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Does renters insurance cover bike theft?
Yes, renters insurance covers bicycle theft, as well as vandalism. Your bike is considered personal property, and renters insurance covers your property from theft both inside and outside your home.
Renters insurance also covers bike accessories — the tools you use to keep yourself safe and keep your bike roadworthy. Things like helmets, multitools for repairs, pumps, patch kits, and locking mechanisms can get pricey, and you’ll need to replace them if they’re damaged or stolen along with your bike.
How bike theft claims work
If someone steals your bike, you have to file a renters insurance claim, which just means telling your insurance company what happened. Your insurer will pay you money to help you buy a replacement, although you’ll have to take care of part of the cost yourself. The portion that you have to pay is called your renters insurance deductible, and in standard policies is fixed at $500.
Depending upon the type of policy you have, your provider either cover the replacement cost value or the actual cash value of your bike — in other words, either the cost of a brand new replacement or a (used) bike in the same condition as the one you lost. Check your policy for details.
How does renters insurance cover bike theft outside the home?
While renters insurance covers theft outside of the home, most policies feature a sub-limit on how much you’re eligible to receive for items stolen elsewhere.
This limit is usually set at 10% of your policy’s total personal property coverage, which in standard policies will be between $15,000 and $30,000.
Let’s say someone steals your bicycle from the bike rack at your local park. If your policy provides $15,000 in personal property coverage, your insurance company will pay up to $1,500 for it.
If you just use your bike for day-to-day activities, that’s probably plenty, but high-quality racing and trail riding bicycles can easily cost several thousand dollars. If your bike is particularly valuable, you might want to look into buying an addition to your policy (referred to as an endorsement or rider) to add more coverage for items stored off-premises.
Does renters insurance cover bike damage?
Renters insurance covers damage to your bike if it was caused by a covered peril — a type of disaster or accident that your policy specifies your insurance provider will pay for.
Renters insurance covers bikes against the following perils, among others:
- Wind damage
- Damage due to ice/snow/hail
- Vehicle impact
- Rioting or civil unrest
For a complete list, see our article on what renters insurance covers.
How claims work if your bike is damaged by a vehicle
Note that vehicle impacts to your bicycle are treated a bit differently than other perils.
If somebody crashes into your bike while it’s parked and drives off before you can get their insurance info, renters insurance will cover the damage, because vehicle damage is a covered peril.
On the other hand, if you’re riding your bike and you get into an accident with someone who’s driving a car, auto insurance will probably get involved, which makes the claims process more complicated. We cover this in more detail below.
Does renters insurance cover bicycle accidents?
Renters insurance covers bicycle accidents some of the time. There are two types of accidents:
- Accidents where you hit a pedestrian
- Accidents where you hit a car, or vice versa
If you hit a pedestrian
In general, if you hit someone with your bike, renters insurance will cover your personal liability. However, it won’t pay to replace your bike, because “hitting pedestrians” isn’t a covered peril.
Let’s say you’re biking down the road one day. Suddenly, someone steps out from behind a parked car, you don’t see them until it’s too late, and you run into them.
Your renters insurance will pay for their hospital stay, as well as your attorney fees if they sue you for damages. You’ll have to repair your bike and provide the get-well soon card on your own.
If you get into a car accident
If you’re riding your bike and either hit or get hit by a car, what happens next depends on who’s at fault.
If the accident was the other driver’s fault, their auto insurance should reimburse you for any damage to your bike and your medical expenses. Conversely, if you were at fault, your auto insurance (assuming you have any) will cover the accident, even though you were riding your bike and not driving your car.
What if the other driver was uninsured?
If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, your renters insurance might cover the damage to your bike, but won’t cover your medical bills. (Renters insurance never covers your own healthcare expenses.)
To ensure that you’re fully covered in situations like this, look into adding uninsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy.
What if I don’t have auto insurance?
If you don’t have a car, there are a couple of alternatives that will cover you if you get into an accident caused by an uninsured driver, including non-owner car insurance (also called non-driver car insurance) and bike insurance.
When does renters insurance not cover my bike?
There are a few instances when renters insurance won’t cover your bike:
When it gets damaged in a race or competition
Most renters insurance policies don’t cover bikes from sports-related damage.
If you’re a bike sports enthusiast, look into getting dedicated bike insurance from a company like Velosurance. (“Vélo” is “bike” in French.)
If your bike is stolen or damaged due to your own negligence
Renters insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by neglect or mishandling. For instance, if you leave your bike out in the rain repeatedly and it begins to rust, your insurance won’t reimburse you for the damage.
Your policy also won’t cover wear and tear caused by typical use. It’s your responsibility to keep your bike in good condition.
Lastly, always remember where you parked your bike. If you lose it, that won’t be covered either.
If your bike was damaged by an excluded peril
Renters insurance also doesn’t cover damage caused by pest or rodent infestations. For instance, say you leave your bike in the attic for the winter, and a family of squirrels takes up residence there too. If they chew on your tires and gnaw at your spokes (squirrels have really strong teeth), you’ll be responsible for repairs or replacing it entirely.
Should I get bicycle insurance, even though it’s covered by renters insurance?
You should consider getting bicycle insurance if:
You have an expensive bike that sees heavy use
Even though your bike is covered by renters insurance, you should consider getting bicycle theft insurance if you have an expensive bike that sees heavy use.
Typical bike insurance covers accidental damage and bike theft more comprehensively than renters insurance, although some plans are limited to a certain geographical area. If you like to travel with your bike, consider getting a rider to add worldwide coverage.
You don’t have auto insurance
If you don’t have auto insurance, you should think about protecting yourself with a bike insurance plan and adding on supplemental medical and liability coverage.
You can also opt to extend your bicycle insurance to include stranded cyclist coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (the same type of rider that’s offered for auto insurance policies).