The bicycle boom knows no bounds. It was not just since Corona that more and more Germans have been buying a new bike in order to be more environmentally friendly or to be active in sports. Due to the high demand, the prices of bicycles are also rising, making them more and more attractive to thieves. Reason enough to deal with the question of insurance coverage.
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Bicycle, e-bike or pedelec?
If bicycles are mentioned in connection with insurance coverage, this usually also includes e-bikes and pedelecs, as is the case in this blog article. That applies at least as long as they are not subject to compulsory insurance. This is the case with e-bikes if they cannot reach more than 6 km/h without pedaling. Pedelecs remain exempt from insurance if the pedal assistance ends at 25 km/h. The term bicycle does not include S-Pedelecs with pedal assistance up to 45 km / h. The bike expert Ralf Schwemin from RS Sport Kaarst e.K. also points out: “Special legal regulations apply to S-Pedelecs. A scooter driver’s license is required, helmets are compulsory and sidewalks are not allowed to be driven on. In addition, S-Pedelecs may not be used by people under the age of 16. ”
Bicycles in private liability insurance
Before you think about how to insure your own bike against theft, accident or vandalism, you should clarify the insurance against liability risk, as damage can significantly exceed the value of the bike.
Damage caused by bicycles, e-bikes and pedelecs are usually covered by private liability insurance, provided that the bike is not subject to compulsory insurance (see above). However, caution is advised in cycling races. Older private liability tariffs in particular exclude damage on the grounds that this is a commercial activity. In modern liability tariffs, however, this is largely no longer a problem.
If the e-bike or S-Pedelec is subject to compulsory insurance, special insurance cover is required in the form of an insurance license plate (also known as a moped license plate), which is issued every year on 01.03. must be newly acquired.
Bicycles in home content insurance
Before you deal with taking out separate bicycle insurance, it is worth taking a look at the home content insurance that is usually available. First of all, it should be noted that bicycles are part of normal household items. If they are destroyed or stolen as a result of an insured risk, they are also insured without a specific sum limit. These dangers can be:
- Tap water
- Storm / hail
- Damage caused by natural forces
A prerequisite for burglary is breaking into a room (including a bicycle cellar) or a container (e.g. a cupboard). Since this is not always guaranteed with bicycles, the insurers offer a special clause for bicycle theft. With this clause, your bicycles are insured even if they were locked but the thief did not have to break into any room. This is the case, for example, if:
- the bike is in a bicycle cellar that many people have access to.
- the bike was locked in a bike stand in front of the supermarket or
- connected to the carport at home.
However, depending on the quality of the home content insurance, some restrictions must be observed:
- Night time clause: Old and poorly performing tariffs only pay if the bike was still in use after 10 p.m.
- Scope: Most tariffs apply worldwide or Europe-wide, but some tariffs also limit the insurance coverage to Germany. This would mean that there would be no protection on vacation abroad.
- Sum insured: Typically, bicycle theft is included up to 1% of the home content insurance sum and would have to be increased if necessary for an additional fee. In some tariffs, bicycle theft is not automatically included at all and must be actively included in order to obtain insurance cover.
As the name suggests, the bicycle theft clause only covers the theft of bicycles, but not vandalism, because the potential thief, for example, severely damages the bicycle out of frustration at the unsuccessful theft attempt. The clause “Victim of a criminal offense reported to the police”, which has occasionally included particularly high-performance tariffs, can help.
E-bikes and S-Pedelecs that are subject to compulsory insurance are regularly excluded from the special bicycle clauses in home content insurance. These can be insured against theft with partial comprehensive insurance using the insurance plate.
By the way: In home content insurance, coverage for reinstatement value generally applies. This means that even 20-year-old bikes are insured as if they were new.
More and more companies are buying bicycles and using them for business purposes or making them available to their employees as an additional benefit. Damage caused by bicycles used for business purposes is usually covered by the company’s liability insurance. As part of the company content insurance, the bikes are insured against the classic dangers (see above). In addition, there are also bicycle theft clauses here, as with private individuals, through which simple theft is also insured.
What about borrowed bikes?
Many people borrow bicycles, especially when they are on vacation, and want them to be insured accordingly. The situation is quite complicated with rented bikes, as insurance cover can be obtained from three different types of insurance and the need for protection also depends on the clauses in the rental agreement.
If the rental contract for the bike only includes fault-based liability, you would only have to compensate for damage if you were to blame for it. This would be the case, for example, if you have not locked the bike or if you lock it but park it in an absolutely unsuitable place for a long time (e.g. in a dark side street in the station district).
Most leases, however, will provide for no-fault liability. This means that you have to compensate for the damage even if you are unable to do anything.
With locked bicycles, several insurances can be used in case of doubt:
- Bike insurance from the rental company, if any
- Home content insurance (bicycle theft clause), if the sum insured therein is sufficient
- Private liability insurance based on the “loss of property” clause. However, caution is advised here, as bicycles belonging to third parties are usually explicitly excluded.
If the bike was not locked, the first two variants are usually not available, which is why one can hope for a particularly high-performance private liability insurance.
Special bicycle insurance
In the case of expensive bicycles in particular, there is often a desire to insure them against other risks beyond the protection of home content and liability insurance, e.g .:
- Material defect
- Wear and tear
- Electronic damage, e.g. on the battery
The insurance industry has responded to this and developed special bicycle insurance (so-called fully comprehensive bicycle insurance) that covers the above-mentioned risks. The conclusion is possible as part of a separate contract or, with many home content insurers, as an additional module.
Since fully comprehensive bicycle insurance is still a relatively new product, it is in constant development. At the beginning, only the current value could be insured, but most modern tariffs now cover the reinstatement value. In the beginning, wear and tear damage was usually not insurable, but is now standard.
You should be careful with the insurable age. Most fully comprehensive bicycle insurance policies only insure new bicycles and usually only for a certain period of time, e.g. 3 years.
Since special bicycle insurances are always taken out for a specific bicycle, a change of bicycle must be reported later in order to receive further insurance cover. In practice, this is certainly the most problematic point, as the purchase of a new bicycle is not such a formative event that one immediately thinks of reporting to the insurer.
Incidentally, fully comprehensive bicycle insurance is offered for both private and business bicycles.
Independent bicycle theft insurance, which is intended to compensate for any gaps in home content insurance, is mostly not worthwhile. It is usually much more attractive to convert your home content insurance to a high-performance tariff. These are usually cheaper than the combination of a weak home content insurance and a separate bicycle theft insurance.
What about the bike accessories?
If a bike is stolen, insurance coverage is usually easy to find out. This is more problematic with accessories and luggage. The tariffs differ enormously here. The following regulations are conceivable:
- Accessories are also insured if they are stolen with the bike. Luggage not.
- Accessories are also insured without the theft of the bike if they were firmly attached to the bike.
- Accessories are also insured if they were purchased together with the bike.
- Accessories and luggage are generally included in the insurance.
In this context, we strongly recommend that you never leave loose accessories and luggage unattended and, if possible, take them with you when you park your bike.
Securing the bicycles
This is where bike expert Schwemin becomes clear: “A high-quality bike always needs a high-quality lock. You shouldn’t be stingy here: The rule of thumb for the price of a lock is 10% of the bike’s value. Heavy locks tend to be harder to pick. Folding locks, chain locks and U-locks are particularly suitable, whereby care should be taken to ensure that they are long enough so that they can be connected in all situations. ”
The insurance companies usually require a “suitable lock”, which is of course a very flexible term. However, everyone agrees that securing a € 3,000 e-bike with a simple combination lock is certainly not sufficient.
In addition, many tariffs require that the bike not only be locked on itsself or another bike in order to obtain insurance cover. Rather, it is necessary to connect the bicycle to an object that cannot easily be carried away itself.
Conduct in the event of a claim
Basically, every criminal offense should be reported to the police immediately after becoming aware of it. This applies both at home and abroad. Most insurance companies also impose this obligation.
Furthermore, information about the bike must be submitted in the event of damage. Above all, this includes:
- Manufacturer and type
- Year of purchase and price
- Frame number
If these are not available and if the possession of the bike cannot be proven otherwise, the insurer can refuse to pay in case of doubt. In this context, it makes sense to register your own bike. The police offer various options for this, as can also be read here.
Otherwise, we also recommend our free guide in the event of a claim, which you can request here.
What is a bicycle assistance cover?
If your own bike is stolen or damaged in everyday life, this is very annoying. However, if the insurance company pays for the damage incurred by paying for a new bike, this is usually completely sufficient.
The situation is different if the bike is damaged or stolen during a long bike tour. In this case, it is usually necessary to get a replacement quickly (e.g. with a rental bike) or to organize the return journey. A bicycle breakdown can also be very problematic on a tour, e.g. if it happens on a public holiday or far away from the next larger city.
As with cars, some providers also offer a suitable assistance covers for bicycles, which, among other things, covers the costs for:
- Roadside assistance
- Tow away
- Renting a spare wheel
- Additional costs for the return journey
Bicycle asistance covers are offered to members of some bike associations, but these can also be taken out without membership in insurance companies. Some home content insurers also offer this at a reduced price.
Whether it is worth taking out a bicycle assistance policy depends in particular on the use of the bicycle. If it is simply used in the city center, it can be dispensed with, but it can be worthwhile for long tours, e.g. on vacation.
What does bike insurance cost?
Including the risk of bicycle theft in home content insurance often only costs a few euros a year or is even free of charge with some tariffs. With a separate fully comprehensive bike insurance, the price depends very much on the bike’s value. In the case of inexpensive bicycles, approx. 5% of the bicycle value per year must be expected, in the case of higher-priced bicycles this drops to approx. 2.5% per year.
A bicycle assistance cover is available for individuals for around € 20 per year, and for families it costs around € 30 per year.
If the inclusion takes place as an additional component in the home content insurance, the costs are usually somewhat lower.
Advice on bicycle insurance
Insuring bicycles is comparatively complex and should, if possible, not be tackled on your own to avoid tripping hazards. We therefore recommend detailed advice, which should always be in the context of home content and private liability insurance. You are welcome to contact us.
About the experts: Ralf Schwemin is an enthusiastic triathlete and owner of Radsport Schumacher and Radland Kirchhartz.
©Cover picture: eyetronic/ Fotolia
©Bike-Expert: RS Sport Kaarst e.K.
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