Velosurance bicycle insurance

Velosurance is a national insurance agency founded by two cyclists in response to the insurance needs of bicycle riders nationwide. We partnered with an A.M.Best “A” rated, US insurance company to provide a multi-risk policy offering protection to all types of cyclists.

Contact Info
500 NE Spanish River Blvd Suite 103C
Boca Raton, FL 33431
United States
support@velosurance.com
+1 (888) 663 9948

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A buyer's guide to the best bicycle and e-bike insurance

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You can add more bikes later
bicycle insurance 12 Dec 2023 By Denis Voitenko

When specialty bicycle insurance is discussed, one might be quick to associate it with coverage on high-end or customized bicycles owned by aficionados and used for racing or other special events. Surprisingly, these insurance policies also provide a much needed range of coverage for those with regular bikes, ridden for pleasure or used to commute to school or work.

The main reason speciality bicycle insurance exists is because traditional policies fall short in providing adequate coverage for those for whom cycling is an integral part of their lifestyle. There’s also a general misconception that bikes and e-bikes are covered by a home insurance policy. While homeowners or renters insurance policies may offer some coverage for personal property, including bicycles, they often have serious limitations and may not fully cover the replacement cost of a high-end bike and many exclude e-bikes entirely. Home insurance policies typically depreciate bike value and have deductibles as high as $2,500 to boot, all while excluding most high-risk situations that normal riders would find themselves in. To make matters worse, a claim against a home insurance policy is likely to result in increased rates or a policy non-renewal altogether.

lady after a bike accident

One key advantage of specialty bicycle insurance is its tailored coverage for specific risks associated with cycling. Cyclists often face unique challenges such as theft away from home, crashes, medical injuries, accidents during races, damage sustained during transport, personal liability or the need for international coverage. Specialty insurance can be customized to address these specific scenarios, offering comprehensive protection that goes way beyond what any other insurance policy might provide. This coverage can be especially important for avid cyclists, those who participate in competitive events, travel frequently with their bikes, or own high-performance models.

Moreover, specialty bicycle insurance typically offers features that are not found in standard insurance policies, such as coverage for spare gear, accessories, riding apparel, reimbursement of bike rental and event fees. Cyclists often invest in expensive accessories like GPS units, race wheels, or high-end apparel, and these are usually not covered by any other insurance policy. While some bicycle insurance policies provide this coverage out-of-the-box, with others you may need to request this coverage separately.

Just like many other types of insurance, bicycle insurance is highly nuanced and it’s prudent of the consumer to understand the coverage they are getting. Coverages and limits on policies from various providers differ significantly and the price often doesn’t reflect the coverage offered. In this article we will outline what you must look for in a bicycle insurance policy, read on and you’ll walk away a more educated, scrutinizing consumer.

Theft

The primary worry for all bike owners is theft, with FBI data indicating approximately 190,000 bikes stolen annually in the United States, averaging a theft every 2.5 minutes. However, data provided by Project 529 Garage suggests a much higher estimate of around 2 million bike thefts yearly in the United States and Canada combined, equating to a bike being stolen every 30 seconds. Compounding the issue is the disheartening recovery rate, as less than 5% of stolen bikes make their way back to owners. The alarming statistic that 80% of cyclists in the United States had at least one bike stolen further underscores the issue of theft.

Among reported cases, 26% of bike thefts occurred on the streets, while a significant 54% took place at the owner's residence — whether from inside the house or within the property itself, such as the front or back yard, garage, or shed. Other theft locations are: workplaces, schools, and public bike parking facilities.

theft from garage

Not all bicycle insurance policies cover theft equally. Some enforce geographical and time limits, such as not covering your bike after daylight hours or limiting how long your bike can be locked up outside, and which lock must be used. Such limitations are almost never disclosed in the advertising materials so reading the policy language and asking the agent for clarification will help avoid unexpected surprises. It often takes a claim to find out how badly some policies respond to theft.

Theft and physical damage coverage are the backbone of the policy from Velosurance. The policy covers theft from home as well as theft when the bike is locked to a bike rack, or other immovable object, during all hours and without time restrictions. There’s no requirement for a specific lock, but we do recommend you research bike locks and pick the one you can trust. All types of accidental damage are also covered, such as crash damage, loss or damage while in transit with an airline or shipping company, or while being transported by private vehicle, either inside the vehicle or on a bicycle rack attached to the vehicle. The damage and theft coverage remains in effect no matter who is riding or transporting the insured bike with your permission.

Theft of parts and accessories

Accessories, whether functional or aesthetic, make a bicycle your bicycle: they are used to enhance functionality, express a style, and tailor the ride to your specific needs. While some accessories, like a bell, cost only a few dollars, others like bike computers and power meters often surpass $1,000.

While many policies do not cover accessories at all, others only cover them in case of a total loss, e.g. your bicycle must be stolen. A policy from Velosurance covers theft and damage loss to accessories independent of your bike, so if just your wheels or a bike computer is stolen while your bicycle is locked up, they are covered, subject to your chosen policy deductible.

Crash damage

The second most prevalent concern among cyclists is the prospect of a crash. Unfortunately, crashing is an inherent and unavoidable aspect of cycling, particularly for those who are new to the activity or in the intermediate stage. Even riders with extensive experience tend to crash on occasion. Various factors, such as excessive speed, misjudging turns, or unexpected obstacles, can contribute to a crash. While crashes can be both frustrating and painful, they also present opportunities for riders to glean valuable insights into their limitations, refine their technique, and gain a deeper understanding of their equipment. In fortunate instances, a crash may result in minor cosmetic damage or no bike damage at all, but in rare but less fortunate circumstances, a serious accident could lead to the complete loss of the bike.

When reviewing crash damage coverage, pay attention and scrutinize the policy language. There are policies that may provide coverage only if a specific set of conditions is met, such as hitting a road hazard or colliding with another rider or vehicle. If you were to wipe out while cornering at speed, your claim would be denied because the cause of the crash would not meet the aforementioned conditions.

bicycle crash

Crash coverage is an integral part of the core Velosurance policy, and there are no limits on conditions and causes of accidental damage. Furthermore, the policy extends coverage to riding apparel, including kits, helmets, shoes, gloves, and sunglasses, providing reimbursement of up to $500. Additionally, spare parts like spare wheelsets are included in the coverage, with a limit of $500 per loss and a cumulative limit of $1,000 for the entire policy term.

Accidental Damage

Crashing is also not the only way to damage your bike. In fact, you don’t even have to be riding your bike for an accident to happen: it can fall off your car rack or you could drive it into a garage with it still on the roof rack. Backing a car over it is a particularly unfortunate way to total a bike.

Accidental damage coverage is yet another area where it is critical for the consumer to pay attention when considering a specific bicycle insurance policy. There are policies on the market that cover only specific accidental damage, such as that occurred as a result of a crash. If your bike is damaged as a result of a garage mishap, the claim would be denied.

A policy from Velosurance provides coverage for any type of accidental damage, including crashes, garage mishaps, backing a car over the bike, a bike coming loose off the bike rack and careening down the freeway. If your bike is damaged as a result of an accident, which is defined as an event that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, it’s covered.

Medical coverage

With the continuous rise in the cost of medical services, health insurance companies are increasingly shifting more financial burdens onto their clients. The stark reality is that health insurance expenses have surged significantly, particularly for those on individual or self-funded health plans. Deductibles have, in some instances, climbed to as much as $6,500 per person or $13,000 for a family annually, potentially accompanied by additional expenses like co-insurance. Co-insurance represents the percentage of the medical bill that you must cover on top of the deductible, and these rates can range from zero to a substantial 40%. Your plan may have a separate emergency room deductible as well. Given these complexities, it is advisable to thoroughly comprehend the potential costs involved in the unfortunate event of a hospital stay resulting from a bike accident.

Optional medical payments coverage, commonly known as medical gap insurance, is a feature provided by specialty bike insurance. This type of coverage serves to fill the gap between the amount you are required to pay and before your health insurance takes over 100%. Medical Payment coverage is often utilized as a supplementary measure for individuals with high-deductible health plans or limited coverage alternatives. In cases where there is no existing health insurance, this coverage functions as the primary medical coverage, up to the specified amount chosen when purchasing the policy. It's important to note that, given the nature of bicycle insurance, this coverage exclusively addresses medical expenses arising from bicycle-related injuries. Given that cycling tends to involve inherent risks, this insurance is a crucial consideration for comprehensive protection.

Optional medical payments coverage can be purchased separately with a Velosurance policy with limits ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000 and is an invaluable stop gap coverage. Consider your total out-of-pocket cost of a hospital stay when selecting this limit on your bicycle insurance policy.

Vehicle Contact Protection

The most frightening scenario for a cyclist is being involved in a collision with a car. Whether you ride on the road, commute to school or work, or ride alone during the early morning or late at night, the risk of getting hit by a car can not be dismissed. While there’s no way to undo an accident, Vehicle Contact Protection (VCP), also commonly known as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage might be able to lessen the financial burden of a motorist vs cyclist accident. This coverage is designed to cover the costs resulting from an accidental collision with a motorist who has no insurance, not enough insurance, or cannot be identified, such as a “hit and run”.

Velosurance offers optional Vehicle Contact Protection which works just like the Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage in auto insurance. This coverage extends to medical expenses, physical therapy, mental health services, lost wages, and other costs incurred as a result of a collision with an uninsured/underinsured motorist or a hit-and-run accident. It should be considered essential if you frequently share the road with motor vehicles.

cyclist hit by a car

Liability

In situations demanding legal protection, the optional liability coverage serves as a safeguard against personal financial loss arising from a bike accident that causes injuries to others, property damage, or even fatalities resulting from your involvement in a bike-related incident. Liability coverage is a must if you share the space with motor vehicles, navigate busy city streets with pedestrians and other cyclists, or participate in races and other organized events. Given the increasing litigious nature of our society, this coverage could be essential and offer the much needed peace of mind as well as financial protection against potential lawsuits.

Ultimately, the decision to carry liability coverage depends on individual risk tolerance, riding habits, and the specific conditions in which you ride. It's advisable to carefully assess personal circumstances and, if necessary, consult with legal advisors or insurance professionals to determine the most appropriate coverage for your needs.

Liability coverage with limits from $10,000 and up to $300,000 is available as an option on a Velosurance policy. Those with an umbrella policy might find the maximum limit of $300,000 attractive because it matches the underlying coverage requirements for most personal liability umbrella policies.

Racing coverage

Racing isn’t for everyone, but for some it’s a way of life. While exhilarating and rewarding, bike racing comes with significant risks. Racing demands intense focus, and often, when pushing the limits, safety takes a back seat, creating a perfect scenario for a crash – you don’t even have to wipe out, a momentary lapse of awareness by someone else could result in a crash that involves you.

If your racing involvement is limited to just one or two annual events, such as a local charity ride, a Gran Fondo or a triathlon, you do not necessarily need racing coverage, but you should consider it. However, if you are racing a local points series, climbing the ranks in a local criterium or mountain bike scenes, or going the distance in triathlon, racing coverage for your bicycle is a must. This coverage will raise your premium but affords you coverage when the risk is highest.

Bicycle racing requires preparation, time and financial commitment, and travel. Even at the amateur level, this sport is full of ups and downs and comes with its own share of mishaps: your race day may get derailed by an injury, damage to your bike, or worse, its complete disappearance. Some specialty bicycle insurance policies offer event fee reimbursements if you aren’t able to participate in a competitive event for a reason. What those reasons are is the biggest differentiator of this coverage. For example, some only offer event free reimbursement if you suffered an injury in a bicycle crash and have a medical report to prove it, while others offer the same reimbursement if your bike is damaged or stolen.

On the Velosurance bicycle insurance policy racing coverage activates when you select “competitive” usage during the quoting process. Additionally, Velosurance allows you to elect this coverage at the beginning of the racing season and opt out at the end. When this coverage is in force, it extendeds crash and accidental damage clauses of the policy to all racing situations.

bicycle racing coverage

Full value coverage

Like most consumer goods, bicycles are depreciating assets. Unfortunately, unlike appliances, the high-end bicycle depreciation curve does not correlate well with their replacement value: bicycles can be highly personal, niche products that aren’t easy to replace. Those who are serious about their bikes spent significant time and money dialing the fit and meticulously swapping parts to create the perfect machine. If that bike was gone, finding an equal replacement could be very challenging, especially if not all parts are readily available.

Most insurance companies cover bicycles for actual cash value (ACV), with the payout based on an item's original cost, minus depreciation. For bicycles, 10% per year depreciation rate is standard. In a hypothetical scenario, if a $10,000 high-end bike is stolen in year 3, the insurance would pay $7,290 minus the deductible, which would not buy you an equal bike – you’d most likely have to downgrade in all aspects that matter (frame, drivetrain and wheelset) or fork out additional cash to close the gap created by depreciation.

A bike insurance policy from Velosurance covers your bike for its declared and verifiable value, without depreciation. If your bike is stolen on day 1 or after several years of coverage, you will receive a check for its insured value minus your chosen deductible. When it comes to declaring the insured value of the bike, make sure to include all the accessories attached to the bike. For example, a touring bike purchased for $5,000 that has two pannier bags and rack attached ($1,200), a cycling computer GPS ($650), front and rear lights ($300), a GoPro camera ($450), and possibly a touring trailer ($1,800) can be insured for $9,400 and the policy will cover the bike for a total or partial loss of or to the bike and including all bicycling related accessories attached to the bike.

Stand-alone/primary coverage

The biggest differentiator between the available bicycle insurance policies is whether the coverage they provide is primary or secondary. Primary and secondary insurance policies refer to the order in which multiple insurance companies respond to a claim when there is more than one insurance policy covering the same risk. In the case of a stolen bicycle, a bike insurance policy that is secondary will require that you file a claim with your homeowner’s policy first, and will only pay out if your homeowner’s policy declines or limits coverage.

The more pertinent question is if it is justifiable to initiate a claim on a home insurance policy for a stolen bicycle. The underlying concern is that the cost of a stolen bicycle, even a high-value one, pales in comparison to the potential expenses incurred from incidents like a kitchen fire or a basement flood.

In recent times, the home insurance industry has been facing challenges due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, escalating costs related to materials and labor, and a myriad of logistical obstacles. Many insurance companies are withdrawing from certain markets altogether, leading to heightened scrutiny of claims and an increased significance placed on claim frequency by those that remain. Opting to file a claim for a stolen bicycle could result in higher renewal rates, and in some cases, policy non-renewal. Market data indicates that home insurance premiums increase on average by 27% after one theft claim and 55% after a 2nd theft claim. The new reality is that homeowner’s insurance should be treated as catastrophic coverage and used as such.

A policy from Velosurance is primary and covers the bike for its verified declared value without depreciation. Claims against a Velosurance policy do not affect your insurance score and will not be reflected on your homeowner’s insurance premium.

E-bike coverage

The e-bike revolution was already underway when the pandemic hit, giving it a boost. In 2022 retail sales of e-bikes hit $1.3B with the e-bikes outselling electric vehicles (EVs) for the first time. The widespread appeal of electric bikes (e-bikes) lies in their ability to make cycling accessible to individuals with diverse fitness levels and provide a clean, affordable alternative to a car. Whether you ride pavement or dirt, there’s an electrified version of your favorite bike that’s an absolute blast to ride.

Conventional insurance providers tend to avoid extending coverage to e-bikes, and this reluctance stems from several reasons. E-bikes, much like motorized scooters and other personal mobility devices such as OneWheels and electric unicycles, are almost always excluded from both liability and property coverage since home insurance companies classify them as motorized vehicles.

Electric bikes also had a rough start in the US largely due to lack of regulation that resulted in an inflow of low-quality bikes equipped with uncertified batteries that have started numerous building fires, prompting insurance companies to distance themselves from e-bike coverage. While federal regulations are still merely a discussion, many apartment complexes and homeowners' associations (HOAs) are already mandating liability insurance for every e-bike stored on their premises.

ebike coverage

As long as the electric bike meets the Federal requirements for Class 1, 2, or 3, it is covered under the Velosurance bicycle insurance policy. Liability coverage is also available for e-bikes with limits up to $300,000.

Recumbent, cargo bikes and trikes

Recumbent bikes as well as upright and recumbent trikes are popular among riders with certain physical limitations and those who prefer them for long-distance comfort, reduced strain on joints or the unique riding experience. Another segment of riders have learned to rely on cargo bikes to not only get them from point A to point B, but their kids and groceries as well. Surprisingly, many specialty bike insurers do not offer coverage for these bikes.

Velosurance covers recumbent bikes and both recumbent and upright trikes just as if they were regular bikes, because they are. Electrified versions of these bikes are also covered, as long as they meet Class 1, 2, or 3 e-bike requirements.

Coverage in transit

Travel is an integral aspect of the cycling lifestyle. Regardless of the destination, from local to out-of-state, or international, bicycles frequently find themselves being transported. Many cyclists need to take a drive just to reach an empty road or a trail where they can pedal away from urban congestion, so the bike has to take a ride in or on the back of a car or truck.

Flying with a bike has never been easier: most airlines have recognized cyclists as good customers and have lowered their bike fees, making them comparable to those of other sporting equipment, such as golf clubs or skis. Unfortunately, when it comes to claims for lost or damaged bikes, airlines continue to be very difficult to deal with; most airlines now limit damage or loss claims to $500.

The harsh reality is that bikes often get damaged in transit and while most bike insurers claim to provide such coverage, there are often strict conditions and limitations. For example, there are policies that require you to check if the bike is secured to the rack every time you start driving. If you stop at a rest stop and don’t check the bike before you start driving again and it falls off, your claim would be denied. If you see such language in the policy, you should be concerned because it creates an opportunity for the insurance provider to deny your claim.

Whether your bike is being transported on a vehicle, handled by airport staff, shipped via courier, domestically or internationally, Velosurance's bicycle insurance policy covers damage and loss sustained during transit. This coverage extends even if the bike is lost by an airline or a courier company like UPS or FedEx, turning the situation into a total loss. Riders who travel out of the USA and Canada should consider the optional Worldwide coverage which extends the policy's theft and damage protections to any location around the globe.

bicycle damage in transit

Permissive use

Bikes are fun and so is sharing. Being able to lend a bike to a friend or a family member while still retaining coverage can greatly increase its utility and fun factor. Unfortunately, not many policies extend coverage in such situations. Unlike some of our competitors, Velosurance covers the bike even if you let a friend or family member ride it.

What to look out for

The best thing you can do before purchasing a bicycle insurance policy is to read the policy document and research the company online. If the document isn’t readily available on the website, request a copy from the provider. These documents are notoriously dry but generally aren’t difficult to read. The policy document will have a Terms and Conditions section and individual sections for each coverage. Every coverage section will have its own sub-sections for definitions, coverages, limits, and exclusions. There will also likely be general exclusions and limitations sections that will apply to the whole policy, not just individual coverages.

Limits: Check the coverage limits to ensure they are sufficient to replace your bicycle or cover potential liabilities. Different types of coverage within your policy may have separate limits. Familiarize yourself with the various coverage types, such as liability, property damage, and collision.

Deductibles: Know the deductibles associated with your policy. The deductible is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in – the higher the deductible, the lower your premium, but you'll have to cover the larger share yourself in the event of a claim. Consider the deductible before filing a claim, if the cost to repair or replace a damaged part is lesser or equal to the deductible, you should forgo the claim.

Coverage periods: Policies often have terms or limits that apply per incident, per year, or per occurrence. Understanding these time-related limits is essential.

Exclusions and Limitations: Thoroughly review the policy's exclusions and limitations. Certain activities, locations, or types of damage may not be covered, so it's essential to be aware of these restrictions. The fewer exclusions in an insurance policy, the broader the coverage will be and much less likely that a loss has the potential to be excluded. When purchasing insurance, always scrutinize the exclusions section and purchase a policy with the least number of exclusions

Claim Process: Understand the claim process because an inefficient process can leave you without a bike for a long time. Get a clear understanding of the steps that you’d need to take if your bike is damaged and requires a repair or replacement. Understand the documents you’d need to supply with your claim; theft claims often require a police report.

At Velosurance we believe that a straightforward and efficient claim process is essential for a positive experience. We allow the bike owner to have the bike repaired with like-quality and kind components/accessories at the bike shop of their choice. As long as the damage is documented and a repair estimate is included with the claim, repairs do not need to be pre-authorized. Once you have this paperwork in-hand, you can submit it with your claim. This freedom of choice streamlines the claim and reimbursement process and gets you back in the saddle as quickly as possible.

Cost: Compare premiums from different providers. While cost is important, make sure the coverage adequately meets your needs. Paying a bit more for comprehensive coverage with the least number of exclusions is a wise investment. Consider discounts that you may qualify for, memberships in various cycling organizations such as USAC, USAT, IMBA may result in significant savings.

Time on the Market: Insurance is a competitive but a slow-moving business and while it’s possible for a bad company to survive, it is extremely difficult to flourish. The number of years a company has been in business can provide some insights into its stability and long-term viability, it's a factor that should be considered when evaluating an insurance provider.

Customer Reviews and Reputation: Research the insurance provider's reputation and read customer reviews. A reliable and customer-friendly company will always provide good service when you need it.

bicycle insurance

About Velosurance

Velosurance was founded in 2012 by two passionate cyclists and to this day sets the standard for the best bicycle and e-bike insurance available in America. It continues to be owned and staffed by riders just like you, who intimately understand the needs of cyclists and the risks and nuances of the lifestyle. When this passion for riding is coupled with the founders’ 30 years of recreational insurance experience, it results in an unmatched wealth of knowledge and quality of service that makes Velosurance the best choice for bicycle and e-bike insurance.

How we compare

Not all bike insurance policies offer the same coverage. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a claim to find out if something is truly covered and to what extent. We sincerely believe that the policy issued by Velosurance to be the most well-rounded and comprehensive coverage a cyclist can get. Our value proposition is based on over a decade of bicycle insurance experience and thousands of covered claims. We have studied the market offerings and filtered them by the most common risks a cyclist takes on. See what makes us America’s best bicycle insurance.

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