Does Your Travel Insurance Actually Cover Cycling?


24.04.24 at 11:49 am

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…until you discover your travel insurance doesn’t actually cover cycling.

We can look at Santander’s travel policy as a fairly typical example of a high street travel insurance policy. It comes free with some of their bank accounts, and a lot of our customers have one of these policies. But there are big gaps for cycling. 

The Santander policy states: “We don’t cover competitions or races of any kind . This includes practicing for speed or time trials . We also won’t cover you if you’re taking part as a professional”  which means if you were taking part in a triathlon, or even just a training camp, you would be exposed. It’s much the same story with NatWest’s premium ‘Black Travel insurance’, which states “You are not covered if you take part in any activity, where such activities are undertaken for competitive or racing purposes”

If you were to injure yourself while doing any of these activities, the travel insurance would not cover your emergency medical costs, or the costs of getting you home.

We’re not trying to single out any particular travel insurance provider. All of these exclusions are typical of a high street travel insurance policy, and come up again and again. These restrictions are not intended as “small print” to get out of claims, nor are any of these companies trying to trick you into buying something that doesn’t fit your requirements; these policies just haven’t been designed with cycling holidays or racing in mind.

The truth is that cycling as a sport is a niche hobby, and just like if you were going on a ski holiday,  you need a specialist travel insurance if you want to do it abroad.

What is the main purpose of your trip?

Although some of the online travel insurers will provide a hazardous activity extension, you need to be aware that there is one more vital hurdle to navigate… What is the main purpose of your trip? If you’re reading this article, the chances are that you’re going away on a cycling holiday. If we refer back to the Santander sports and activities policy wording section, they state:

Please bear in mind we won’t cover you if the activity is the main reason for going on your trip .” 

I think its safe to say that would clearly rule out a cycling trip to Mallorca or mountain biking in Morzine.

A cyclist ascending Alp D'Huez


Our advice: don’t assume your travel insurance covers cycling. The last thing you want is to end up with is a  €10,000+ medical bill because your policy didn’t cover downhill mountain biking in Morzine, or racing the beautiful Château de Chantilly Triathlon in France.

Before you set off, double check your insurance documents. If it isn’t clear in the policy wording, give your insurer a call and ask these questions:

-Am I covered when cycling is the primary purpose of my trip?

-Does the insurer differentiate types of cycling and is my chosen style covered?

-Do I have to buy an ‘add on’ for cycling in addition to the policy I already have?

-How are sportives classified? Are they a ride or a race?

-If racing, are there maximum distances or durations?

Are you covered?

If you’ve double-checked your policy and you have the cover you need, there’s no reason to swap. We hope you have a brilliant time.

If you don’t have the appropriate cover, you’ll be glad to know our cycle travel insurance covers all forms of riding abroad, be it a family holiday, charity cycle ride, MTB adventure or competitive race.

Our short-term and annual multi-trip cycle travel insurance policies come with all the benefits you’d expect from travel insurance, including cover for trip cancellation, repatriation and medical expenses. Plus, you get cycle-specific perks like race fee cancellation, emergency cycle hire and public liability included as standard.

Most importantly, you are covered for up to £10 million in medical expenses and repatriation if you injure yourself while cycling abroad. Ironman, downhill mountain biking, endurance bike-packing, the lot.

Get an instant online quote  

The Santander policy was accessed and all information was verified as correct on 24/04/2024

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