Bike insurance: Everything you need to know

Bike insurance operates differently based on the type of two-wheeler a rider owns and the local rules and regulations governing coverage. While bicycles and electric bikes (e-bikes) typically don’t require insurance, experts recommend coverage for cycling enthusiasts. On the contrary, motorcycle insurance is mandatory in most states and regions due to the powerful engines, posing a higher level of risk.

If you are a rider contemplating whether coverage is necessary, this article serves as a handy guide. We will delve into how bike insurance functions for the most common types of two-wheelers – bicycles, e-bikes, and motorcycles. Additionally, we will discuss the coverage provided by each policy, the benefits of having insurance, and the factors that influence premium costs. This article is especially valuable for insurance professionals who may find it beneficial to share with clients seeking clarity on this topic.

Bicycle insurance 

  1. Bicycle insurance offers financial protection against various bike-related issues. Although not legally mandated, it may be worthwhile for specific types of cyclists.
  2. How does bicycle insurance work?
  3. Cyclists have two avenues to access bicycle insurance:
  1. Through their existing home insurance policy
  2. By opting for standalone bicycle insurance

Bike coverage under home insurance 

Typically, standard homeowners, renters, and condo insurance plans include coverage for bicycles within the personal property section. However, these plans provide limited protection and lower coverage limits compared to specialized bike coverages. While such protection may suffice for casual riders, avid cyclists with modified and high-value bikes might find the coverage inadequate.

For those who own pricey bicycles, the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) recommends the purchase of a rider. This rider enables policyholders to schedule personal property, a strategy often employed for high-value items. This endorsement allows homeowners to enhance coverage, ensuring that their valuable and customized bikes receive the protection they deserve.

Standalone bike insurance  

The recent surge in cycling, prompted by the pandemic, has given rise to a specialized market for bicycle insurance. Standalone bike policies, designed for cycling enthusiasts, offer elevated coverage limits and tailored protection. Naturally, this specialization has a direct impact on premiums.

What does bike insurance cover? 

Personal property coverage within home insurance policies typically safeguards against theft and vandalism. The claimed amount hinges on whether the plan covers the actual cash value or replacement cost of the stolen or damaged property.

In the context of bike damage, policies come into play based on the situation. Homeowners, renters, and condo insurance cover scenarios such as damages incurred during vehicular accidents while transporting the bike, or if the bike is destroyed in a house fire. However, home policies do not extend coverage to instances where the cyclist collides with objects like trees or other vehicles. In such cases, filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability coverage under their car insurance policies becomes necessary.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into the various protections provided by auto insurance and other policy types, explore our comprehensive insurance guide. Conversely, standalone bike insurance policies offer coverage for:

Repair and Replacement Cost: Covers expenses if the bicycle is damaged, stolen, or destroyed.

Medical Expenses: Addresses hospital bills and treatment costs for cyclists injured while riding, similar to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in auto insurance.

Personal Liability: Protects against injuries caused by the cyclist to others.

Event Entry Fee Cancellation: Reimburses entry fees if the cyclist sustains injuries before a covered competition, preventing their participation.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Similar to Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage in car insurance, it covers cyclists injured by an uninsured driver. Certain specialized bike insurance policies go a step further, offering:

Roadside Assistance Services: Taxi Fare Reimbursement: In case cyclists can no longer use their bicycles to get home.

How much does bike insurance cost? 

Bicycle insurance premiums in the United States typically vary between $100 and $300 annually. The rates are contingent on various factors, primarily the cost of the bike. In Canada, annual premiums might equate to 3% to 7% of the bicycle’s total value. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, coverage typically amounts to £50 for a bike valued at £1,000.

Who needs bike insurance? 

  • Not everyone needs separate bike insurance, and industry experts suggest that it might be worth considering if the bike owner:
  • Races Competitively: Individuals engaged in competitive racing may find specialized bike insurance beneficial, providing coverage tailored to the unique risks associated with racing activities.
  • Lacks Homeowners’ or Renters’ Insurance: For those without existing homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, standalone bike insurance becomes crucial. It ensures comprehensive coverage for the bike, addressing potential damages, theft, or accidents.
  • Frequently Rides Off-Road: Off-road biking presents additional risks compared to on-road cycling. Bike insurance can offer protection specifically designed for the challenges associated with off-road adventures.
  • Invests in Expensive Upgrades and Modifications: Cyclists who invest significantly in customizing their bikes with expensive upgrades and modifications may benefit from specialized insurance. This coverage ensures that the added value is protected in case of damage or theft.
  • Owns a High-Priced Bike Exceeding Home Insurance Limits: Individuals with high-priced bikes that surpass the coverage limits of their home insurance policies should consider standalone bike insurance. This guarantees adequate coverage for the full value of the bike.

Electric bike insurance 

E-bike insurance offers coverage similar to that for traditional bicycles, and its purchase is not mandatory for riders. However, due to the motorized nature of these two-wheelers, certain states have enacted laws governing their usage. While the acquisition of e-bike insurance is not obligatory, riders should explore coverage options, considering the following factors:

Similar Coverage to Regular Bicycles: E-bike insurance typically encompasses protections akin to those for conventional bicycles, safeguarding against theft, damage, liability, and more.

Non-Mandatory Purchase: Unlike some other forms of insurance, riders are not obligated to purchase e-bike insurance. However, it remains a prudent choice for those seeking additional financial protection.

Motorized Aspect and State Laws: The motorized components of e-bikes prompt certain states to establish regulations governing their use. Understanding and complying with these laws is crucial for e-bike riders to ensure legal operation.

How does e-bike insurance work? 

Much like traditional bicycles, owners of e-bikes have multiple avenues to secure coverage for their units. Accessible through homeowners, renters, or condo insurance’s personal property section, e-bike owners can also opt for enhanced protection by scheduling their e-bikes. Additionally, standalone e-bike insurance is available for those seeking dedicated coverage. Understanding these insurance options allows e-bike owners to tailor their coverage to individual preferences and needs, ensuring comprehensive protection for their valuable two-wheelers.

What does e-bike insurance cover? 

Comprehensive e-bike coverage offers the same protection as that for standard bicycle policies. These can include the following: 

  • Theft and vandalism 
  • Accidental damage 
  • Medical payments 
  • Crashes and collisions 
  • Liability  
  • In-transit damage 
  • Spare parts losses  
  • Cycling apparel damage or theft 
  • Roadside assistance 

How much does e-bike insurance cost? 

Here’s a cost breakdown by country: 

  • US e-bike insurance premiums typically start at $100. 
  • UK policies go for £50 upwards.  
  • In Canada, annual rates for comprehensive coverage begin at $140.  

The e-bike’s value and the local regulations regarding coverage and usage are the primary factors affecting premium prices. 

When do you need e-bike insurance? 

Numerous states across the United States have implemented classification systems for e-bikes, aiming to differentiate them from comparable two-wheelers like mopeds and scooters. These 26 states have embraced a three-tier e-bike classification system, shaping various facets of ownership. This system governs critical elements such as age restrictions for riders, and mandates for helmets, licenses, registration, and insurance. Understanding the nuances of these classification systems is pivotal for e-bike enthusiasts, ensuring compliance with state regulations and facilitating a seamless ownership experience.

These are the three classifications of e-bikes that the states mentioned above use, according to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). 

  • Class 1: E-bikes with motors that provide pedaling assistance for up to 20 miles per hour. 
  • Class 2: E-bikes with motors that can provide pedaling assistance or power the unit without pedaling up to 20 miles per hour. 
  • Class 3: E-bikes equipped with speedometers and motors that provide pedaling assistance up to 28 miles per hour. 

E-bike owners are advised to contact their state’s insurance department or a licensed insurance agent or broker to better understand local coverage requirements for their two-wheelers. 

Motorcycle Insurance 

Motorcycle insurance is a legal requirement for anyone riding their two-wheelers on the road – and for good reason. This type of coverage helps protect riders against liability if their vehicles are involved in an accident and provides financial compensation if their bikes are stolen or damaged. 

What does motorcycle insurance cover? 

The minimum requirement for US motorbike riders is liability coverage. Most policies offer other types of protection, but these are optional, according to Triple-I. These are the most common types of coverages available for motorcycle owners. 

  • Liability insurance: Required in most states, this type of policy provides compensation for bodily injury and property damage (BI & PD) that the motorcycle rider causes to others. Coverage, however, excludes losses and injury that the biker sustains.  
  • Guest passenger liability coverage: Pays out for medical treatment for injuries sustained by a passenger. 
  • Collision coverage: Covers damages to the rider’s motorcycle after a road accident, regardless of who is at fault.  
  • Comprehensive coverage: Pays out the cost to repair or replace the motorcycle for damages resulting from events other than road accidents such as fire, theft, vandalism, or flooding.  
  • Personal injury protection: Pays for the rider’s medical expenses after an accident, no matter who is at fault.  
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage: Covers the rider for losses they incur after an accident if the at-fault driver is uninsured – does not have insurance – or underinsured – does not have enough insurance. UM/UIM policies also pay out for medical expenses, lost wages and, in some cases, property damage. 
  • Customized motorcycle parts coverage: Covers any accessories or custom enhancements that the owner makes on their motorcycle, subject to limits. 

How much does motorcycle insurance cost? 

Just like in other types of bike insurance, several factors impact the premium prices of motorcycle insurance. These include: 

  • The rider’s age 
  • The rider’s driving record 
  • The motorcycle owner’s residence 
  • The type of motorbike 
  • The motorcycle’s age 
  • Annual mileage 
  • Where the motorbike is parked 

Typical price ranges by country are: 

  • US premiums start at about $60 per month or $720 annually.  
  • UK prices range between £340 and £850 per year. 
  • Canadian average is around $1,600 yearly.  

You can get useful tips on how to slash motorcycle insurance costs by reading our practical motorbike premium-reduction guide. 

Is insurance cheaper for bikes or cars? 

While the market value of a motorcycle is significantly less than that of cars, the cost of insurance is typically higher due to the two-wheeler’s risk exposure. Because some motorbikes can accelerate faster and reach much greater speeds compared to other types of vehicles, accidents involving motorcycles can likewise be more destructive and devastating. 

Data gathered by Triple-I has shown that motorcycle riders are five times more prone to injury and 29 times more likely to die due to an accident than someone driving a car. Premium prices, however, go down for inexpensive motorbikes that run on less powerful engines. You can work out how much motorcycle insurance you need by checking out this guide.  Are you an owner of a bicycle, e-bike, or motorcycle? Do you think taking out coverage is worthwhile and necessary? Hit us up in the chat box below for your thoughts. 


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