Cargo bike insurance: a comprehensive guide
Have you purchased an electric cargo bike to carry your children and are now wondering what would happen if it was stolen? We’re here to help you learn all your need to know about cargo bike insurance, so you can decide if and how to insure your bike.
Whether you’ve already got bikes insured in your household, or this is the first time you’re looking into insurance, it's important to get the right cover when you've invested in one of the best electric longtail cargo bikes or best electric box bikes.
Most people use cargo bikes daily, often in towns and cities, which are more prone to bike thefts. That's why it’s definitely a wise idea to get decent insurance, in addition to using a cargo bike lock.
We'll guide you through the options of adding a cargo bike to your home insurance, as well as taking out specialist bike insurance. You'll find further advice on what to look out for when insuring a cargo bike at the bottom of this article.
Cargo bike insurance through home insurance or specialist bike insurance
There are two main routes to choose from:
- Adding your cargo bike to your home contents insurance
- Taking out specialist bike insurance
Before we dive into the details of both options, you need to think about how and where your cargo bike will be stored when it’s at home.
If you’re storing your cargo bike indoors, either in your house or in a locked garage, most insurance providers will be happy to insure your bike.
If your cargo bike will be locked in a shed, garden or on the street, you will need to discuss the details of your storage solution with the insurance provider.
Covering your cargo bike with your house or home contents insurance
Some home insurance providers will cover bikes by default, or they can be added as a specified item to the policy. This is usually a cheaper option than taking out specialist bike insurance.
The first thing to do is to check with your current provider to see whether it covers bikes. More specifically, you’ll need to ask if it covers e-bikes and what the maximum value is per bike - often it's lower than the average cost of a cargo bike.
Have a good look at the fine print to see if the conditions work for covering your cargo bike. The most important thing to check is if the bike is also covered when not at your home address. You don’t want to find out your bike was not covered from theft when locked outside the supermarket once it’s too late!
We’d also recommend making sure your bike is covered for the replacement value of a new bike, not the value it’s worth at the time it’s stolen because this can be considerably less, especially if you’ve owned the bike for a while, or bought it second hand.
Consider how a potential theft could affect your claims history for home insurance going forward.
Don’t forget to check the excess on your home insurance, as it can be a significant amount.
Specialist bike insurance to insure your cargo bike
The benefit of taking out specialist bicycle insurance to cover your cargo bike against theft is the fact that the insurer specialises in all things bikes and cycling.
You may also benefit from multi-bike insurance to cover all the bicycles in your household.
Most specialist bike insurers cover different levels, with the more premium insurance often covering sports cycling, races and touring as well, which you may not need.
Specialist bike insurance usually offers ‘new for old’ cover, which means you will be able to claim for the cost of a new cargo bike to replace your stolen one, rather than getting a payout that won’t cover the cost of a replacement.
Specialist bike insurance is also well placed to help you with any parts that are stolen, including the battery of an electric cargo bike.
It may also include public liability insurance, which could come in handy if you were to ever cause damage with your cargo bike, such as hitting a car.
Look out for who is covered, if it only covers one named rider or if anyone can be covered while riding the cargo bike. Cargo bikes are often shared by two parents, so make sure the insurance covers anyone who will be riding the bike.
Specialist bike insurance providers include:
What questions do I need to ask when taking out cargo bike insurance?
Regardless of which type of cargo bike insurance you opt for, there are certain things you need to check to see if the cover will be right for you:
- Where does the bike need to be stored when at home?
- How long can it be locked up in a public place?
- Any conditions around the type of cargo bike lock to use?
- What is the excess?
- Is the battery covered?
- Are accessories covered?
- Who is insured to ride the bike?
- Do they pay out ‘new for old’?
- How long will it take to get paid if you need to make a claim?
Will my cargo bike accessories also be insured?
Cargo bikes to carry kids usually come with a decent amount of optional accessories that aren’t necessarily covered when you insure the bike.
Child seats, additional lights, panniers, and a rain cover can cost hundreds of pounds to replace, so make sure you add them to the insurance if you can.
What if I can’t store my cargo bike indoors?
If you have no shed or garage and aren’t able to store your cargo bike in your house, you will have to store it outside. Maybe you’ll lock it up in your garden or on the street if that’s your only option.
Another option that is increasing in popularity is to store your cargo bike in a cycle hangar on the street or pavement, where you rent a space through your local authority.
If you are not storing your cargo bike in your house or in a garage, make sure you check with the provider that your storage solution is covered by their insurance. They may be able to help you by suggesting a suitable ground anchor and lock to secure your bike outside in compliance with the insurance terms.
Will my cargo bike insurance quote depend on my postcode?
This varies per insurance provider. We did some secret shopping and checked six different specialist bike insurance providers.
Four out of the six were more expensive when using a London postcode compared to a postcode in another (much smaller) city.
What locks do I need to keep my cargo bike secure?
Any bike specialist insurance provider will have very clear guidance on how you need to lock up your bike, both at home and when out and about, in order for your cover to be valid.
They usually refer to the Sold Secure bike lock ratings and the most common minimum standard is a gold-rated Sold Secure bike lock to an immovable object.
Read more about the different type of locks available in our Best cargo bike locks article.
Could a bike alarm prevent my cargo bike from being stolen?
A bike alarm attached to your cargo bike which emits a loud sound when your cargo bike is being moved could offer another layer of protection against theft, in addition to a cargo bike lock. The Knog Scout is a nifty bike alarm and Bluetooth tracker in one, with a 85 dB alarm sounding if the button is pressed when the owner's iPhone is not nearby.
Some bike locks have integrated alarms, like the Oxford Alarm-D Pro Alarmed D-Lock. It's a Sold Secure Silver-rated lock, which may not be a good enough rating if you take out bike insurance.
Standalone bike alarms are also available, which you can lock through a hole in the disc of your disc brake, like the Oxford Screamer.
How much does cargo bike insurance cost?
We’ve done our research with a few specialist bike insurance providers and took out quotes for a £5,500 electric cargo bike. We tested both postcodes for Bath and London and the quotes ranged from £195 to £467 on an annual basis (in January 2024).
Some specialist bike insurers don’t differentiate based on postcode, so shop around to see if keying in your big city postcode makes a difference.
£200 to £400 per year may seem a lot of money to insure your cargo bike, but if you’re relying on it to get around, it’s worth weighing up the cost of annual insurance compared to your ability to fork out for a replacement bike in case it gets stolen.
Do I need to install a GPS tracker on my cargo bike?
GPS and Bluetooth trackers are increasing in popularity for all bikes, including cargo bikes. Some people install a GPS tracker on their cargo bike for added peace of mind, in addition to using a cargo bike lock (or two) and insurance.
The idea is that if your cargo bike gets stolen, you will be able to track down its location. This may help if the bike gets dumped somewhere, which sometimes happens with stolen bikes, even with high value cargo bikes.
You can use a standard GPS tracker, like an Apple AirTag or a Tile Sticker, or a specialist bike tracker like a Knog Scout or Cycloop Bike GPS Tracker. You would install them somewhere they are not visible and cannot be easily found.
A word of warning about GPS trackers; most police forces will not act on information you may have about your stolen bike, even if you can evidence data of a GPS tracker.
There's a specialist bike insurance available through BackPedal which requires installing a GPS tracker. BackPedal claims they are able to recover most bikes after a theft and if they won't recover your cargo bike you will get a payout.
What else will be included when I take out insurance against theft?
Some specialist bike insurance offers you additional optional cover, including cover for when you take the bike with you on holiday abroad, and breakdown cover.
It could also include cover for medical expenses and injuries, in case you have an accident when riding your cargo bike.
Some bike insurance also includes public liability insurance and covers legal expenses, in case you cause damage when riding the cargo bike.
If you’re in need of a hire bike while you wait for your claim to be processed, some specialist bike insurance covers this too.
How the team at Cycle Sprog have insured their (cargo) bikes
Here at Cycle Sprog, we’ve used Laka and Yellow Jersey to insure our (cargo) bikes and have been lucky to not have claimed as of yet. Others in the team have added their bikes to their home insurance after checking the fine print and talking to their provider.
Laka deserves a special mention here because it is a collective, meaning the price varies depending on how many claims are made each month, with a monthly cap in place. They are open and transparent about their business model, which is very refreshing!
Top tips to prevent a cargo bike from being stolen
Regardless of whether you’ve taken out insurance, you don’t want your cargo bike being stolen.
Here are our top tips to prevent cargo bike theft:
- Always lock your bike to an immovable object like a bike stand or a metal fence, preferably in a well lit and visible place with lots of footfall
- Lock it with a Sold Secure Gold or Diamond rated lock
- Use a second, different type of lock to make it more time-consuming to steal the bike (some cargo bikes come with wheel locks)
- Lock the frame together with a wheel to a stand or other immovable object
- Take the battery off if you’re going to store it in a high-risk public place or for a longer time - the battery of an e-bike is usually worth around £500
- Register your e-cargo bike with Bike Register
Read more about the different type of locks available in our Best cargo bike locks article.
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