8th July, 2013 in Buyers Guides
Over half a million bikes are now stolen every year in the UK. Only a small percentage of these are electric bikes, probably for several reasons: firstly sales of e-bikes are still relatively low compared with standard bikes, secondly e-bikes are useless without keys and chargers – and most thieves know this – and lastly, e-bikes are not so easy to get rid of at the pub on a Friday night! Having said this, having one stolen can be a complete disaster, especially if you are dependent upon it for commuting or simply for getting around, because you have no other means of transport. It therefore makes sense to think about electric bike insurance.
You may well be able to add your electric bike to your home contents insurance policy, either free of charge or for a small fee. Some policies may only cover you for the bike when based at home, however. So if your nice, local burglar takes it from your garden (enclosed), shed or garage, or indeed from your hall, you might be able to expect some sort of pay out. If the bike goes missing while you are out shopping, or have stopped for a cup of tea somewhere, you almost certainly won’t be covered with some policies, so do check the wording of yours.
It may therefore pay to think about a completely separate electric bike insurance policy, and there is quite a bit of choice.
I checked online to see what’s currently out there for electric bike cover and came up with 3 main possibles: Cycleguard, EFL and ETA. I’m sure there are plenty more but it wasn’t always easy to see if they covered electric bikes as well as standard ones. The three named above seem to be internet based only – say goodbye to your traditional insurance agent down the road – and all gave lots of different options for you to choose from. Firstly, you had to tick the electric bike box, then tick boxes relating to cost (or value) of the bike, whether you wanted to insure just the bike itself or whether you wanted personal injury and even public liability, plus further options for cover in the UK only, Europe or worldwide. Lastly in some cases there was the option of cover for races/events/open days and the like. All in all fairly detailed … but actually all three sites were very clearly worded and easy to use.
I entered my details on to the Cycleguard website as a trial and got a reasonable annual premium (without too many options) of £57. I did however get a call from Cyclguard some 30 minutes later proposing to discuss this…so be aware that this is a sales organisation, of course, and they are after your premium. The young lady was very polite however and understood when I said I was using the site as a test for now.
One interesting addition I thought might be useful is the rescue service offered by some – obviously for an additional charge. They won’t cover things like punctures, but if something serious happens – in other words, your electrics fail completely and you are half way up Ben Nevis – a galiant AA type service man will appear with a van within a prescribed time…or that’s the plan. They will then whisk you and your bike off to a bike shop and then leave you at a bus stop, station or take you home according to how much you’ve paid. I have no experience of anyone having used this to date but would be interested to hear how good it is.
Finally, if you do take out an electric bike insurance policy, bear in mind that your cover probably won’t be valid unless you have a padlock on the insurer’s recommended list. A quick visit to the Sold Secure website brought up a whole host of models grouped into bronze (for bikes up to £250 in value), silver (from £250 to £1500) and gold (£1500 plus). I’m guessing that most e-bike owners will fit into the silver category. Several brands featured on the list and each brand offered locks in each category. Electric bike lock costs will vary, but by my quick reckoning a bronze would be in the region of £30 – £50, a silver £50 – £70 and a gold probably £75 upwards. The old adage of allowing at least 10% of the bike’s price to make it burglar proof seems about right.
And if you don’t take out insurance, still be very careful. One of our bikes can be seen parked outside a shop every morning with no padlock, no chain and the keys left in. It’s only a matter of time……
Hatti Lee, Whoosh Bikes
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