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Throughout the pandemic, many Americans have turned to bicycles to get around and enjoy the outdoors. From 2019 to 2021, bicycle sales rose by 65%, according to the NPD Group, a market research company that tracks sales of outdoor and sports gear.
As cycling has become more popular, it has spawned a niche market for bicycle insurance, with companies like Velosurance, Spoke and Sundays Insurance selling policies specifically for bikes.
Most cyclists won’t need separate bicycle insurance, but for some, it’s worth considering.
What is bicycle insurance?
Bicycle insurance policies typically include higher coverage limits and more options tailored specifically to cyclists. For example, Spoke offers 24-hour emergency roadside assistance, while Sundays Insurance offers taxi fare reimbursement if you're in an accident and unable to bike home.
Depending on your insurer, bicycle insurance can also include the following coverage:
Medical payments for your medical costs if you're injured while riding your bike.
Replacement cost to fix your bike if it's damaged or to replace your bike if it's stolen or destroyed.
Personal liability for injuries you cause to others while riding your bicycle.
Uninsured motorist to cover you if you're injured by an uninsured driver.
Event entry fee reimbursement to pay you back for prepaid entry fees if you're injured in a covered incident and can no longer compete in a competition.
Bicycle insurance is generally inexpensive. The premiums for both Spoke insurance and Velosurance start at $100 a year.
Who should consider bicycle insurance?
For most cyclists, the coverage provided by other insurance, like homeowners or renters insurance, will be enough. Bicycle insurance also isn’t legally required.
However, it may be a good option if:
You don’t have homeowners or renters insurance.
Your bicycle costs more than the coverage limits on your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
You have low limits or steep deductibles on your health insurance.
You cycle competitively.
How insurance you already have may cover your bike
Though bicycle insurance may make sense for some people, other insurance policies may already provide enough coverage for you and your bike. For example, if your bike is stolen or if you're injured in an accident, you could be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
Below are some situations in which you’d be covered by other insurance, like home, renters or auto.
Your bike is stolen or damaged
If your bicycle is damaged or stolen, it could be covered by personal property insurance, which is a standard part of your renters or homeowners insurance policy. Personal property coverage will reimburse you up to your coverage limit amount, minus your deductible.
Personal property coverage often has sublimits, though, meaning your insurance will pay only a certain amount for valuables like jewelry, antiques and expensive furs. So it’s a good idea to check the sublimit for your bicycle to know whether it would be fully covered if it were damaged or stolen. If your coverage is too low, some insurers may allow you to schedule your bicycle, which means increasing coverage for it specifically.
You cause an accident while riding your bike
If you’re riding your bike and hit a pedestrian, the pedestrian's medical expenses could be covered by the liability insurance on your home or renters insurance policy. Your policy could also cover damage to your bicycle. If you’re injured in the crash, your medical expenses would be covered by your health insurance.
If you cause a car accident while riding your bike, the same rules apply. Personal liability coverage on your home or renters insurance policy could pay for the driver’s injuries. And the policy could cover the damage to their vehicle and your bike. Your medical expenses, again, would be covered by your health insurance.
You’re injured while riding your bike
If a pedestrian causes you to crash while you’re on your bike, the liability insurance attached to their home or renters insurance policy could pay for your medical expenses. If you’re hit by a car while cycling, the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage could pay for your medical expenses. In either case, if the at-fault person is not insured, your personal medical insurance should cover your injuries.
Alternatively, if you’re required by state law to carry no-fault auto insurance — meaning insurance that pays for injury-related expenses regardless of who causes an accident — your medical costs should be covered by that policy. No-fault insurance, also called personal injury protection or PIP, typically provides more extensive benefits than medical insurance, including work-loss coverage.
If you have auto insurance but are thinking about buying a separate bike insurance policy, you may want to ask your auto insurer how much it would cost to add PIP to your policy first. Adding PIP to your existing auto insurance policy could be more cost-effective than purchasing a separate bike insurance policy.
As for the damage to your bicycle, either the at-fault person’s liability insurance or your own home or renters insurance policy should cover repair or replacement, depending on your coverage limits.