A cyclist on his bicycle

How to protect your trusty two-wheeler against the risks of the road (or trail)

With South Africa playing host to a few of the most iconic cycling races – including the world’s largest individually timed cycle race, the Cape Town Cycle Tour – the country has no shortage of avid two-wheeled adventurers. This growing passion for competitive cycling has been met in recent years by an increase in the uptake of cycling as a future-forward means of urban mobility. From health and cost-saving to convenience and less carbon-intensive living, the rewards are endless.

On the flip side, however, there are a few risks that need to be managed so you can make the most out of your investment.

This is the opinion of Karen Rimmer, head of Distribution at PSG Insure, who says that with bicycles fetching increasingly high prices due to increased market demand, they need to be seen and cared for as assets rather than just ordinary belongings.

“Today’s professional road bikers pay significant prices for a high-performance bicycle that is engineered for racing. The same goes for mountain bikes. Then there’s the cost of riding safety gear such as helmets, custom saddles, cycling shoes, repair tools and sunglasses. If you consider the high rate of theft and house burglary, having your bicycle stolen or damaged in an accident could set you back considerably in terms of repair and replacement costs.

“Bicycle insurance bridges this risk gap, providing you with a safety net and peace of mind that when you head out onto the open road or track, your investment is safe and sound,” she says.

Advice for leisure riders

Choosing the right type of bicycle insurance will depend on a few factors including the main purpose for which the bike was purchased. Everyday cyclists who use their bikes for personal use and leisure will usually be able to insure their bike under the Home Contents section of their home insurance policy. This would apply in cases where the bicycle is being stored at the owner’s home address when not in use.

Depending on the insurer, certain exclusions and conditions may apply. In the same way that some insurers require homeowners to have a security system installed to prevent unnecessary incidents, bicycle owners may need to ensure they have a safe and secure way of storing their bike when it’s not in use. Failure to comply with these conditions – such as having a bike stolen because it was not locked up and stored securely – could lead to claims being rejected or only partially paid. 

Bicycle owners who require insurance cover for loss or damage when their bike is being stored in other locations other than their home address will be able to insure it under the All Risks section of their policy. This is the best option for bike owners who also occasionally take part in races as amateurs and want to enjoy the same level of cover, whether at home or on the road.

Advice for pro racers

The needs of professional cyclists who participate regularly in competitions are different to those who cycle for leisure. As Rimmer explains, “The risk exposure of professional cyclists is substantially higher and different in a few key ways. Insurers therefore have a different approach to how cover works in these cases. Professional cyclists are advised to take out standalone policies that cover their bike’s unique replacement value and are tailored to their racing schedule and the type of races they compete in.”

Unlike casual cyclists, professionals are also at greater risk of third-party liability, especially in high-intensity race environments where cycling injuries often occur. For this reason, they should consider taking out liability cover that would cover the cost involved if a third party suffers any loss or bodily injury in the event of an accident. Having this added level of cover can provide professionals with maximum peace of mind that all risks are accounted for. 

What about the gear?

The cost of cycling gear can add up, especially given that many gear manufacturers rely on the latest technology to produce the safest, most aerodynamic equipment possible. If cycling gear is stolen while at home, the owner will be covered under the Home Contents section of their policy. Alternatively, cyclists who want to enjoy the same level of cover for their gear when they are at home and at other locations can specify the total value of their gear under the All Risks section of their policy. 

Depending on the insurer, certain types of gear need to be specified as separate belongings – such as a GPS device. It’s therefore vital to consult with an adviser on what can be included under the sum insured and how to obtain cover for individual items. 

As Rimmer concludes: “As with all other insurance policies, bicycle insurance has a specified level of excess, whether cyclists are covered under the Home Contents or All Risk section of their policy or a standalone policy. Before hitting the road or before important races, cyclists are advised to review their policies and work through any terms, exclusions and excesses with their adviser. Equipped with this knowledge, cyclists can have the assurance they need to know they have financial protection against the unexpected.”

Image credit: jcomp/Freepik

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