With the recent purchase of a new fat bike I realized that no one makes a U-lock that will let me secure both the frame and rear wheel (like I do with my regular bikes). In my search for the best locks to use for this new beauty, I started to think about my insurance.
The first eye-opener was during my U-lock research. I read in several articles that the insurance some lock manufacturers supposedly provide is pretty much a scam. They apparently don't pay out. One even requires you to send them the broken lock in order to file the claim. I have no first hand knowledge of whether or not anyone ever gets money from this, but it certainly made me think twice about depending on it if I lost my bike.
What about real insurance? Do any of my current policies cover my bikes? Do I need a special rider for my growing bike collection? Are they covered if one's stolen from a bike rack? Hit by a car? What if it's inside my car and mangled in an accident? On a bike rack attached to my car? Is this on my car insurance? My homeowners insurance? Am I going to be SOL if something happens?
I called my insurance company for some excellent information and advice, and here's what I learned. My insurance company doesn't offer bicycle insurance separately, nor do they have a rider for bikes. The bikes are simply covered as personal property under my homeowners policy. Even if they're inside my car, it's the homeowners coverage that applies.
Considering the deductible that most people carry on their homeowners policy and the average cost of a bike right now, it probably won't be much (if any) help. In fact making a small claim for a bike against your homeowners insurance is most likely going to result in a rate increase as you lose your "claim free" discount.
I'd also seen some forum threads regarding liability while out riding and someone had mentioned that it fell under their auto policy. According to my insurance company that info was incorrect. If you hurt someone or damage property while riding then it still falls under your homeowners policy and those liability limits.
So what if someone hits you and you don't get their license number? You could be left without any sort of coverage.
That reinforces my resolve to use a camera. I've been a bit complacent about that lately. The Go Pro isn't very useful for me because the battery just doesn't last long enough. Even with a spare battery I can only record maybe half of a ride (if I'm lucky). It's an inconvenience to have to stop and change the battery and half the time I don't hear the beep telling me that it's shutting off anyway. I have a new camera on order though, and that should solve this problem. I plan to use it every ride once I get my hands on it.
In the meantime, there are actually companies out there with bicycle specific insurance. I don't know a lot about them yet, so I can't recommend or review one, but I'm going to be looking into it.