ance. “I know people who have wrecked their bikes on rides, and obviously bike theft is unfortunate but a very real thing. It seems foolish to think that neither of them would ever happen to me.”
Not only is bike theft a real possibility, but it’s more likely than having your car stolen. The International Crime Victim Survey found that bicycle owners are more than twice as much at risk of having their bikes stolen than car owners their cars. As sales of new bikes increase and commuting by bike becomes more popular, bike theft has seen an uptick as well. According to the FBI Crime Statistics Report, bike theft rose 3% in 2012. Additionally, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an increase in collisions involving bicycles and cars.
“There’s never a day I don’t get a report,” says Velosurance CEO Dave Williams. “There’s always a bicycle accident somewhere.”
Until recently, cyclists seeking to insure their bike had to rely on patchy coverage from policies designed for other purposes. While some protection is provided through homeowner’s, renter’s, auto and health insurance, dedicated bicycle insurance can provide much more comprehensive protection.
“Homeowner’s insurance does a very poor job at insuring bikes,” says Williams, adding that coverage under these policies is typically limited to fire and theft. “Very few bicycles are going to burst into flames.”
Restrictions on where the theft occurs is also problematic. Other types of insurance, such as health or auto, may provide coverage for injury or liability, but not both. The bigger problem, however, is the lack of protection against uninsured and hit and run motorists, which until now has been unavailable to cyclists who are not also car owners.
“This is a patently unfair situation,” says BikeLaw attorney Bob Mionske. “Is there any rational reason that one cyclist has access to uninsured motorist coverage, simply because the cyclist owns a car, while another cyclist does not have access to that insurance? Of course not—the requirement to own a car is entirely arbitrary.”
How It Works
When Matz found his bike missing the first thing he did was call Williams. “He said ‘Actually, you should call the police.’”
Theft is just one instance in which insuring your bike can mitigate financial loss. On any given day the best case scenario is a perfect bike ride: No flats, mechanicals, crashes, or run-ins with cars, perfect weather and no coming out of a store to find nothing but a broken lock. Bike insurance can’t protect against bad weather, but it can ease the sting of mechanical failures, hit and runs, and crashes, which are likely to hurt financially as well as physically.
“Now a cyclist can not only protect their bicycle but can protect themselves from the unfortunate risks when riding,” says Craig Dawson of Spoke. “Cyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as other road users but didn’t share a lot of the same benefits until companies like Spoke came along.”