bicycle insurance switzerland guide tips
Insurance

Bike Insurance Tips: How to Insure Your E-Bike or Bicycle in Switzerland

June 5, 2023 - Daniel Dreier

Learn about how your bicycle is insured in Switzerland, and whether or not getting extra bicycle insurance makes financial sense.

Whether you drive a speed bike, mountain bike, city bike, fixie or electric bike, your ride has the potential to cause damage or to sustain damage. Liability insurance and household insurance can help protect you from possible hazards.

1. Liability insurance for cyclists

When you ride a bike, you are liable to pay for damages caused by that bicycle. If, for example, you damage a car or drive into and injure a person, dog, or cat and are found to be at fault, you will be liable to cover the damages.

Without insurance, these damages (which could easily run into thousands of francs) have to be paid out of your own pocket. If you injure a pet, for example, you will have to cover the full cost of its treatment even if its owner has pet insurance. Hitting a person can be a lot more expensive. Depending on the nature of the accident and resulting complications, the costs can be enormous.

Up until June 1, 2012, bicycle liability insurance was compulsory in Switzerland. That is no longer the case. As a cyclist, you can now insure yourself against liability risks using personal liability insurance. While getting personal liability insurance is not compulsory, getting it is highly recommended.

Personal liability insurance typically also covers liability for loss, theft, or damage to borrowed and rented bicycles.  

Personal liability insurance covers you both in Switzerland and abroad, so you are also insured when cycling outside of Switzerland. If you are a parent, note that Swiss personal liability insurance typically only covers adult children living with you if they are single and/or do not earn an income. If you are a young adult, take the time to review your parents' personal liability insurance to see if you are covered, or if you need your own policy.

2. Theft insurance for bicycles

Basic Swiss household insurance (personal property insurance) typically covers your bicycles against theft while they are in your home.

However, standard household coverage generally does not cover theft away from home. The optional simple theft away from home rider, which can be added to your household insurance for an extra premium, adds coverage for theft outside of your home.

Typically, the “simple theft away from home” rider typically has a benefit of 2000 francs with a deductible of 200 francs. Some insurers offer higher and lower coverage options (1000 to 5000 francs, for example) and some let you choose a 0-franc deductible.
While the simple theft away from home rider is not cheap, adding it can pay off if you have an expensive bicycle because bicycle theft is relatively common in Switzerland. The rider typically applies worldwide, so your bicycle is covered outside of Switzerland as well.

Interesting note: The Visa LibertyCard Plus credit card includes complimentary bicycle theft insurance.

3. Actual cash value vs. replacement value

Some insurers limit coverage for bicycles to the actual cash value. That means they only pay a benefit equal to the market value of your damaged or stolen bicycle, which is always low for second-hand cycles.

4. Accidental damage

Household insurance covers damage or loss caused by external factors like fire, flooding, theft, and vandalism (with some policies). It does not cover damages that you accidentally inflict on your own bike. Some insurers offer an optional rider for household insurance which covers accidental damages. This is called Hausrat Kaskoversicherung in German and assurance casco ménage in French.

You pay an extra premium for this rider, and it typically has a separate deductible. Coverage is typically up to 2000 francs, but you can generally choose higher coverage if necessary (up to 5000 francs, for example).

Interesting note: If you hold a Visa LibertyCard Prepaid, Visa LibertyCard, or Visa LibertyCard Plus credit card, your bicycle is insured against accidental damages as a complimentary cardholder benefit.

5. Proving your loss

Swiss insurance providers are generally accommodating when it comes to processing claims. However, it is helpful to keep receipts for your bicycle and cycling accessories which you can send to your household insurance provider in the event of damage or theft. This facilitates the process. Losses or damages must be reported to your insurance provider as soon as possible after the incident occurs. In the case of theft, you must file a police report promptly, as a police report is generally required when you file a theft claim.

If you do not have receipts, you should be able to provide as many details about your bike as possible. Important details include the brand, make, color, frame number, and the exact location in which the theft took place. Take the time to record these details in case an incident occurs.

6. Insuring your E-bike

Electric bicycles with pedal assistance of up to 25 km/h can be insured for liability risks with standard personal liability insurance.

E-bikes with pedal assistance of up to 45 km/h or 1000 W are categorized as light motorcycles. You are required by law to take out light motorcycle liability insurance and obtain a license plate for this category of e-bike. Both the license plates and liability insurance are provided by cantonal traffic offices. Some e-bike dealers provide assistance with getting insurance for e-bikes as a service.

E-bikes with pedal assistance of up to 45 km/h are typically covered against fire, flooding, hail, theft, and other hazards by household insurance. However, older household insurance policies in particular may only cover e-bikes with pedal assistance of up to 25 km/h, so it is a good idea to review your household insurance and update it if necessary.

7. Specialized bicycle and e-bike insurance

Many Swiss insurance providers offer specialized bicycle insurance and/or e-bike insurance. This insurance typically bundles liability insurance, theft insurance, and in some cases accidental damage insurance.

However, this bicycle or e-bike insurance only covers your bicycle and its use. Personal liability insurance and household insurance, on the other hand, cover a broad range of liability risks and personal property risks respectively. If you already have personal liability and/or household insurance, you may already be adequately covered as a bicycle owner and user.

More on this topic:
Saving tips for cyclists in Switzerland
Guide to avoiding double insurance
Guide to simple theft away from home insurance

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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at moneyland.ch.
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