Student shames bike insurer into payment

'Absurd technicality' in policy now changed

Specialist student insurer Endsleigh has finally agreed to pay a Cambridge student’s bike theft claim despite their initial refusal on the grounds that engineering student Rehana Khanam hadn’t left it with saddle and front wheel removed.  

Despite numerous letters and phone calls the company had, until very recently, refused to pay the £350 on the grounds of what Ms Khanam describes as an ‘absurd technicality’.

“The bike was a 21st birthday present and as such was priceless to me. I locked it up properly using a substantial lock. But after I filed my claim I was told that, because I hadn't removed the saddle and front wheel, the company wouldn't pay out, even though the whole bike was taken. They told me that this was stipulated in the policy, which was complete news to me. Only when I looked at the small print did this point emerge,” she commented.

The graduate of the Institute of Engineering was adamant that the ‘requirement’ to remove saddle and front wheel should have been made explicit as a basic principle of the policy; "Endsleigh market themselves to students and the idea that everyone would be forced to take their front wheels and saddles into their lectures is completely unworkable."

After threats of media pressure from Ms Khanam her insurers have caved in and even seem to have come round to her point of view. A spokesperson said: “Endsleigh has updated its policies this year so that customers do not now need to remove the front wheel, saddle or any other part of the bicycle in order to be covered from theft.

We recognised that this was often impractical for policyholders and so have updated our cover in order to make things easier for our customers”.

Not only have the company agreed to pay the claim, they have waived the £35 excess.

Advice from those wthin the industry is shop around and not to automatically assume that specialist insurance is the best value – it may be that bicycles are covered on home insurance policies even when being used away from home, for example.


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