Cycling has increased in popularity over the last 10 years and many larger North American cities have designed infrastructure that is increasingly bicycle-friendly. But with more riders on the road, there is an increased level of responsibility and a greater premium on insuring your investment and your safety.
If you spend months shopping for the perfect bike, you’re going to want to protect your investment with the proper insurance. Chances are your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may provide liability protection for a variety of events but you may want to consider adding an endorsement to your existing policy. Upon purchasing a new bicycle, pocket your receipt and contact your HUB broker before deciding your next move. If your purchase involves a more expensive or special-use bike, extended coverage options are worth looking into.
Some things to consider when selecting the right plan:
Actual cash value vs. replacement cost coverage
Of these two personal property coverage options, the first reimburses you for a bicycle based upon its age, while the latter will provide you with the cost of your old bike as well as what it will require to purchase one of like-kind. Replacement cost coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), is typically about 10 percent more expensive, but can be worth it for frequent users in the event the bike is lost, stolen or irrevocably damaged.
Homeowner's or renter's insurance policies can often include no-fault medical coverage in the event you injure someone in a bicycle accident. That sort of bundling usually costs an additional $1,000-$5,000, but it is especially reassuring if you have to make claims in the event of an accident.
Riding Right & Locking Up
Of course, claims of all types will be reduced by sound bicycle ownership practices. These practices include the observance of on-the-road safety laws and regulations, as well as measures to ensure the security of your bike when it's not in use. Lock your bike to a fixed, stable object and place in a secure, well-lit area whenever possible. You can purchase a U-lock for quick and easy security, but remember to keep your keys in a safe and reliable spot. You can also register your property at the National Bike Registry for further peace of mind.
While riding, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests following these seven specific rules:
- Protect your head: Always wear a helmet that fits properly, even during short trips.
- Assure bicycle readiness: Only ride a bike that fits you and that you know to be sound and secure.
- Learn and follow the rules of the road: Cyclists are held to the same standards and must abide by the same laws as motorists. This includes making full stops at stop signs and obeying "No Turn on Red" and "One Way" directions.
- Act like the driver of a motor vehicle: As you would in a car, ride on the proper side of the street with the flow of traffic. Maintain an awareness of other drivers and riders.
- Be visible: Anticipate that other motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and those opening car doors may not be expecting or see you. Adjust accordingly.
- Drive with care: Ride in the bike lane, remain cautious but assertive on roadways and proceed with the same courtesy and awareness you would when driving a car.
- Stay focused, stay alert: Essentially, don't ride under the influence of anything that might compromise your ability to adjust to the road. That includes wearing seemingly innocuous accessories such as headphones or sunglasses, which may throw off your reaction time or depth perception.
For more information, consult with a HUB International broker.