Renters insurance typically covers personal property—including bike theft—both from your home or apartment and from a public place. That’s good news when you consider that just over 500 bikes are stolen every day in the U.S., according to Markel Insurance.

However, your insurer may have a sub-limit for bikes—say up to $1,000. So if your bike is worth more than that, you might consider adding an insurance endorsement to your renter’s policy.

Not sure if your renters insurance policy covers your bike? Learn if you need extra coverage, coverage limits and how to make a claim if your bike is stolen. 

Key Takeaways

  • Bike theft is covered under most renters insurance policies up to certain personal property coverage limits.
  • Your insurer may have a sub-limit for bikes, so you may need to add an endorsement to your policy if you own a high-priced bicycle.
  • There are times when your bike may not be covered under your renters insurance.
  • Not all insurance companies in all states will cover e-bikes under renter’s insurance.

How renters insurance covers theft of a bike

A stolen bicycle is usually covered for actual cash value, minus your deductible, under your renters insurance personal property coverage. If your bike gets stolen, your renter’s policy may cover the cost to replace your bike, up to your renters insurance policy’s limits. If your bike is worth less than your deductible, your insurer may not cover the cost of your bike if it’s stolen. 

Word of advice: Be sure to register your bike online with the National Bike Registry. If someone steals your bike, the registry will send a certificate and tamper-resistant label to identify your bike. 

Do you need a bicycle theft insurance endorsement?

If you’re a serious cyclist, an endorsement or rider added to your policy makes sense, especially if your bike is high-priced. You may be able to add additional coverage as scheduled property on your current policy. Remember, adding an endorsement to your renter’s insurance policy will add to the cost of your policy but it will likely pale in comparison to the cost of replacing a pricey bike.

Replacing a nice street bike if stolen can set you back as much as $700 or more. A good titanium frame mountain bike can cost as much as $10,000. A good Tour de France racing bike might come with a price tag of $11,500. Most electric bicycles start at around $1,500 but can cost much more. 

Adding an endorsement to increase your personal property coverage on a particularly expensive piece of personal property, like a pricey bike, can be a wise choice. However, you should be prepared to have the bicycle appraised in order for the insurance company to determine the level of coverage needed.

What is specialty bicycle insurance?

If you travel away from home with your bike to race alongside Lance Armstrong, your renters insurance won’t likely cover your bike if it’s stolen. If the primary purpose of the bike is for racing or competitions, you may need to consider specialty insurance for bikes.

Specialty bike insurance often offers replacement cost coverage, ensuring the full replacement value of your bicycle is paid by your insurer if there is an approved claim. Here are some insurance companies that offer this type of insurance:

  • Markel Specialty
  • SPOKE Insurance
  • Velosurance
  • Sunday Insurance

Are there times when renters insurance does not cover bike theft?

There are times when renters or homeowners insurance doesn’t cover your bicycle if it’s stolen. 

  • If you haven’t listed an expensive bike on your renter’s insurance policy and it exceeds your personal property coverage limits 
  • Your renters insurance policy won’t cover your roommate’s bike unless he or she is also listed on your policy
  • Because e-bikes or smart bikes are considered motorized vehicles in many states, not all insurance companies in all states will cover e-bikes under renter’s insurance. This is especially true if the bike is self-propelled.
  • Negligence
  • Intentional loss or the deliberate destruction of your property

How to make a renters insurance claim for a stolen bike

If someone steals your bicycle, you’ll want to follow these steps to ensure you receive compensation for your loss. 

  1. Report the theft of your bicycle to the local police. Be sure to mention if you listed your bike with the National Bike Registry.
  2. Contact your insurance agent with the police report and details of the theft, location, time, etc.
  3. Report the theft to your landlord if your bike was stolen on-premises.
  4. Review your policy, including your deductible, extra coverages, endorsements and limitations.
  5. If it makes sense, file a claim with your insurer. You may be able to file a claim online, with a mobile app, in-person or over the phone.
  6. Fill out all of the necessary forms and return them as soon as possible to your agent. 
  7. If you have a receipt for what you paid for your bike, make sure to provide that to your agent at the time you file a claim. 

Frequently asked questions

Does renters insurance cover theft if the bike was off the home premises? 

Yes. Most renter’s insurance policies cover your bicycle if stolen from a public place or off-premises. 

Are there times when it doesn’t make sense to file a claim for a stolen bike?

If your deductible is $1,000, and your bike is only worth $200, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim on your renters insurance. In fact, some insurers may raise your premium if you file a claim. Make sure the value of the loss warrants filing a claim. 

What are the U.S. cities with the highest bike theft rates?

According to thebestbikelock.com, the five cities reporting the highest incidence of bike theft are:

  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. New York City, NY
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Tucson, AZ

How long does it typically take to be paid after you file a claim for a stolen bike?

After you file a claim with your insurer, It can take a few weeks to several months for your insurer to pay your claim. State laws vary, with some states requiring insurers to pay out in a “reasonable amount of time.”

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