Bicycle insurance is still pretty new here in the United States, and as of right now, there are just a few options. First, we should discuss bicycle insurance as a concept. Insurance is designed to offset risk. When you insure something, you pay a small amount to guarantee that if you have some mishap, you won’t have to pay a significantly larger amount to replace what was lost or damaged. There are some things to consider before you decide to purchase bicycle insurance—let’s take a closer look.

Do you need bicycle insurance?

Your riding habits can help determine whether or not bicycle insurance a good decision for you. Not everyone rides their bike every day. Not everyone rides an expensive bike. And not everyone is worried about their bike being stolen or damaged. Those of us who ride infrequently or ride inexpensive bikes may not need independent bicycle insurance. Sometimes, it’s more costly to purchase insurance than to just buy a new bike if something were to happen.

There are other types of insurance that can cover your bicycle. Homeowner’s insurance often covers bike theft if your bike is taken from your home. Auto insurance (that of the driver who caused the accident) can cover your medical expenses and bike repair if the accident is caused by another driver on the road, even if they run off. For more information about homeowner’s and auto insurance coverage, check out this blog or order a copy of our free Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook.

Bicycle Crash Victim

Photo by Bill Morrow via Flickr

However, some people ride bikes that cost as much as several thousand dollars. Some people use a bike as their main mode of transportation and often have to leave it unattended. Others don’t want to worry about wrecks, theft, or injury on their bike and don’t want to deal with the risk. If you fit into one of these categories, bicycle insurance is probably a good fit for you.

Here are your options

As of right now, there are four insurance companies that cover US residents. But if you look closely, it’s really just three.

Spoke insurance is the first company to offer comprehensive stand-alone bicycle insurance. In a lot of ways, Spoke insurance is a lot like auto insurance. It covers accidents, as well as coverage for uninsured or under-insured motorist collisions. It even has theft insurance and bicycle roadside assistance that you can use three times in a year. In this case, when Spoke insurance says they’re comprehensive, they mean comprehensive.

Balance insurance offers insurance protection for all kinds of outdoor activities, cycling included. They are a nice option for people looking primarily for injury insurance because that’s really all they offer. Balance doesn’t provide theft protection or any of the other services that make Spoke comprehensive. Balance also doesn’t operate in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York. If you live or ride in any of these states, Balance insurance isn’t an option for you.

The last two insurance companies are really just one company. Velosurance is a bicycle insurance company that’s a part of Markel America. Markel is a conglomerate that owns several insurance companies including Markel Specialty Insurance. In this case, Velosurance writes the policies and acts as a general agent for Markel. Exact pricing and specific deals offered is something you may want to do a little research on.

Both provide identical coverage and run very similar rates. For cyclists, Velosurance/Markel both insure against theft, damage, and even cover your extras like spare parts and riding apparel. Unlike Spoke and Balance, they provide coverage for all 50 states plus Canada, and for a little extra they’ll cover physical damage to your bike around the globe.

Insurance can only go so far

After so much talk of insurance companies, it’s a good idea to remind you that no matter how nice an insurance company may be when you’re paying your premiums, they are in the business of making money.  Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are not your friend–their job is to find ways to pay you as little as possible.  If you’ve been injured and you’re having trouble with your insurance company, give us a call at (801)506-0800.  It’s our job to help you get what you deserve after an accident.