Bicycle Insurance - Protecting Yourself, Others, and Your Property
Transportation is a dangerous necessity that all people engage in daily. Whether you are driving a car, flying on a plane, or riding a motorcycle, the chances of getting injured or being in a fatal accident are at an all-time high. Usually, the cause behind incidents are because of distraction or negligence. Similarly, the situation and outcome is the same if you’re riding a bicycle. The truth is that people rarely, if ever, pay attention to bicyclists. This unmindful behavior has led to an annual estimate of 726 injuries and deaths for bicycle/motorist crashes. Ultimately, you want to protect your life and your bicycle. Therefore, the following questions then present themselves for bicyclists:
- “Should how I use my bicycle encourage me to review/consider my health insurance plan?”
- “What health coverages can safeguard me and others in the event of accident or fatality?”
- “Can I cover my bicycle under my homeowners or renter’s policy?”
- “And if so, what coverage protection is offered for my bicycle?”
- “What insurance providers offers protection for my bike?”
The Exposure of Your Bike Determines Your Need for Insurance
Bicyclists have taken the childhood activity of bike riding and transformed it into a practical use in everyday life. Everywhere you go, there is someone riding their beloved bikes. However, there is always a risk involved. The more you ride your bicycle, the more your chances are increased of getting injured or of injuring others. Here are a few cyclists’ situations that may inspire you to consider more specialized insurance coverage:
- Bike Courier/Bike Messenger – Metropolitan areas are famous for having these cyclists delivering packages and paperwork quicker than through mail or by car. Due to the strain of having on time delivery, bicycle couriers use lightweight bikes because they are better for speed. Imagine the danger in riding at high speeds, cutting through traffic, with added pressure to make a deadline! In less than 2.9 seconds, an accident can occur!
- Bike Advertising – Bike advertising is another popular cycling job in the city. Companies pay for bike riders to carry billboards behind their bikes, either single or in groups. The great thing is that this profession doesn’t possess imminent danger of riding at high speeds. However, there is always a possibility of a pedestrian stepping out and becoming injured.
- Bike Tour Guide/Rental Bike – Most tourist love to rent bicycles or have bike tour guides on vacations. It is a quick and easy way to explore the city without spending tons of money or becoming tired while walking. Consequently, danger still has the capability of happening. Bike Tour Guides are more familiar with the city and have a less chance of getting injured or causing injuries to others. However, tourists who rent bikes are not familiar with the area and pose a threat to themselves and others. For this example, it would be best if the tour guide has the right insurance coverage that can cover any incidents or if the tourist has coverage of their own.
- Paper Route Biking – This familiar job isn’t as popular as it used to be, but still happens in small suburban communities. The main mission of paper routes is to have the morning paper available before householders start their day. This means that paper route bikers get up in the wee hours of the morning to achieve this. What is the danger? The danger is limited visibility at the time of hours worked. Just like in the above scenarios, the chances of motorist not seeing the cyclist are high.
- Mountain Bike Trail Leader – Great cardio is the number one reason why people bike. Biking is awesome is because it allows people to get healthy with little to no effort. Mountain biking is relatively safe, but most mountain biking trails are located far away from motorist to prevent incidents from happening. Mountain Bike leaders and their participants are exposed to rugged pathway that could make the biker fall over. Thankfully, the odds of a fatality occurring are low. Strangely enough, a biker can still have a tremendous injury on their knees or arms from falling.
The above scenarios are perfect reasons to verify/or obtain more specialized insurance coverage. Use this formula to determine if your exposure and your risk requires you to have health coverage: Increased exposure (amount of bicycle use) increases risks; and in turn increases the need for additional insurance.
The Coverages That All Bicyclists Should Consider
Health insurance is needed for bicyclists. In addition, bicycle insurance (which is similar to auto insurance) is also needed. Health insurance only carries coverages that pertain to you. While bicycle insurance contains coverages that help both you and the other party. Still when choosing these plans, all decisions should be made based on your exposure. If you’re using your bicycle once or twice a week, then you may not need as much coverage as if you were using it five days a week.
There are three main things that are the most important for bicyclists.
- Emergency Room Coverage – Due to the fact that most incidents/accidents happen unexpectedly, it is important to make sure your health plan covers emergency room visits. It is always good to make sure that these deductibles are a low as possible; as one may need to make multiple trips to the ER to resolve the medical issue.
- HMO/PPO – Health insurance providers offer two kinds of base plans. HMO – (Health Maintenance Organization) and PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). The best explanation of the difference between these plans are simple. HMO is a plan that only support a list of doctors, in network, that are pre-selected by your health provider; while PPO is a plan for doctors who are not in network with your health provider. A great way to determine which plan to go with is by figuring out if your primary physician is in network or out of network.
- Urgent Care Co-Pay – It is possible to that a bicyclist can have an incident and show no signs or injuries until later. Or one may not feel up to waiting hours at the hospital. Either way cyclists can go to Urgent Care for some medical needs. Therefore, having a health plan that allows you to have a reasonable deductible for Urgent Care may be paramount.
- Medical Coverage (also known as Med Pay) - Medical coverage should be a priority when it comes to selecting the right health plan. Why? Because this coverage is all about you and your medical expenses. Fall off the bike, run into an open car door, or a get hit by a car (whether the person who hits you is insured or not) then Med Pay covers it all. They pay hospital bills, rehabilitation treatments, post hospital medical equipment, etc. Anything medical related is covered. The limits of Med Pay usually ranges between $5,000-$50,000. It doesn’t take long spend thousands of dollars in medical expenses. So, pick a limit that fits your exposure and risk.
- Liability Protection – Contrary to what consumers think, medical coverage and liability protection are not the same. The difference is that liability protection insures that the other person’s medical expenses are paid in case you cause them any physical injuries. Gratefully, you don’t have to worry about asking for liability protection. It is a mandatory coverage with bicycle insurance. It also comes minimum limit of around $10,000.
Moreover, it is important to carry both of health and bicycle insurance plans. These coverages will give you the peace of mind and the protection that you need.
Life Insurance Help Bicycles Prepare for Worst Case Scenario
In the world of bicycling, fatalities are a realist fact that hundreds have been subject to. Life insurance policies ensure that provide lump sum payments, or death benefits, to the beneficiaries of the deceased. Choosing life insurance, is only based on the needs of loved ones left behind. Life Insurance premiums generally cost between $250-$500 per year and can range death benefits from $2500 to $100,000. All bicyclists should get a life insurance policy to guarantee a maintained lifestyle for surviving members.
Homeowners or Renters Insurance May or May Not Cover Your Bicycle Needs
Now, that the importance of your life has been covered; it also important to cover your bicycle. You may be surprised to find out how your bicycle is covered until you file for a claim. Here is the truth: Yes. Both types of policies will cover your bicycle. In the event of damage or theft then homeowners and renter’s policy will make sure that you get paid for your bike. Here is another truth: there are so many exclusions and restrictions that you probably won’t ever see the full replacement cost for your bicycle. Homeowners policy covers the structure of your home. What does this mean for your bicycle? It means that unless the roof of the garage collapse on top of your bike and damages it or a theft occurs removing the bike from your home, then it probably won’t be covered. Similarly, the same is true for renter’s insurance; with the exception of companies like All State and Traveler’s Insurance. These two companies will cover the theft of your bicycle even it isn’t stolen from home. However, renter’s insurance only covers your personal belongings within your home. Usually, only under the circumstances of a theft or a fire. There are two kinds of renter’s insurance policy that one can obtain: an itemized policy or a blanket policy. Itemized policies often have a minimum requirement for items to qualify. The amount of this requirement varies depending on the insurance provider, with the deductible fee starting at $50 and up. This means that the price of your bicycle must meet the policy requirements for it to be covered. Blanket policies work a bit simpler than itemized ones. With blank policy, you can purchase a policy for one coverage limit that covers the total amount of all your personal belongings, including your bicycle. Since both homeowners and renter’s insurance consider depreciation to be a factor when evaluating claims, you could only get paid the actual cash value of your bicycle. Meaning that your $300 bicycle that you purchased five years ago may be worth less than half of that amount today! Here is a list of how homeowner/renter’s insurance and bicycle insurance cover different items:
- Insured at Full Value – Not Likely
- Theft Coverage - Limited
- Theft Coverage Away from Home – Not Likely
- Personal Liability – Yes
- Replacement Bike Rental – No
- Covered in Transit – No
- Roadside Assistance – No
- Physical Damage to Bike Outside of Home - No
- Insured at Full Value - Yes
- Theft Coverage - Yes
- Theft Coverage Away from Home - Yes
- Personal Liability – Yes
- Replacement Bike Rental – Yes
- Covered in Transit – Yes
- Roadside Assistance – Yes
- Physical Damage to Bike - Yes
Clearly, there is a major difference between what a homeowners/renter’s policy and a bicycle policy will cover. Again, the decision on whether to allow your home or renter’s policy to cover your bicycle is based solely on the cost of the bike.
Additional Coverages That Can Be Considered for Bicycle Insurance
Now that you’ve analyzed how much your bike cost and what type of bicyclist you are, you can now consider what type of insurance coverage that you will need. Having proper insurance coverage is the difference between feeling safeguarding as opposed to feeling vulnerable in an unforeseen incident. Moreover, making sure that your insurance plan is customized for your cycling lifestyle is paramount to guaranteeing that you and your bicycle are protected. Here is a list of coverages that every bicyclist should consider:
- Theft – If you love your bike, do you really want it to be stolen? Certainly, not! More importantly, you want an insurance provider whose able to compensate you for your loss. The great thing about bike insurance is that it is different from vehicle insurance. You don’t have to worry about your bicycle depreciating in value as soon as you ride it, like an automobile does! Generally, all bicycle insurance providers will either replace or repay you the full amount that your bike is worth! Note that there are certain stipulations for the age of bikes. The normal life span for a bicycle is typically between six and ten years depending on the type of bike and how much it is used. In other words, don’t expect the insurance company to pay full amount or even provide coverage for a bicycle that is thirty years old.
- Accidental/Crash Damage – Bicycle accidents happen a lot more than people realize. Based on the federal accident census, 722 bicycle accidents happened the year of 2012, with highly populated metro areas holding the crash lead. Naturally, you want insurance that can cover you in the event of an accident. Whether you hit a bump in the road, run into the trashcan, or slide off a trail make sure that the company you choose will cover in all instances.
- Loss/Damage in Transit – Imagine saving for your favorite bike. No one locally can provide the type of bicycle that you are looking for, so instead you decide to order it. You have all the customizations and stylish gadgets that would make any other bicyclist jealous. Only to discover from the shipper, that your bike was damaged or suddenly went missing during transport. No doubt, you would be disappointed. Truthfully incidents happened all too often. You bicycle could even fly off the back of your vehicle while driving. That’s why it’s important to have a provider that will cover you if this misfortune happens.
- Roads Service – The idea of road service for a bicycle may seem unimportant. How many bicycles are seen broken down on side of the road? Surely, not many. However, a broken chain or a broken pedal could easily happen with extensive use or on rugged paths. Presently, road service coverage is good to have for bicyclists who travel far away from home. This coverage provides 24- hour service that will allow someone to come and pick you up no matter where you are.
Verifying that these coverages are offered, can make all the difference for your bicycle.
Insurance Providers Who Care About Your Bicycle as Much as You Do
The truth is that most people never even think of bicycle insurance, which also means that the same amount of people don’t think about being a provider who offers insurance to bikes. It is important for bicyclists to find an insurance provider who values their treasured bike just as much as they do. Thankfully most of these providers are bicyclist themselves and understand the need to have proper protection.
Velosurance is a national insurance carrier who specializes in providing coverage for cyclists everywhere. Due to the two founders being former cyclists, they understand that people who enjoy riding bicycles need to be covered and that coverage is a rare commodity. This consideration allows them to offer a wide variety of services. In fact, Velosurance offers every coverage provided in the previous section. In addition to offering insurance coverage, Velosurance also provides policyholders with advice and information to keep them safe while on the road or the trail.
If you’re looking for a company who focuses on paying you the amount that your bike is worth, then Markel Insurance is it! Markel considers each individual claim different and pays according to the age and to the repairs needed. The best part about their insurance is that they also pay additional for customizations. Yes! That means that all the money you spent styling your bicycle for you will be paid out in the claim. Along with Velosurance, they are considered one of the insurance industry’s leading carrier!
Insurance Services of Westlake
Need your bicycle insurance? Not sure where to purchase it from? Then that’s where Insurance Services of Westlake steps in! Insurance Services of Westlake, also known as ISU, is a brokerage company who promises to find their clients the proper cyclist coverage. Licensed in every state, ISU works with over 200 companies to fit your bicycle insurance needs and your budget. Due to their connections with various programs and organization, interested policyholders can attend the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, Interbike, People for Bikes, and the Hawaii Bicycle League. Of course, this bicycle broker can give you the coverage and the perks!
Better World Club
Better World Club is an auto club that focuses on providing road assistance and insurance coverage for vehicles. However, due to the increase of cyclists they decided to offer bicyclists insurance. When selecting this carrier, you should understand that their services are limited. Better World Club offers road service assistance for members. In addition, they also provide medical coverage up to $100,000 dollars for cyclists who are injured in an accident and liability protection up to $1 million dollars for damage and injuries caused by the insured cyclists. Better World Club bicycle coverage does have a stipulation. The coverage only covers: mountain bikes, road bikes, and electric bikes. Any other type of bike is not covered. While Better World Club doesn’t cover theft, damage, or accidents, it may still be exactly what you are looking for.
This list of insurance providers prove that coverage can vary between carriers. You must be sure you can pick the right coverage for your treasured bike!
It is obvious that bicycles play a positive role in the lives of most people. They are a useful part of transportation just like any other car, plane, or motorcycle. Unfortunately, the risk of becoming dying or being injured is prevalent. Therefore, bicyclists want to make sure that they have the necessary health and bicycle insurance to protect their lives and their property. After answering the questions in the beginning of the article, there is only one more left to ask: Is there anything better than knowing that you and your bicycle are covered? Of course, the answer would be “no”. Whether you are commuting as a courier, advertiser, paper route biker, bike tourist, or a mountain trail leader; it is good to know that you have insurance coverage options to protect your life and your bike.