Your Money: Cyclists in for a bumpy ride

Whether or not the roads are getting safer, Britain's 6 million regular cyclists still have another serious danger to contend with - theft. It is estimated that one-third of the 2 million cycles sold each year in Britain are direct replacements for stolen ones. The culprits range from one-off opportunists to highly organised gangs making shipments to export markets.

Insurance is not always a cost-effective solution, however. In extreme cases annual premiums can amount to a quarter of a bike's value. The cheapest options are normally extensions to household contents policies. But even premium levels of 5 to 10 per cent of bike value, pounds 10 to pounds 20 a year for a pounds 200 bike, may not represent a bargain, given the exclusions and restrictions.

Virtually all policies, household and specialist, insist bikes are kept safely at home and are locked to an immovable object when left in a public place. Policyholders are also required to pay the first proportion of any claim themselves. This "excess", is commonly in the region of pounds 50, making insurance of limited value when cycles are accidentally damaged, for example. The replacement cost of a wheel that buckles in a drain, for example, is likely to be pounds 40 to pounds 50.

Not all policies will cover you "new for old" - with some it may it may be a pre-agreed replacement value, or even the insurer's view of current market value. Many policies exclude accessories as well as theft or damage if you are using your bike working as a courier, and some exclude commuting.

A standard house contents premium is likely to cover your bike automatically against fire or theft while in or within the boundaries of your home, but not when in use. Third-party liability cover (against damage you do to cars, for example) outside the home may be available at no extra charge. But to get full cover for loss or damage while away from home, you need to look for a policy option - often entitled "all risks". The extra charged for this varies enormously. Independent Insurance, for example, charges pounds l to pounds 5 per pounds 100 of bike value (depending on area), while Commercial Union has a flat rate of pounds 5 per pounds 100 and Direct Line a flat rate of pounds 9 per pounds 100.

The conditions of such options also vary. Some insurers impose limits on bike values (which can be as low as pounds 200).

Those not satisfied with the cover provided by a contents policy may wish to consider specialist policies. But they can be more expensive and restrictive. Allied Underwriting Agencies (AUA), for example, charges between pounds 61.50 and pounds 92.25 for a pounds 500 bike. It will not insure students or bikes in the central areas of Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester or London.

Third-party or public liability insurance can, by comparison, provide valuable peace of mind at little cost. It can be obtained separately from the theft/damage insurance. It insures cyclists, typically for up to pounds 1m, against causing damage to others or their property. The Cyclist Touring Club (CTC) and the British Cycling Federation (BCF) both provide liability insurance free as a membership benefit (membership costs pounds 12.50 and pounds 19, respectively).

Datatag Protected Cycle Insurance is competitive for the very highest value bikes. The flat rate for a pounds 4,000 bike is pounds 258.81. Policyholders must also pay around pounds 20 to have a Datatag placed inside their bike - details are then placed on a database.

The value of insurance against theft at the lower end of the scale, however, is much more questionable. Experts say bikes worth less than pounds 200 may not be worth paying extra to insure. They see investing in a good quality lock as more sensible.

Anne Killick, of the Association of Cycle Traders (ATC), recommends a D lock (a solid bar in the shape of a D) with a combination lock. The Kryptonite New York also offers compensation if the lock is broken and your bike stolen, assuming you can produce the lock.

q AUA 01603 628034; Harrison Beaumont Insurance Schemes 01993 700200; Datatag Protected Cycle Insurance 01482 328120; CTC 01483 417217; BCF 0500 525676.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn