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Are you covered for your cycle commute?

Written by: Emma Lunn
Bike sales have surged during lockdown – but make sure your wheels are insured before taking to the saddle.

Research from Aviva has found that a fifth (19%) of UK adults plan to use pedal cycles to get from A to B in the coming months, with one in 10 (9%) planning to use electric bikes.

Many bike owners may find their bike is included on their home insurance with cover for loss, damage, and theft of pedal cycles and e-bikes within the sum insured.

With Aviva, for example, both pedal cycles and e-bikes are covered for theft and damage under home contents insurance, when stored in a shed, garage or the home.

However, some cyclists will find they need to list their bikes separately with their home insurer, particularly if they are expensive models which could take them over the ‘single item limit’ for their policy.

Sarah Applegate, general insurance strategy and insight lead at Aviva, says: “It’s important to read through policy documents and note any restrictions. In some instances cover may extend to bikes kept in the garden, but only if the cycle is locked to an immovable object, such as a railing or floor anchor.

“Customers should also check whether their bikes are covered while away from home. Many insurers offer a ‘personal belongings’ or ‘personal possessions’ add-on to home insurance which may cover bicycles while away from home.

“Again customers should be mindful of any policy restrictions. Thefts may be excluded unless the cycle is in the customer’s immediate control, or in a locked building, or secured to an object that cannot be moved, such as a lamppost, bike rack or bike carrier on a vehicle.”

The rules about E-bikes

If you’re thinking of buying an electric bike, you should read up on the rules first.

UK Government rules state that you can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over, as long as the bike meets certain requirements. For example, its engine must have a maximum power output of 250 watts and should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling at more than 15.5mph.

Pedal cycles and electric bikes – also known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs) – don’t require insurance for road use. In the UK, people don’t need a licence to ride one and they don’t need to be registered or taxed.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between an electric bike and a motorcycle or moped – these must be registered, taxed and insured for road use.

Applegate says: “Unlike mopeds and motorbikes, there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet while using a cycle or e-bike – although it’s highly recommended.

“If a pedal cycle or e-bike causes injury to a person or damage to someone else’s property, this is usually covered under the personal liability section of home insurance or specialist pedal cycle insurance. However, again, riders should check if there are restrictions when riding outside of the UK, where different vehicle registration rules may apply.”

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