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Insuring your bike

Old 12-29-11, 09:40 AM
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david58
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Insuring your bike

Had a meeting with my insurance agent yesterday, and after the claim issues were all taken care of (not cycle related), I brought up the topic of bicycles. My insurance company is State Farm, in Oregon, so this may or may not be of value to you (you get to decide). Here is what I learned:

> My bike is covered as a possession under my homeowner's policy. So if I go to the coffee shop and it is stolen, it will be replaced after the deductible. Replacement cost, so that helps a bit since my deductible is $1000.

> If my bike is crashed, tough. Homeowner's doesn't extend to crashes. I guess if I threw it in the woods and lied, it could be stolen. But not the recommended approach...

> If I get hit by a car and the bike trashed, the driver would pay. Unless the driver were uninsured. In that case, I am likely SOL.

> If I cause or am at fault in the crash, my insurance will do nothing for me, unlike if I am driving the car.

> There are no riders available for bicycles. Wish there were - my $1k deductible represents the full cost of my commuter, and about half of the replacement cost of my road bike.

I have good medical from my employer to fall back on for doctor bills, but I was disappointed that my fault would mean no claim would be honored. I was pleased to learn that my homeowner's would pay for the stolen bike, but the agent was careful to emphasize that I need to lock the bike, even at work (I have never locked my bike at work, and in the summer don't lock my car since the windows are down - I will "take that suggestion under advisement", but will get a U-lock to tote in case I want to detour on the way home from work.
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Old 12-29-11, 10:40 AM
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FWIW AAA in California is the same as your State Farm in Oregon. If its stolen then the HO insurance covers it less the deductible.
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Old 12-29-11, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
Had a meeting with my insurance agent yesterday, and after the claim issues were all taken care of (not cycle related), I brought up the topic of bicycles. My insurance company is State Farm, in Oregon, so this may or may not be of value to you (you get to decide). Here is what I learned:

> My bike is covered as a possession under my homeowner's policy. So if I go to the coffee shop and it is stolen, it will be replaced after the deductible. Replacement cost, so that helps a bit since my deductible is $1000.

> If my bike is crashed, tough. Homeowner's doesn't extend to crashes. I guess if I threw it in the woods and lied, it could be stolen. But not the recommended approach...

> If I get hit by a car and the bike trashed, the driver would pay. Unless the driver were uninsured. In that case, I am likely SOL.

> If I cause or am at fault in the crash, my insurance will do nothing for me, unlike if I am driving the car.

> There are no riders available for bicycles. Wish there were - my $1k deductible represents the full cost of my commuter, and about half of the replacement cost of my road bike.

I have good medical from my employer to fall back on for doctor bills, but I was disappointed that my fault would mean no claim would be honored. I was pleased to learn that my homeowner's would pay for the stolen bike, but the agent was careful to emphasize that I need to lock the bike, even at work (I have never locked my bike at work, and in the summer don't lock my car since the windows are down - I will "take that suggestion under advisement", but will get a U-lock to tote in case I want to detour on the way home from work.
No riders!?!?

This must be your insurance company policy since I've always carried a rider for my bikes and my computers to cover them 100%. The bikes (3) cost $50 per year and the computers cost (5) $30 per year.

Not bad to sleep good at night.............
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Old 12-29-11, 01:39 PM
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Uninsured driver would likely be covered by your auto "ininsured motorist" coverage.
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Old 12-29-11, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Uninsured driver would likely be covered by your auto "ininsured motorist" coverage.
That is one I have to learn more about. SF looks at motorists, peds, and cyclists differently. As a cyclist, one isn't as well covered by UM as if you are a ped, it seems.
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Old 12-29-11, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
> There are no riders available for bicycles. Wish there were - my $1k deductible represents the full cost of my commuter, and about half of the replacement cost of my road bike.
Find a new insurance company then.

CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) had the best deal for bicycles I could find when I was living in Canada and insuring bicycles. You might check your local AAA.
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Old 12-29-11, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
I have good medical from my employer to fall back on for doctor bills, but I was disappointed that my fault would mean no claim would be honored.
Your health care insurance should cover you even if an accident is your fault. Have they told you otherwise?
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Old 12-29-11, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Find a new insurance company then.
.

Agreed, I have Cincinnati insurance and can schedule anything for a negligible amount for any amount I choose. Also, check the policy price difference for a lower deductable, I got mine down to $250 and actually saved money-it's good to have a good agent!
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Old 12-29-11, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
There are no riders available for bicycles. Wish there were - my $1k deductible represents the full cost of my commuter, and about half of the replacement cost of my road bike.
This is exactly why I left State Farm after being with them for 35 years.

I switched to Amica Mutual. Bikes are covered as ordinary personal property to their full replacement value with no riders, schedules, or crapola, (still subject to deductible). And the premiums are about 60% of State Farm's.

Originally Posted by david58 View Post
If I cause or am at fault in the crash, my insurance will do nothing for me, unlike if I am driving the car.
You'll need a General Liability or "Umbrella" policy.
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Old 12-30-11, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
Had a meeting with my insurance agent yesterday, and after the claim issues were all taken care of (not cycle related), I brought up the topic of bicycles. My insurance company is State Farm, in Oregon, so this may or may not be of value to you (you get to decide). Here is what I learned:

> If I get hit by a car and the bike trashed, the driver would pay. Unless the driver were uninsured. In that case, I am likely SOL.

> If I cause or am at fault in the crash, my insurance will do nothing for me, unlike if I am driving the car.
Disclaimer: unless you see my name on your policy, I am not your insurance agent. And I'm not licensed in Oregon, and have never worked for State Farm. So this is general discussion, not specific advice.

I would double check the damage to your bike if hit by a car -- damage caused by being hit by a vehicle is a very common coverage for homeowners. It's possible your agent simply isn't familiar with how the policy language applies to bicycles. Face it, most personal lines insurance agents spend the vast majority of their time on Auto and Home concerns; customers who have enough money in their bikes to care and enough concern to ask about coverage are rare.

If you are at fault in a crash, honestly, property coverage on your bike is the last thing to worry about -- does your personal liability coverage extend to bicycling? The general answer is yes, but I don't know the specifics of your policy. While relatively rare, a serious crash can be financially devastating.

If you subscribe to any local cycling publications or club newsletters, are there any insurance agents advertising in them? Might be worth talking to an agent who knows bikes.
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Old 12-30-11, 01:53 PM
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I have Safeco in California. I'm paying 1%/year for coverage of our tandem. This is full-value replacement no questions asked, no requirement to show proof of theft, etc. It's worth it for peace of mind. Without the rider I would still be covered under my homeowners policy, but there might be a deductible, etc. I'll also be adding my new single to the rider.
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Old 12-30-11, 02:05 PM
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Since I went car-free, I have no auto insurance. I haven't signed up for renters insurance either. I do have health insurance. I figure I can swallow the cost of a bike if one were stolen.

I hadn't thought much about liability though. That could be bad. I guess I'll look into a renters policy that will cover the bikes.
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Old 12-30-11, 02:32 PM
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I called my agent (State Farm in Nevada) and was told that it's not about "riders" if my bike is stolen anywhere in the US, my homeowners would cover it as "personal property". Also, it would help if you went to where you bought it and had them write a little statement as to it's retail value, including aftermarket....another reason to do business and have a relationship with your LBS! (considerably more difficult to get documentation of value from a mail order company). If it's damaged/totalled in an accident and the accident is not your fault, it would also be covered. All in all it was an "assuring" call for me! BTW, my agent said to his knowledge, this is consistant throughout the country with State Farm. If you're not State Farm, make a call to your carrier, it's nice to "preload" these issues with your agent. You can even submit a photo to ins. prior to any incident, I did that with my heavily aftermarketed motorcycle.
As a renter, I guess that would be a different situation, actually, maybe it's the same, a renter's policy does have a personal property component, that's the main reason for the policy!

Last edited by raydog; 12-30-11 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 12-30-11, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by raydog View Post
I called my agent (State Farm in Nevada) and was told that it's not about "riders" if my bike is stolen anywhere in the US, my homeowners would cover it as "personal property".
That's true of most homeowners and renters policies.

Where available, riders can provide additional coverage for specific personal property. The most common example is probably a jewelry rider -- if you lose or damage your wedding ring or some other scheduled jewelry, it's repaired or replaced regardless of the cause of loss, without depreciation, often with low or no deductible. For example, you could have a $2,500 deductible on your overall policy, but just a $50 or $100 deductible on the scheduled items.

Some homeowners companies offer scheduled coverage for bicycles, others don't.

As a renter, I guess that would be a different situation, actually, maybe it's the same, a renter's policy does have a personal property component, that's the main reason for the policy!
Typically, yes, renters insurance does cover personal property world-wide.

It's worth checking into how your policy values personal property -- some default to depreciated actual cost value, others pay full replacement cost (less deductible).
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Old 12-30-11, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
Disclaimer: unless you see my name on your policy, I am not your insurance agent. And I'm not licensed in Oregon, and have never worked for State Farm. So this is general discussion, not specific advice.

I would double check the damage to your bike if hit by a car -- damage caused by being hit by a vehicle is a very common coverage for homeowners. It's possible your agent simply isn't familiar with how the policy language applies to bicycles. Face it, most personal lines insurance agents spend the vast majority of their time on Auto and Home concerns; customers who have enough money in their bikes to care and enough concern to ask about coverage are rare.

If you are at fault in a crash, honestly, property coverage on your bike is the last thing to worry about -- does your personal liability coverage extend to bicycling? The general answer is yes, but I don't know the specifics of your policy. While relatively rare, a serious crash can be financially devastating.

If you subscribe to any local cycling publications or club newsletters, are there any insurance agents advertising in them? Might be worth talking to an agent who knows bikes.
Disclaimer understood.

I realize now I have a few more questions. I am going to simply give a list of specific questions to my agent, and see what I get.

I wish SF had a rider available for bikes - ironic, that because my bike is not super expensive, the actual % of coverage I have is lower, since my commute bike is just over $1K, and my road bikes are about $2K. With a $1K deductible, it almost isn't worth the claim, certainly for the commute bike.

I don't know for sure if damage is covered by my homeowners, but I know that theft is.

Unfortunately, in today's environment, I don't want to change insurance companies because of some of the issues with getting affordable homeowner's insurance, and the very real possibility of getting dropped due to a claim. I have a 25 year history with SF, with only one homeowner's claim for about $2500 in those 25 years.

I do have a liability umbrella, but I need to make sure it extends to bicycling. I think the most likely issue there is a collision with another bike or with a pedestrian (runner).

I may be my agent's only Customer that has inquired about bikes - not too many of us in town.

He did relate an interesting story to me, which emphasizes just how the companies work.

Customer he had just met with was pulling out of the parking lot, and hit a kid riding on the sidewalk. Kid was doing the salmon, but in Oregon sidewalk riding is OK. Victim was not hurt, but later came back to the office with his dad looking for a witness. The agent said he would be a witness if needed, since he saw it happen. Turns out that SF denied the claim against the driver, flat out. Because the kid was riding against traffic he was judged to be at fault. Now, I can't find any indication in the Oregon Statutes (ORS's) that indicates that is against the law, since if you are riding on the sidewalk you must obey ped rules. I think that once the insurance company denied to pay, the folks just dropped it since it was for a rather small amount of money. But definitely something to keep in the back of your mind...
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Old 12-30-11, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post
Customer he had just met with was pulling out of the parking lot, and hit a kid riding on the sidewalk. Kid was doing the salmon, but in Oregon sidewalk riding is OK. Victim was not hurt, but later came back to the office with his dad looking for a witness. The agent said he would be a witness if needed, since he saw it happen. Turns out that SF denied the claim against the driver, flat out. Because the kid was riding against traffic he was judged to be at fault. Now, I can't find any indication in the Oregon Statutes (ORS's) that indicates that is against the law, since if you are riding on the sidewalk you must obey ped rules. I think that once the insurance company denied to pay, the folks just dropped it since it was for a rather small amount of money. But definitely something to keep in the back of your mind...
The way liability coverage works, that's just the first chance for the kid to get compensation.

Insurance companies faced with a case where their insured is clearly at fault will generally try to save the cost of a lawsuit by negotiating a settlement.

If the case isn't as clear-cut, the company may decline to pay, but they're still obligated to pay for the defense of their insured if the claimant decides to pursue a lawsuit, and to pay the judgement if their insured is at fault. Depending on how strongly they feel about their insured's innocence, they might decide to settle as soon as a suit is filed. Or they might decide to keep defending their insured.
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