Cyclists have been warned that bike insurance premiums might rise because the growing popularity of carbon fibre bikes – cheaper to write off than repair after a potentially damaging crash – is leading to bigger payout costs for insurers. The warning comes from Adrian Scott, head of the Cycleguard insurance company.
“The more carbon bikes we’re insuring – which will go up – inevitably [means] the cost of accidental damage claims will increase with it,” Scott told BikeRadar. “So inevitably it will have an impact. It’s a growing factor that we have to consider and the industry needs to come up with a suitable repair process. Hopefully it might offset itself with the cost of the frames coming down but a repair is still a tenth of the cost of the replacement.”
Halfords told BikeRadar they had seen a 39 percent increase in carbon bike sales by volume year on year. Insuring a bike worth £1,750 – a popular price point for many more serious riders – in central London varies, but we sourced quotes varying from £138 to £185 a year.
Scott said it was difficult to predict if and when premiums might increase, but believes that within three years carbon “will almost certainly be a level with most intermediate cyclists”.
As well as hoped-for reductions in frame costs, Scott said decreases in bike thefts – which currently account for about 70 percent of Cycleguard’s payouts – could play a role in offsetting premium increases. They also want to increase the number of carbon bikes sent for repair, but there are challenges. Repairing carbon – and providing a guarantee for the fix – is tricky for insurers, said Scott, and is usually not a viable alternative to writing off a frame and providing a new one.
He added: “There’s reluctance in the whole industry to accept repairs. Independent cycle shops won’t touch it and they provide similar feedback to the customer, so the customer has a real unwillingness to go against the advice of their trusted expert in this sector.”