Cyclists: Insure Your Ride
July 26, 2011 – Bicycling has soared in popularity, both as a sport and as a means of transportation. If you’re a two-wheel traveler, don’t give bike thieves an easy ride. Lock it up and be sure you’re properly insured.
Experts estimate that it takes only 7 seconds to steal a locked bicycle. According to the latest figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 183,028 bicycles were stolen in 2009 (average value $318).
Cities and suburbs are hot spots for theft, but universities and college towns rank high on the list too.
“Oftentimes, consumers don’t think about the insurance that applies to their bicycles,” says Terry McConnell, vice president, Personal Lines Underwriting at Erie Insurance. “However, a good bike can cost a few thousand dollars, so it’s an investment you may want to make sure is properly insured.”
Insurance Coverage for Your Bike
Bicycles are covered under the personal property section of standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. This coverage will provide reimbursement, minus the deductible, if a bike is stolen, or damaged in a fire or other peril for which coverage is provided under the policy.
“Another option is to schedule the bike on an inland marine endorsement for personal articles coverage,” says McConnell. “You’ll have a lower deductible, usually $50 or $100, and get all-risk coverage.”
Keeping Your Bike Secure
Of course, the best protection of all is to keep your bike safe. To help avoid theft, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends following these rules:
- Always lock up your bike, even if it is in your garage, an apartment stairwell or a college dormitory. If you’re outside, lock it up in a visible, well-lit area.
- Lock your bicycle to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter or permanent bike rack. Be careful not to lock it to items that can be cut easily, broken or removed.
- Consider using a U-lock. For proper locking technique, position the bike frame and wheels so that they take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock-up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack the lock. Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down toward the ground. Do not position the lock close to the ground as this makes it easier for a thief to break it.
- Don’t lock up your bicycle in the same location all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and target you.
- Consider registering your bike with the National Bike Registry.
“Registering the bike will increase the likelihood of you getting the bike back,” McConnell says.
Filing a Bike Claim
Before you have to file a claim, I.I.I. suggests that you:
- Save your receipts - When you buy your bicycle you’ll probably purchase expensive equipment to go with it. Be sure to save all your receipts. The cost of a helmet, patch kits, pumps, extra inner tubes and other essentials can add up quickly. If your bike is damaged or stolen, having receipts can help speed the claims process.
- Add your bicycle to your home inventory - Everyone should have an up-to-date home inventory. This can help you purchase the proper amount of insurance and will make the claims filing process easier if there is a loss. ERIE offers a household inventory form to make the tracking of personal possessions easier.
- Take a photo of your bicycle and document any serial numbers - If your bike is stolen, proof of ownership will be important.
To help ensure your bicycle is insured properly, contact an ERIE Agent
. Your Agent can review the coverage and discuss bicycle theft risks and how they can be avoided.