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Bicycles need insurance, too

Amy Higgins

Extra coverage probably isn’t necessary if you occasionally pedal a $100 bike purchased from a big-box retailer. But if you’re an avid cyclist or if biking is your business, you should make sure to safeguard your cycle.

Protecting your bike

Every year, roughly 1.5 million bikes are stolen, according to the National Bike Registry NBR). From college campuses and your own front yard, bikes are taken by thieves and never seen again by their owners. Fortunately, home insurance covers bike theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute. You’ll first need to meet your deductible, however. So unless your bike is expensive, it may not pay off to submit a claim to your home insurance company.

If your bike is valuable, you can add a floater to your home insurance policy that provides extra coverage for replacing or repairing it. This kind of coverage should cost roughly $9 a year for each $100 of your bike’s value, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Your home insurance also includes liability coverage for bike accidents, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This means that it will cover with no deductible) the court costs if you injure someone with your bike and are sued.

Working your bike

Bike couriers and pedicab drivers have unique needs. If you’re using your bike for business, you’ll need coverage for any injuries you cause on the job. This kind of coverage generally comes from the company you’re working for; specialty insurers provide coverage tailored to delivery businesses.

Companies like the Lester Kalmanson Agency and ISU Insurance Services of Westlake, for example, provide pedicab liability insurance. ISU also offers packages that include general medical payment coverage as well as fire and theft protection. Brightstone Insurance Services, which focuses on the transportation and logistics industry, also provides insurance to bike courier companies. Its bicycle messenger liability policy can cover bikes, bike operators and cargo.

Pointers to protect your property

Register your bike with your local police department or with NBR. When you register with NBR, your bike’s serial number is entered into its national database. If your registered bike is stolen and then found, you can prove ownership through this database. If your bike is stolen and not recovered within six months, NBR says it will register your next bike for free and will keep your stolen bike’s information until it’s found. NBR registration fees range from $10 to $25 and are good for 10 to 30 years.

The NBR recommends bike owners do the following to prevent bike theft:

  • Lock as much of the bike as possible. If it has a quick release, remove the front wheel and put it next to the back wheel so that you can run the lock through both rims and the frame.
  • Use a U-shaped lock.
  • Lock the bike to something that can’t be broken or moved, and make sure a thief can’t lift the bike off whatever it’s locked to.
  • Lock the bike in a well-lit place with plenty of pedestrian traffic.
  • Consider making the bike less attractive by putting tape on it or painting it with a nondescript color. Thieves like attractive bikes.
  • Make sure the lock is not near the ground where it can be hammered off.

Do not leave the bike unlocked in a garage visible from the sidewalk. Lock your bike even in the garage.

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