As a relative newbie to the world of insurance, but not cycling I wanted to pass on a few things I’d learned in my first 3 months at Yellow Jersey. My cycling history is reasonably long but chequered, coming from mountain biking originally, then triathlon, club cycling, to Ironman and even includes a few podiums in road racing, Cav I am not. But on the flipside I’ve had 7 bikes stolen over the years and crashed so badly in a sportive that it made Cycling Weekly – I hit a dead cow, but that’s another story. So when looking to combine my passion with work I felt I had a fairly sound footing with insurance, having been through the mill a few times.
Cycling insurance is becoming increasingly important with the never ending rise of the UK cycling Industry, which now generates an estimated £2bn in annual retail sales, thanks in no small part to superstars such as Sirs Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, and Lizzie Armitstead. To service these sales, the number of bicycle retailers has increased 15% over the past decade and some home grown online stores such as Wiggle are now global giants.
But with this explosion of budding lycra clad tour riders comes some inevitable downsides. As we exit the worst recession in living history the UK car market has begun to boom again, setting a new record in growth rising 11.6% and approximately 2 million new cars being registered in 2014. The country’s infrastructure is struggling to keep pace with the complex demands of these very different modes of transport, which inevitably has led to a major increase in incidents, ranging from a clipped wing mirror to some far far sadder situations.
Another effect of this boom, is that as bike manufacturers increasingly differentiate their products through technical superiority and in turn cost, another market is booming, that of stolen bikes. It’s estimated that there were nearly 400,000 UK thefts in 2014 (based on reported and unreported incidents).
So you’ve established you want to ride, and realised that to protect both you and your bike, or bikes you need cycling insurance. but where do you start….
Home insurance is most people’s first port of call, but as covered in our previous blog ‘Cycle Cover on Home Insurance, is it up to scratch?’ there are a number of deficiencies, such as no protection for the rider, exclusions on use, location, value etc etc.
Then it comes down to trawling the internet for a specialist insurer who can provide cycling insurance for your prize possession, or fleet of steeds at the right price, but more importantly with the right level of cover and this is where it can get tricky. On the surface many policies seem similar, with almost interchangeable features and benefits. That’s where a little insurance knowhow can be indispensible, because all cycling insurance is not created equal. It’s worth taking a little time to review the policy wording and look for specific things like ‘3rd party excesses’, ‘optional liability values’ ‘exclusions on bicycle storage’ or ‘cover during transport’ many of these things if judged wrong can be the difference between having insurance and not.
Then you’ve finally cracked it, you’ve found the right cycling insurance (spoiler alert, it’s Yellow Jersey) you then need to make sure you document your bikes. We at Yellow Jersey adopt a no quibble claims policy, treating our customers with trust, but why buy thousands of pounds worth of beautiful carbon and not log it’s serial number, or scan the receipt. Theft or damage to your bike is stressful enough and Yellow Jersey will own the problem for you, but for your own peace of mind it pays to think ahead.
It goes without saying that when buying cycling insurance you need to work out the total value of your bike(s), but don’t forget to include your helmet, clothes and accessories which can be covered by Yellow Jersey. The cost of replacing these can really rack up with a spill down the road.
For bulletproof cycling insurance cover, a good idea is to create a file for each bike you own, recording the serial number, including a receipt; even if you are buying a used bike, ask for a receipt. If you don’t have a receipt for a bike you already own, keep the repair or service receipts, which can serve as proof of ownership. To be belt and braces, it’s good to add photos, including any distinguishing marks and upgrades you may have added. To make this really good, capture the front page of a newspaper to date the photo. All of these measures will make it much easier when talking to the police and speed things through when making a claim.
This is a bit of an obvious one, buy a lock, but not any lock and certainly not the cheapest. 95% of bike thefts in the last year; where a lock was used, were carried out on bikes which had a cable lock, so it goes without saying that a D-Lock is more secure, but just like cycling insurance, d-locks aren’t all the same. Like most reputable cycle insurers we specify Gold Standard, this doesn’t mean they cost a fortune, just that they’ve been properly tested. (see http://www.soldsecure.com/) However, like any lock they’re still vulnerable, it just takes minutes not seconds and that’s crucial, but if in doubt use two.
Yellow Jersey cycling insurance includes DNA Plus forensic coding as standard to provide a state of the art security mark for your lead bike. This will vastly improve your chances of seeing your pride and joy once again should the worst happen but also acts as a deterrent when those light handed thieves spot the natty YJ DNA+ sticker.
So there you have it, I didn’t promise rocket science, but hopefully you have gleaned a couple of points which might help you when weighing up your options and balancing your risk. I love cycling, it’s a close second to my family (honest, it is second) and with Yellow Jersey I can be confident that should anything happen, I have what I believe is the best cycling insurance in the market. In the words of the old Remmington Razor adverts, “I liked it so much I bought the company”, well not really, I just joined it!