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Our bicycles were stolen when we parked them in the city. Are we covered through our renters insurance policy?

Yes, a standard renters insurance or home insurance policy would cover your bicycles. Call your insurance agent or company to report the theft, and you should get reimbursed, minus your deductible. Before you make the insurance claim, consider how much money you'd actually receive after your deductible.

The level of reimbursement depends on the type of coverage you have. Actual cash value insurance coverage pays you what the bicycle was worth when it was stolen. So if it was five-year-old bike, you'd be reimbursed for the value of a five-year-old bike of that variety.

Replacement cost coverage pays for the cost to buy a new bike that's comparable to the one that was stolen. Check your policy to see which kind of coverage you have. Replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute, but you'll want to have it at times like these.

When you purchase new bicycles, save the receipts to make the claim process go smoothly in case something unfortunate happens again, and add the bikes to your home inventory, a list of all your possessions.

Standard renters and home insurance policies limit coverage on expensive sports equipment, so if you buy an expensive bike worth thousands of dollars, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing an endorsement to provide additional coverage for the bicycle.

Keep your bikes locked when not using them, even in your garage, and register them online with the National Bike Registry. Once you've registered the bikes, the registry will send a certificate and tamper-resistant label to identify your bike. Then if it's stolen and recovered, it can be returned to you.




Last updated: Aug. 30, 2011
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Penny Gusner Consumer Analyst
Penny Gusner has been working in the insurance business for more than 10 years. She researches your questions, from the routine to the bizarre, with equal enthusiasm. Read More

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