MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2012
Now that the weather is beginning to turn toward the beautiful Michigan spring and summer that we all love, cyclists are pulling their bikes out of winter storage and getting them tuned up before riding in the ever-warming air. If you own a bicycle that you depend on for commuting, race weekends, or just getting around town, consider these questions about insuring your two-wheeled machine.
If you need more information about insuring your bicycle, or are interested in adding insurance for your bike, get in touch with Insurance Planning Service via phone at 800-220-5582 or by our online contact form. It will only take a minute, then get out and ride your bicycle!
How can I cover my bicycles against theft?
Both homeowners and renters insurance typically cover your personal property worldwide against specified perils, generally including theft. There are limitations and exclusions on this coverage, and these vary significantly among different insurers and policies. One common restriction is that personal property at a secondary residence such as a vacation home has a fairly small amount of coverage -- if you want property at that location to be fully insured, you need to get insurance on that location.
How much will insurance pay for my bicycle if it gets stolen?
This depends on the coverage you have.
The default for many policies is to pay Actual Cash Value (ACV) for personal property. ACV is, loosely speaking, what the item is actually worth given its age. A ten year old bicycle, for example, would be valued at the cost of a new bicycle minus ten years' depreciation.
Replacement Cost coverage for personal property values an item at the actual cost of a new replacement item. That same ten year old bicycle would be valued at the cost of a new bicycle of similar quality
But insurance generally does not pay the full value of the loss. Your policy will typically have a deductible, maybe $100, maybe $1000, depending on what you chose when you bought the policy.
To give a hypothetical example, let's say that ten year old bicycle is worth $100 Actual Cash Value, but would cost $2,000 to replace with a new bicycle of like kind and quality. Let's also say you have a fairly common deductible of $250. ACV insurance would pay nothing on this claim -- the $100 value of the bicycle is less than your deductible. Replacement Cost coverage would pay $2,000 minus the $250 deductible, or $1,750. Again, this is a hypothetical case. Your insurance company will have its own ideas about the Actual Cash Value and replacement cost of any personal property.
If you do have a theft loss, your insurer may want you to document your claim with evidence that:
- You really had the property that you are reporting stolen. It's a good idea to take an occasional photo inventory of all your personal property, just in case you need to make an insurance claim. Receipts are good to have, too.
- The property really was stolen. Do you have a police report, for example?
- The property really is worth what you say it is. You may need estimates from bicycle shops, or prices from catalogs if it's a standard item that's easily replaced.
Finally, before reporting a theft claim, compare the amount you expect to recover to the possible costs of the claim, such as a claims surcharge on your insurance premiums for the next several years, and the possibility that you will not qualify for standard homeowners coverage if you plan to buy a home in the next few years. These policies vary dramatically by company and state, ask your local insurance agent for advice.
How can I insure myself while bicycling?
There isn't a common Bicycle Insurance policy that is equivalent to auto insurance. But various forms of insurance can cover you while bicycling.
Personal Property coverage under renter's or homeowner's insurance may cover your personal property against a number of types of losses you may encounter while cycling, including theft, vandalism, and being struck by vehicles.
If your bicycle is damaged by another person, that person's liability insurance (e.g. auto insurance if they hit you with their car, or Personal Liability coverage if they are on foot or bicycling) may cover what they owe your for the loss.
The Personal Liability coverage of your renter's or homeowner's insurance usually provides you with liability protection against claims caused by almost any unintentional act, including unintentional acts committed by you or your qualified family members, either on or off your premises. This Personal Liability coverage can protect you from claims for injuries or damage you cause in a bicycle accident, assuming of course that the incident was unintentional.
If you are a motorist as well as a bicyclist, you may be surprised to find that the Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection coverage of your auto insurance may provide coverage to you if you are struck by a car while bicycling or walking. This coverage varies greatly around the country, so check with your insurance agent to see what coverage, if any, you have while bicycling. In some states, you may even be covered for lost wages while recovering from a covered accident, if you chose that coverage when you bought your auto insurance.
If you have medical insurance, that will generally pay for any injuries you suffer while cycling within the coverage territory of your policy. The company may then subrogate, or pursue claims against, others who were at fault in the incident.
Courtesy: Josh Putnam
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