The topic of bicycle insurance is probably not one a lot of casual or even serious cyclists think about very often. But in the case of theft, fire, damage, or injury on a bike, it’s good to be prepared ahead of time and not be out the total amount of money it would take to cover your medical costs and the repair or replacement of your bicycle in the event of a collision or other type of catastrophe.
Accident, Theft and Renters Insurance Coverage
There are three different scenarios to look at on the subject. The first is insurance that protects you if you’re at fault while riding your bicycle. Let’s say you’re cruising along and hit a bump or obstacle that causes you to run into a pedestrian, a child, or another cyclist. The type of insurance that protects you in this case is your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Both come with general liability protection for you as the occupant of the home. So if your accident results in the other person sustaining a serious injury, generally your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance protects you, your spouse, and your child if anyone in your household is at fault.
The second question to ask about bicycle insurance is what type protects you if you are injured in a crash with a car, truck, van, bus, or motorhome? Unfortunately, on many of Florida’s rural and urban substandard (and therefore potentially dangerous) roads, it’s not an unusual occurrence. This type of situation can turn particularly grim when the driver involved has no liability insurance. And remember, in Florida, drivers are not required to purchase liability insurance on their auto policies. Stupid? Yes, but that’s the reality. The number of uninsured or underinsured drivers in our state may be as high as 40 percent.
So you can protect yourself while you’re on your bike by purchasing automobile insurance on your own car and adding to it uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The relatively cheap additional amount could end up saving you thousands of dollars. The reason to make this small investment is important. You may sustain injuries costing more than the standard $10,000 liability policy most drivers carry. But if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle of at least $100,000, your insurance company would pick up the $90,000 deficit in bills not covered by the driver’s policy.
The third type of insurance to consider is one that protects yourself and/or your bike from damage. And this is going to be somewhat confusing for some because bicycles are generally covered on a homeowner’s or renter’s policy. But note that this type of insurance policy ensures against specific risks such as fire, wind damage, and loss through theft. So it has to be one of those types of reasons if you submit a claim. The fact that you were hit by a drunk, texting, or otherwise distracted vehicle driver isn’t one of those reasons. The homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may protect your bike, though it may have a limit on what it will pay. Some insurance companies will allow you to buy extra coverage for your bicycle.
The problem of relying on homeowner’s or renter’s type of coverage to pay for bike damage is this. You’re going to first apply the deductible amount—say, $250, $500, or $1000— against the value of your bike. Also, insurance companies are going to depreciate your bicycle so that the choice one you bought three years ago may be depreciated by as much as 30 percent. You can see where you can quickly get to the point of not having much insurance protection at all. That’s where a special type of product comes in to provide an extra cushion of security.
Although there may be other reputable bicycle insurance carriers in Florida, the one I’m familiar with and personally use is called Velosurance. This company writes bicycle policies that allow you, as the bicycle owner, to choose the deductible of $150 or $250 or whatever amount you can afford and are comfortable with. If there’s an accident claim and they pay, all you have to come up with is that deductible figure. And they are not going to depreciate your bike. Overall, it’s easier to pay for the premium than it is to ante up the full bicycle replacement cost of anywhere from $500 to $5000 or more. Furthermore, Velosurance is an all-risk coverage type of insurance, meaning it protects against theft, and it protects your bike if it’s hit by a car or it unavoidably crashes. The company does have policy requirements about situations they’ll cover, so you need to ask specifically about them.
What About e-Bike Insurance?
There is a statute in Florida that defines what an e-bike is. Essentially, there are three classifications of e-bikes: class one, class two, and class three. If you own and ride an e-bike in Florida and it falls into one of these classifications, it’s considered a bicycle. So, from a liability standpoint, if you were to hit a pedestrian or another cyclist, you want to be sure that you’re adequately covered. You would first look at your homeowners or your renter’s insurance. Make sure they know you have an e-bike and what the classification is.
And, just like riding a bicycle, you want to be sure that you have enough UM insurance to protect yourself against all the drivers in Florida who don’t have insurance or not enough. Also, a bicycle insurance company (like Velosurance, Spoke, etc.) treats an e-bike just like a bike which will protect against theft and protects your bike if it’s hit by a vehicle.
Bicycle insurance may not be foremost in your mind when you head out on one of your rides. But knowing what your options are in the case of a bicycle collision, theft, fire, or other type of damage definitely weighs to your advantage. Being financially protected by good bike insurance coverage can only add to your well-being and to your cycling enjoyment.