By: Jane Gregory, Freelance Writer
The popularity of cycling has risen exponentially in the past five years because it offers something for everyone.
As noted by Sports Trader Magazine, “The sport caters for the adrenaline junkie, outdoor enthusiast, family outings, for the young and for the old.” Some call it ‘the new golf’; others hail its gentleness on the joints and its efficiency as a cardiovascular workout. Still, others are attracted by its ability to bring families together. The initial reasons one takes up cycling often change dramatically as expertise and specialised interest grow. With bikes by brands sometimes costing R130,000 or more, it is logical that the insurance trade has come to offer products catered to those who may spend tens of thousands of rands on accessories alone.
Basic third party insurance is usually the chosen product for those on a budget, but those who have invested substantial sums in a competition mountain bike, electric bike, or bike with details such as high-level suspension, carbon rims, or adjustable geometry, it is crucial to look into the possibility of personalising insurance based on one’s needs.
Considerations for the Travelling Cyclist
The basic needs a bike should always be covered for include theft, loss or damage of accessories, events, breakdown, and race fees. If you travel frequently to compete in races or you simply enjoy taking cycling holidays, however, your bicycle insurance should also cover travel. This type of insurance will cover legal expenses and all non-hazardous holiday activities that you can personally extend to an array of cycling activities, including participation in competitive events.
You will need to ensure that your bike and equipment are covered up to an amount that adequately represents the cost of your bike and that you can hire a replacement bike if yours is damaged or delayed in transit by more than a specific number of hours. Most people buy a bike then worry about insurance, but insurance should be a consideration from the time one is shopping for a bike. Selecting a bicycle that suits your needs should involve research into your insurance needs. It is no good investing R100,000 in a specialised mountain bike or e-bike, only to find that essential cover is outside your budget.
Specialist Health Needs
Some bicycle insurers treat your vehicle as second in importance to your own health. That is, they focus strongly on specialist offerings that include treatment with a physiotherapist if you should need one following a cycling-related accident, etc.
Dental cover is another consideration that may end up being of great importance, especially if you are abroad. Falls can cause everything from tooth sprains to tooth loss. You, therefore, want to ensure that pain and discomfort do not wrest your ability to enjoy your cycling holiday or perform optimally at an important competition.
In essence, you need to work out your budget and decide which aspect you would like to give the greatest priority to your health, your bike, or (preferably) a combination of both.
Personal Liability and Personal Accident Insurance
If you are taking part in a competitive event, bear in mind that accidents can and do happen, owing to the fact that so many cyclists are sharing one road. Although rider error is often to blame for accidents, poor maintenance or roadways is an unexpected but common source of accidents and falls.
Your insurance company should offer you different options for cover, should you be involved in an accident in which someone else is injured or their bike is damaged.
If you take part in risky cycling events, you should also aim to increase your personal accident insurance cover. The latter will provide compensation in the vent of injuries, disability or death resulting from specific types of events. It is a completely different cover from health insurance.
Flexibility is Key
When doing your research on bicycle insurance companies, make sure that their policies are adaptable to your specific needs. As mentioned above, the policy you opt for will depend on the price of your bike and the risks involved in the sport itself (e.g. if you are competition downhill rider, the chances of accidents would be significantly higher than those faced by a cross-country cyclist who enjoys this sport as a hobby).
Accessories can also pose an unnecessary expense that may be completely irrelevant to a cyclist taking little more than a GPS and water bottle on their travels. Health perks, meanwhile, may mean all the world for someone who is battling pain caused by giving it their all in competition. It is vital that the company you are dealing with allow you to reduce expenses by eliminating irrelevant add-ons.
Health, accessories, or liability may all be different priorities depending on whether you cycle for competition or as a hobby, the type of bike you have (mountain vs road bike etc.) and the extent to which you value specific perks.
Ensure you compare the offerings of various companies, requesting flexibility and fair pricing before making a commitment.
By: Jane Gregory, Freelance Writer