If ever there was an item that screams “steal me”, it would be your fancy road bike you just spent a pretty penny on. One minute, you’re looking over your shoulder as you run in to a gas station to buy a lottery ticket, and the next, your precious $9,000 machine is gone! You’re instantly overcome by waves of nausea, anger and self-loathing. You search frantically for some telltale sign of a scum of the earth bike thief as your slippery bike cleats clatter across concrete. It’s… a lost cause.
Well, at least you have insurance, or do you?
Canadians are taking to the streets in unprecedented numbers thanks to COVID-19, but unfortunately more bikes than ever are being stolen.
The sad fact is that bike theft coverage is pretty minimal when it comes to standard homeowner’s insurance policies. You’ll have to pay your standard deductible, let’s say $500, but your payout might be capped at $1,000. In most cases, $500 buys a functional bike for, say, commuting to work. Wowing the bros on your Sunday morning MAMIL ride (that’s ‘Middle Aged Men in Lycra) with your fancy machine is another matter entirely. Competitive cyclists of the weekend warrior variety don’t like carrying heavy locks and besides, if you don’t believe that a bike thief can’t jack a fancy bike in less than sixty seconds, well, we’ve got YouTube videos for you.
Like other precious items (art, jewellery, coins, Wayne Gretzky rookie cards), a high-end bike will require a separate endorsement, (more fancy insurance jargon) – or rider (which has nothing to actually do with cycling). Make sure to take out this new policy from the very minute the bike leaves the store; don’t wait until your homeowner’s policy is up for renewal. In most cases, this endorsement can be added to your existing coverage and so your premiums will rise.
Eternal vigilance will ensure that your bike doesn’t get stolen. If you’re out for a Sunday group ride with your club and stop for coffee, make sure that you sit near a window or patio where the bikes can be seen at all times. Even secured storage lockers in apartment buildings or a parking garage can be ransacked as part of an “inside job.” Even transporting your bike can be risky. Even if you’ve locked your bike to a roof rack or hatchback mount, thieves will simply cut off the entire rack and toss it into the back of a waiting pickup truck. (Just be happy they didn’t steal your SUV as well).
One service Canadian cyclists can avail themselves of is Project 529, an ambitious (and free) high-tech way to register your bike. Their special ‘shield’ IDs bikes as part of a North America-wide anti-theft network. Set up as a kind of Neighbourhood Watch for bikes, their smartphone app alerts other Project cyclists in your vicinity if your bike has been stolen, providing a photo description of the stolen steed. Stolen bikes are often merely joyridden and then dumped into a ditch, so it’s worth checking out.
Our Insurely Guide’s are always around to answer your questions because let’s be honest, insurance is about as sexy as sweatpants during a pandemic. So we try to make it light and easy for you to understand. Schedule a call with us so we can answer all your questions.