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.
Liability insurance for cyclists
When you ride a bike, you are liable to pay for damages caused by that bicycle.
If, for example, your bike hits and injures a dog or a cat, you will have to pay for the cost of their treatment.
Without insurance, the veterinary costs (which could easily run into thousands of francs) will have to be paid out of your own pocket. Even if the pet’s owner has pet insurance coverage, their insurance would not be obligated to pay in this case.
Hitting a person can be a lot more expensive. Depending on the nature of the accident and resulting complications, costs can be enormous. Since bicycle licenses were phased out on June 1, 2012, getting liability insurance is recommended for anyone who does any amount of cycling.
Bicycle insurance also covers you abroad
Liability coverage generally applies worldwide. That means you are still insured when touring outside of Switzerland. Special care must be taken when choosing a policy for families with adult children sharing the same household. Not all Swiss liability insurance policies cover possible damages incurred by grown children.
Household insurance as theft protection
Household insurance can cover both thefts at home and theft away from home. If your bike is stolen from your home, the theft is covered by the basic insurance provided by your Swiss household insurance policy.
However, the standard household coverage generally does not protect your bicycle when it leaves your home. The optional “simple theft away from home” rider adds theft coverage that protects your bike no matter where it is stolen.
Typically, the “simple theft away from home” rider provides a maximum benefit of 2000 francs with a deductible of 200 francs. Some insurers let you extend coverage to 5000 francs.
As well as covering bicycle theft, this rider also covers other items, such as laptops, which you take with you when you leave home. If you ride an exceptionally costly bicycle, extending the basic coverage or getting an additional insurance policy could pay off. If possible, get a policy which covers your cycle up to its actual replacement value. If not, you will only receive a benefit equal to your bike’s estimated cash value, which can be very low for used bikes.
Important: Damages to your bicycle and the cost of repairing them are not covered by standard liability or household insurance policies. If you need this coverage, you will have to take out a separate sports equipment insurance or bicycle insurance policy.
Report damages immediately
Even the best household insurance policy won’t do you any good if you don’t report a theft in a prompt manner. Theft must be reported both to the police and to your insurance provider immediately after the incident occurs. To insure proper compensation, you should be able to provide as many details about your bike as possible (ideally, show a receipt), including the brand, color, frame number and the exact location in which the theft took place. Your insurance only covers your personal property, so it won’t do you any good when using a borrowed bike.
E-bikes: special insurance coverage
Depending on the category of e-bike you ride, special criteria may apply. Electric bicycles with an assisted drive speed of 25 km/h are classified as conventional bicycles and can be insured as such.
More powerful e-bikes with pedal assistance of up to 45 km/h require a yellow license plate and are categorized as mopeds. Additionally, a separate compulsory liability insurance is required for this category of motorcycles and e-bikes.
The basic bicycle insurance you get with your household insurance policy does not provide any coverage for more powerful e-bikes. If your e-bike is stolen, your household insurance will not cover the cost unless your e-bikes and mopeds are properly insured. Consider “upgrading” your current policy with the necessary riders, or switch to another insurer which provides e-bike coverage.
The moneyland.ch team