The value of bicycles sold in the UK is rising – we’ve got the stats to prove it – and perhaps inevitably bike theft is becoming a larger issue. There are police taskforces in place, stings and multiple bike marking tools – not to mention an industry worth of locks, chains, sheds and related paraphernalia. But there’s an insurance angle to bicycle crime that is often overlooked, not just by consumers but by bike shops unaware that they can potentially benefit from referrals. BikeBiz spoke to Adrian Scott, head of one of the best known cycle insurance specialists in the business – Cycleguard…
Is it a common assumption that household insurance covers bicycles for theft?
Household insurance may not always cover cyclists, their bike or their equipment, so it’s important cyclists check their terms and conditions to ensure they have the most appropriate cover possible. It’s also worth bearing in mind that home insurance policies could have a higher excess than specialist cycling policies, and homeowners stand to lose their no claims discount if they claim for a stolen bike on their home policy.
Choosing specialist bicycle insurance gives cyclists peace of mind that they are dealing with experts. If you find yourself needing a replacement bike, your cycle could be sourced from the network of UK independent cycle retailers (Cycleguard has always sourced its claims replacement through its partner stores across UK independent cycle retailers) so you will end up with the brand of bike you want from a retailer that can give you the service you need.
Have you got a perspective on the number of bike thefts reported – are they rising? Declining? Static?
From our experience bike theft continues to be a big issue, and in fact earlier this year, Nesta revealed that one bike is stolen every minute. The rise of auction/transaction websites means it is becoming increasingly easy for stolen goods to be sold on which may be contributing to the problem of bike theft. Our advice would be to approach bikes being sold cheaply with caution. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Is there a growing awareness among cyclists that insuring their bikes is worthwhile?
When members of the Cycleguard team speak to retailers, the common consensus is that cyclists still need educating about the benefits of insuring their bicycles. Retailers often tell us that when their customers have to pay for unexpected costs if their bike is stolen or accidentally damaged, they regret not having taken out cycle insurance. Cyclists that do have insurance also need to be aware what their policy does and does not cover so they are not caught out in the event that they need to make a claim.
We are also seeing many customers taking advantage of schemes such as Cycle to Work, where employers loan cycles and cyclists' safety equipment to their staff as a tax-free benefit. These schemes call for cyclists to sign up to a monthly monetary commitment; but if they have their bike stolen, they can be put in the unfortunate position where they are paying for a monthly outgoing but have no bike to show for it – unless they have insurance in place.
Are you working with any companies in the cycling trade at the moment?
Cycleguard works with local and national specialist cycle retailers, cycling associations and ‘Cycle to Work’ providers who recognise and appreciate our specialist expertise. Through our partnerships scheme, we work with independent bicycle dealers and will, where possible, refer customers back to dealers if a bike needs to be repaired or replaced. We also work closely with our partners to raise awareness of the importance of insurance for their customers and/or members by using a variety of communication channels.