Turning onto my street after driving home from the store today I noticed that our garage door had been left open and one of my worst fears surfaced again (yeah, not the first time the door hasn't been closed...). Would I walk in to see one or all of my bikes missing? I think that's a genuine fear of anyone with a well loved bicycle - or three in my case. This reminded me of a topic that I have meant to address here for some time now. How timely that I'd just talked the proud owner of a new Trek Madone through it in the store today and now I was wondering if I'd be calling my own insurance agent. So, I won't delay any longer - an neither should you...
As soon as you are possibly able: get a picture and proof of purchase price to your insurance agent for your bicycle to be added to your homeowner's/renter's policy. (If you don't have renter's insurance; get it now. It's cheap!) If you want to assume that your bicycle's replacement cost will easily be covered by your insurance policy - don't blame me if it's not. If you own any bicycle that originally cost more that $1,000 the chance is that no one at your insurance agency has even fathomed a bike that cost that much; nor will they believe you when you try to claim it's loss for theft or otherwise. With the value of my bicycles, I prefer to assume that they'd laugh me out of the office if it weren't for the supporting documents I gave them for my bikes (especially my Waterford). If you have documented proof of the cost of your beloved machine(s); it will be much easier in the unfortunate circumstance that you have to file a claim on it. Talk to your agent about what they would like to have for proof in your file. They may also assess an additional fee to your premium; but it will be small in comparison to having to pay the "stupid tax" of not insuring your bicycle and having to replace it from your own pocket.
As for damage - crash damage is usually not going to be covered in any way, shape, or form if it occurs while riding...however your auto policy might cover damage if your are involved in an automobile accident that is not your fault. Again, check with your agent. My home and auto policies are with the same agency; so I only needed one set of documents - your experience may be different. None-the-less; do it now. Don't hesitate. At least start the conversation with your agents and start gathering the support documents. The store you purchased your bike from should be able to produce a copy of your purchase receipt or create an acceptable quote if you have lost or misplaced your original.
Insurance is, of course, no excuse for not locking your bike to the bike rack or locking it inside your home or garage. Over half of all bike thefts happen from the home and most policies require that the item be secured by some sort of theft deterrent. So, lock it up or lose it.
For more info, velonews.com recently ran a featured article by legal cycling correspondent (and Portland, OR resident) Bob Mionske that is a great resource. Here's the link:
Thanks for reading.