Hired Bikes & Insurance – a warning

What happens if my hired bike is stolen or damaged?

Some bicycle rental shops have insurance that covers customers for loss, damage and other mishaps, but many do not. In that case, you would have to pay, probably a few hundred pounds, possibly more. And your travel insurance, home contents, or specialist bike insurer will almost certainly refuse to reimburse you. (Read the small print or phone them and ask if you find this hard to believe.)

So what is the solution?

Insurance for hired bikes?

There’s currently no such thing – except for one specialist company. Pretty extraordinary considering that cycling tourism is worth billions, and the majority of people who cycle abroad hire bikes rather than take their own.

Yellow Jersey claim to be “the only company that allow you to take out insurance for hire bikes as well as the only company to offer short-term bicycle insurance”.

But there’s a catch even with Yellow Jersey. You have to provide exact details of the bike you’re hiring. That’s fine if you book in advance. But what if you enjoy the flexibility of hiring a bike on the spot, just when you feel like it or just for fine weather days, as vast numbers of people do?

We put that question to support @ yellowjersey.co.uk. They responded very quickly, as follows:

There are two options with hire bikes:

You can take out a short term policy for your holiday and add on the hire bike. We would just request that you ask the hire company for the make and replacement value and you would add this onto the policy. If of course you get to the hire shop and it’s a different make, you can either amend the policy online or just drop us a note to let us know.

If you wanted to insure your everyday bikes, you can add the hire bike onto your annual policy for the duration of the hire. You’d be able to do this by logging into your account and then adding it on. The account would then charge you for adding the bike, pro rata, for the rest of the year and then when you’ve returned to the shop, you can then remove the bike from the schedule and get a refund.

Sounds inconvenient and awkward trying to update your policy while in the hire shop, but at least it’s possible. (And no, we don’t earn any money from recommending Yellow Jersey!)

If you find another company that will definitely cover hired bikes, preferably without this hassle, PLEASE let us know – mail@slowercycling.net