Insurance is a subject many of us prefer not to think about until we absolutely must. But of course, by then it may be too late!
So what sort of insurance should I consider? What does (and doesn’t) it cover? Have I already got insurance? Do I really need to buy more? Doesn’t the Club cover me already?
It’s worth noting that the sorts of insurance described below might be provided by individual, bespoke insurance policies – but they (or certain elements of them) might also form part of a more general policy such as that provided by your household insurance; your specific bike insurance; your general travel insurance; or your membership of an organisation such as British Cycling.
Don’t assume you have cover for everything or anything listed below though - double check.
Yes, the Club's insured. But it’s very important to understand that this insurance only covers the potential liability of the Club itself (and its ‘officers’).
It does not cover you if you are injured (or worse). Nor is it there to pay for your precious bike if it's damaged on a ride. And it does not cover individual members for their liability if they cause injury or damage to others while on a Club ride – or are accused of doing so*.
This insurance does cover the potential liability of our ride leaders – but only in connection with their role as ride leader. If they were to lead the ride in a way which caused a problem (they navigated down a dangerous route, for example), they would have the protection of the Club’s insurance. If, however, they happened to ride their bike negligently and cause an accident, they would have no more cover from the Club’s insurance than anyone else on the ride (i.e., none!).
* nb: As the Club is affiliated to Cycling Time Trials, it has insurance cover from CTT for the time trials the Club organises. This insurance covers the Club’s officers and all those involved in running the Club’s TTs. But it also covers the third-party liability of competitors taking part in those TTs.
The Club strongly recommends that all members who ride with the Club have third-party liability insurance which covers them for their cycling activities.
This is the sort of insurance you need to protect you in the event that you cause (or are accused of causing) injury to others or damage to their property. If you drive a car or motorbike, you must have this sort of insurance. If you ride a bike, it’s voluntary – but no less important. We are all fallible, and cycling can be hazardous. If you're subject to a claim and are not insured, how would you afford to meet the claim (or pay for the legal costs of disputing it)? The costs of treatment and/or care for someone seriously injured in an accident are completely beyond the ability of most of us to imagine, let alone afford!
If you do have liability insurance (eg as part of your household insurance), don’t assume it will cover liabilities arising from use of a bike. If you have bike liability insurance, don’t assume it will cover liabilities from all uses of your bike (eg racing or time trials, or use abroad). There will be a limit on the maximum amount insurers will pay – and check all the exclusions and conditions. Note: some cyclist liability policies exclude group rides!
If you're involved in an accident and you want to bring a claim against the other party, could you afford to do so? Legal expenses insurance can help to fund the legal costs of bringing a claim (or pay for advice as to whether a claim is feasible). Of course, there are plenty of ‘no win – no fee’ claims management companies who may offer to help you (although they are not always without risk or cost), but having insurance to pay for access to the lawyer of your choice might give you extra reassurance.
Many household insurance policies come with a legal expenses add-on included. If you expect to rely on it, just be sure it doesn’t exclude claims relating to the type of cycling activity you have planned.
As always, look out for policy limits, excesses, exclusions and conditions in the policy wording – and check the legal expenses section limits, excesses, exclusions and conditions, as they may differ from those in the rest of the policy.
Most of us have either come off our bikes or know someone who has. If you have an accident on your bike (or otherwise) and as a result you cannot work, or need care or medical treatment, personal accident insurance will help foot the bill. Of course, you might be able to claim your costs and losses from the idiot who knocked you off your bike – but sometimes that idiot is not insured and has no money or can’t be identified - and sometimes we fall off our bikes through our own fault!
If you do have personal accident insurance, make sure it doesn’t exclude cover for bike accidents (or bike accidents in competitive events if that’s your thing, or for bike accidents abroad if you plan to travel). Be aware that there will be a limit on the amount of cover provided (will it be enough if you can’t work or need care for a year – or longer?), sub-limits for certain types of cost (eg dental or physio) and there will probably be an excess (the first part of the loss that you have to bear yourself).
Bikes are expensive. Can you afford to replace your bike if it's smashed in an accident, stolen (from your home, your car, outside a café), vandalised by someone attempting to steal it or just for fun, or damaged or lost in transit on your way to that training camp in Mallorca?
This is the sort of insurance that will pay in such cases – but it tends to be expensive and/or comes with conditions which can mean insurers won’t pay out if they are not met. Consider whether you want add-on cover to deal with the cost of damage to your bike box; or even roadside recovery or emergency bike hire if your bike is unrideable.
There will be a limit on cover – is that limit enough to replace your carbon-framed, deep-section wheeled, e-geared, hydraulic-braked pride and joy? If you have more than one bike, is there an overall limit to the cover that will limit the pay-out if all your bikes are stolen at once? Are there exclusions and limits on cover for theft away from home, or in a car, or abroad – or for vandalism? Are there conditions requiring the bike is locked and secured to an immoveable object (at home and/or away from home)? Does the lock have to be of a required standard? What is the excess? (there will always be a part you have to pay.) Are there exclusions or sub-limits for damage caused during a competition? Have you been honest with your insurer when you declared the cost of your bike(s)? (They may not pay anything at all if not – not even the amount that you did declare!). Is your policy ‘new for old’ – or will you only be paid at ‘market value’? If it’s a ‘new for old’ policy, have you insured your bike for the price you paid when you bought it 7 years ago – or the cost of replacing it today? Don’t expect insurers to pay out more than you insured it for!
Racing can present more hazards than ‘standard’ road cycling – and for that very reason, competitive events might well be excluded on whatever insurance you have in place (for third party liability, personal accident or loss/damage to your own bike). So, buying specific racing/competition cover might be sensible to fill the gaps. It is worth understanding what the gaps might be on your existing insurance (if you have it) and whether the top-up cover you are considering is suitable for the riding you have planned.
So, what sort of event(s) are you planning to ride – time trials, sportives, charity rides, criteriums, road racing, triathlons, cyclo-cross? Some might be covered by your existing insurance, some will almost certainly not. Some might be excluded even from your planned top-up racing/competition insurance!
Where is your planned event taking place - are there geographic limits to your cover? Does the ‘racing insurance’ you’re buying cover all the risks you want insured (third party liability, personal accident, loss and damage to bike)? There will be conditions, exclusions, limits and excesses too of course.
For example, British Cycling membership includes third party liability insurance, but different classes of membership attract different levels of cover for competitive events. Even the highest levels of cover exclude claims between BC members in competitive events. And cover only applies to events run by organisations approved by BC. So, whoever you get your insurance from, make sure you check the small print!
So, in summary...
Horsham Cycling strongly recommends all members ensure they are covered for at least third-party liability whenever they ride with the Club. It's not just for their own peace of mind; it helps reassure other members too, should the worst happen.
NB – the Club is not authorised to give insurance advice and nothing on this website is intended to do so.