insurance policy is fairly easy to read. But at first sight it is a bit daunting. They used to be  worse though so be thankful you aren’t doing this in 1991.


At the beginning the policy will explain what certain words mean. Sometimes these are called “Definitions�, but often they have a more pleasant name like “What we mean�.

Be sure to read through these as this will clarify what the Insurers means when they say things like “Outbuildings� and whether they consider garages and sheds to be part of your home.

General Conditions

This will be a list of things that are expected of you. You must adhere to these because if you do not you may give your Insurer a reason to not pay a claim.

An important condition will be that your take reasonable care of your bike. The easiest way to understand this is to ensure that you look after your bike as if you had no insurance. So don’t leave it unattended and don’t leave your front door open.

Additionally it will be a condition that you tell your Insurer if your circumstances change. So tell them if your house alarm packs up, of if you lose your house keys, or if you take in a lodger etc. The condition will explain in more detail what they want to know about.

There may also be a condition explaining what security you should implement at your home.

Be sure to read all of these General Conditions. They are important because they apply to
your whole policy all of the time and you must adhere..

General Exclusions

These are all of the things that are not covered and they apply to your policy as whole. These tend to be very general and list things such as War and Confiscation.

The only General Exclusion I can think of which is possibly bike relevant is the exclusion that will apply for Wear and Tear. This is never insured. Thus you can not claim for your drivetrain wearing out or your tyres going bald.

Home Contents Cover (what is and isn't covered)

The policy will then most likely start to explain what is covered. This will be a very wide ranging list and will start with something along the lines of “Loss or Damage to your Contents whilst in our home�.

It is a good idea to read this list as you will be surprised at just how much cover you have.

After this will follow a list of things that are not covered. These are exclusions too, but instead of being general to the whole policy, these only apply to this section.
Your policy may exclude Bikes over a certain value, or exclude damage to bikes when being used for racing.

It is vital that you read these exclusions as it is these that are most likely to catch you out.

Contents Away from your Home (what is and isn't covered)

This section will read much like the main contents section. It will list what is covered and then what is not covered.

As before, it is important to read this as the exclusions will be very relevant to you. There will most likely be an exclusion that bikes are not covered unless they are secured in some way,

Your Policy Schedule

This is the other part of your policy documents, and this is the part that is specific to you. It will detail your name, address and also the amount of cover you have for your contents.

If you have arranged specific cover for your bike, it is here that the cover will be detailed. Make sure it is.

The Cooling off Period

When you buy your Home Contents Insurance you have a period of 14 days thereafter to change your mind. You will have to pay a small amount to cover the costs if you do exercise this right.

This is very useful as it gives you time to read your policy and understand it. If it transpires that it is not suited to your needs you can cancel and start again.
Being Prepared for a Claim

Hopefully you will never have to claim, but if you do you will have to prove the value of your bike in order to get your claim paid in full.

If the bike is completely stock this is very easy to do. Just send them a link to whoever is selling the same bike.

However most of us do not have stock bikes. You may have upgraded the brakes, added a dropper post or you may have built the bike up to your own specifications.

If so, my advice would be that you keep receipts for all purchases. And that you also take photographs of your bike. Both will help you a lot if you are claiming.

Payment of your Claim

Most Insurers will try and provide you with a new bike. This is because they have struck deals with certain suppliers and they thus get a discount. You still get a like for like bike so it is a win win situation.

Unless of course they can’t offer the bike you want. If this is the case you are entitled to a cash settlement. They will try and offer a lower amount if you do this but do not accept. Tell them you want to the full amount you are entitled to, which is the cost of replacing the bike with a like for like new replacement.

Why People Incorrectly Think Insurers are Tossers

It has often been said on the forum that Insurers can not be trusted. This is almost always because somebody was told they could not make a claim when they thought they were covered.

Whenever this happens it is usually because the policyholder did not read and understand their policy. Because for an Insurer to throw out a claim, their policy wording must clearly give them the right to do so.
Good guide

What about self built bikes ie both of mine and ones a second hand frame ie not off the shelf complete. Do you tell them the value you think its worth when starting the policy then in the event of a claim you take detailed photos etc to a shop who can make an official cost to replace figure which you then give to the insurers?
"Breezer" Wrote:Good guide

What about self built bikes ie both of mine and ones a second hand frame ie not off the shelf complete. Do you tell them the value you think its worth when starting the policy then in the event of a claim you take detailed photos etc to a shop who can make an official cost to replace figure which you then give to the insurers?

Yeah. Just tot up the new value and give them that figure. The photos and receipts are kept so the value can be confirmed in the event of a claim.
Can I suggest that pictures of your bike, custom or otherwise is a good idea including the frame number (as its unlikely anyone will write this down otherwise), when mine was pinched I couldn't prove that the pedals had changed so had to stump up for new ones. Not really a big deal, but annoying none the less. I found it helps to have pictures of you with the bike, sort of proved ownership, plus I have pictures of them where they are stored and how they are secured should it ever be called into question.
2010 Canyon Aeroad 9.0 SL
2014 Specialized Epic Marathon
Good stuff.   Very timely as i'm just off to sort out my insurance now.
I have just had my Marks and Spencers renewal terms. As mentioned here and elsewhere M&S are no longer the go-to Insurer for us bikey types.

They have changed their cover so that it is now necessary to specify bikes valued at £2k or more for cover away from the home. Previously this was not necessary and they just covered bikes away from the home irrespective.

They then charge a premium accordingly on the specified bike. My premium went up around £90 when I specified my Tallboy. Despite pushing for reconsideration they refused to budge on price so they clearly want rid of bike business. I suspect they got their fingers burnt with a load of thefts.

I am just going through the process of finding a new Insurer and will post up when I do.
I think me and Jon went with Admiral as they came out as the most comparable.  All our bikes had to be specified, but they're all insured away from the home as well for the cheapest we found.  Maybe worth a look.
"Avril19" Wrote:I think me and Jon went with Admiral as they came out as the most comparable.  All our bikes had to be specified, but they're all insured away from the home as well for the cheapest we found.  Maybe worth a look.

Cheers. We use Admiral for the cars though I find them to be bloody awful. And they arent quoting on the various searches for me. Not a great problem though as I may well have struck gold elsewhere  Smile
Just got what appears the be good cover from Amex
2010 Canyon Aeroad 9.0 SL
2014 Specialized Epic Marathon
"treaclesponge" Wrote:Just got what appears the be good cover from Amex

You sound confident  Wink

I went with Bradford and Bingley. Saved about £60 over last years M & S premium, with both bikes covered home and away. The bikes wont be covered in unoccupied vehicles (not a problem for me) and I need to get a valuation done for the Tallboy.

I used the Go Compare price comparison sight, which enabled me to specify the bikes. This then filtered out the companies that could not give the cover, which was handy.

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