Is bicycle insurance worth it?

Commuting to work, riding for fun or taking part in competitive sport? Whatever you love doing, here’s the low down on cycle cover in Ireland.

info icon Almost 7,000 bikes were stolen across Ireland last year say An Garda Síochána, so protecting your bike could ultimately save you money.

What does cycle insurance cover?

It depends on the insurer and the level of cover, but here’s the most popular.

  • Theft Cover if your bike is stolen from your home, garage or shed or away from your home, like your workplace.
  • Accidental or malicious damage Cover for the cost of repairs, or a replacement bike if the damage is too severe. You won’t be covered for maintenance costs or wear and tear.
  • Personal accident Cover for serious injury or death whilst riding your bike. You may get compensation for life-changing injuries, such as loss of limb.
  • Cyclist liability cover Cover if you injure another person or damage their car or bicycle. Handy if you use your bike for work or competitive sport.

Generally, the better your cover, the more you’ll have to pay - but it could be worth it in the long run.

Can you get any extras?

Yes, some insurers specialise in bike cover designed only for cyclists. It’s great for mountain bikers, competitive cyclists and bike couriers; the downside is - it’s more expensive.

These are the sort of extras you can cover

  • Commercial use/loss of earnings
  • Accessories, clothing & helmets
  • Replacement cycle hire
  • European or worldwide travel
  • Competitive use
  • Legal expenses

What’s not covered?

Sadly, bikes are more likely than cars to be stolen or damaged, so insurers have stricter limits on claims. It’s likely there’ll be exclusions on your policy, so read the T&Cs carefully.

ALERT! You won’t be covered for theft or damage if you

  • info icon store or leave your bike in an unsecured building or area
  • info icon leave your bike in an unsecured vehicle
  • info icon have given your bike to a friend or family who’s not on the policy
  • info icon leave your bike in public without locking it securely
  • info icon deliberately damage or put your cycle at risk
  • info icon fail to follow manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines
  • info icon don’t keep your bike in good working order with proper servicing
  • info icon haven’t used safety accessories for your bike, such as lights.

Tip! Always read policy terms and conditions before buying cover. Take note of the exclusions and any extras you may have to pay if you claim.

What happens if you claim?

If your bike is under three years old, insurers will offer new for old replacement if it’s stolen or damaged beyond repair. Otherwise, they’ll pay towards repairs, and you may have to fork out for some of the cost. This is known as ‘the excess’.

How much do you have to pay towards a claim?

As with home insurance, you’ll probably have to pay ‘an excess’ or some money yourself towards repairs or replacement.

For specialist bicycle insurance, the excess is typically €25 or equal to 5% of the insured value for bicycle insurance, whichever is higher.

Does home insurance cover bikes?

Yes, sometimes bicycles are covered by home insurance or it may be offered as an add-on. But beware - a price cap on your bike value and other exclusions may apply.

If your home contents cover bikes, make sure the insurance covers everything you need it to, for example, cover away from home.

So, home insurance has me covered?

Not necessarily. Apart from the potential price cap, the downside of relying on home insurance is you could risk losing your no claims bonus. Also, remember that you may have to pay home contents ‘excess’ on any claim.

If you think it’s likely you’ll have to claim at some point, have an expensive bike or a large home contents excess, then, on balance, it’s probably best to go for a separate bike policy.

Tip!: Check your contents policy for bike cover, it may already be covered. If you don’t cycle often it’s likely cheaper to leave it on your home insurance.

What types of bikes can be covered?

The age and type of cycle you own will affect your cover price. Bicycle insurance covers almost any kind of bike, including all of these.

  • Road & race bikes
  • Mountain bikes
  • Electric bikes
  • Hybrid/commuter bikes
  • Folding bikes
  • Touring bikes

The cost of cover

> The cost of bicycle insurance mostly depends on the age and value of your bike. But where you live and what optional extras you choose will also affect the cost. Expect to pay as little as €3.00 pm for a bike under €250 or as much as €50.00 pm for an e-bike over €5,000.

Tip! The best way to find the cheapest bicycle insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from several insurers.

Is bicycle insurance worth it?

Yes, if you have an expensive bike that you use frequently, but before shelling out for cover, ask yourself the following:

  • How much is your bike worth? Weigh up the cost of the insurance per year with the cost of your bike.

  • How often do you use your bike? If you use your cycle to commute, compete, or for off-roading, you are more likely to have an accident or incur damage. Invest in a good specialist policy if your bike is vital for work or sport.

  • What do you need to insure? Do you need your high-end lights & helmet insured or cover for loss of earnings? Don’t pay for more cover than you really need to keep your costs down.

  • What benefits do you want? If you plan to take your bike abroad or you think you’ll need a bike replacement for work purposes, then pay a higher premium but don’t pay for extra benefits you won’t use.

  • How much can you afford? If you don’t have an expensive bike and you only use it occasionally, then home insurance cover may be fine, but bear in mind you could lose your no-claims bonus if you claim.

info icon Electric bikes or high-end pedal bikes are hugely attractive to thieves, so make sure you’re covered with good bike insurance. The risk of theft is high.

How to cut the chance of bike theft

The cheapest way to insure against theft or damage is to look after your bicycle and keep it secure. Here’s a couple of tips to reduce the chances of having to make a claim.

  1. Spend 10% to 20% of the value of your bike on two locks
  2. Lock your bike indoors or in well-lit areas if possible
  3. Lock your bike tightly to an immovable object, even in the garage
  4. Keep the lock off the ground
  5. Take a bike photo, note the serial number and store it digitally

Bicycle insurance FAQs

Does travel insurance cover bicycles and cycling?

Some travel insurance policies may cover cycling but will likely charge extra for activities like racing, touring and mountain biking. Travel insurance won’t cover any emergency medical costs or the price of getting you home.

If you plan to cycle abroad or in the UK, check with your insurer because you may have to pay extra for EU or international use.

Can I insure a second-hand or older bike?

Most standard insurers will cover bikes up to 3 years old (36 months). Once insured, your bike will stay covered for as long as you maintain your premiums.

Specialist bicycle insurers may insure your bike irrespective of age, condition or upgrades, or whether you bought the bike second-hard. You need to decide on the value of your bike, and that’ll be the value you’ll pay your premium on.

Can I cancel a policy once I've bought it?

Yes, you may cancel your policy within 14 days of the issue (the cooling-off period) and receive a full refund.

After 14 days, if you pay annually, you’ll get a proportionate refund of the annual premium if no claim has been made. You may also have to pay an administration fee.