Buying a bike can be great fun, particularly when it involves reading about all the latest kit while you try to work out exactly what you’re after. In contrast, buying a good quality lock and getting bike insurance hardly sets the pulse racing – but it’s essential if you want to protect your pride and joy.

The first place to start is to check if your existing home insurance policy covers bicycles. If it does, you may find you’re covered without having to pay any extra.

With many policies, though, you’ll probably have to pay more to get a bike covered – particularly if your ride is mid-ranged or above. The extra premium is often very small, so this can still be the cheapest way to get a bike insured.

Taking exceptions

But while adding a bike to your contents policy is cost-effective, it may not give you the same cover as a specialist bike policy. Some home insurers won’t touch bikes worth more than a few hundred pounds, while some will only cover high-end bikes as a listed valuable. It’s vital to speak to your insurer and be absolutely clear that your bike is covered, and what the major conditions are.

The most likely pitfall is a contents policy that only covers your bike when it’s at home – no use at all if it’s nicked from the office bike park or while you’re taking a mid-ride coffee break. To counter this you may need to upgrade your contents insurance to cover personal possessions while they’re away from your home, but check that any claim limit is higher than the value of your bike, and look for exclusions that could catch you out – such as refusing to pay out for items stolen from a car.

You also need to check if there are any other criteria you need to fulfil – for example keeping your bike in a locked garage or shed, and using a lock that meets the Sold Secure bronze, silver or gold standards.

Meanwhile, it’s worth considering whether or not your cover has a ‘new for old’ policy, and what the excess is if you do need to claim. Look out also for territory restrictions that mean you wouldn’t be covered outside the UK.

Tailor-made insurance?

With payout limits, exceptions and other conditions to look out for, by the time you’ve upgraded your home insurance to properly cover your bike you may find it’s cheaper to take out a specialist, stand-alone cycle policy.

This is particularly likely if you’ve got a high-end ride, and if you compete in events it may be the only way to go. Specialist bike insurance, such as that offered by Evans Cycles, can be tailored to meet your needs – offering cover for theft only, or being extended to cover loss and accidental damage or even public liability – meaning you’d be covered for any damage you cause to others or their property.

And if you’re going on a biking holiday, you can normally extend a policy to cover you while abroad.

We got in touch with Chris Vinton, the business development manager at Cycleguard – which provides bike insurance for Evans Cycles – to ask about the other advantages of a specialist policy.

“Depending on what statistics you believe, between 25-40% of people don’t have any contents insurance,” he told us.

“Even if you do, you may not want to risk screwing up your content insurance if something happens to your bike.”

“And when it comes time to make a claim – that’s when you are put to the test as an insurer.”

“We have that joined-up approach, so you can be confident you are going to be dealing with Evans – you’re not getting something out of a box.”

Organised approach

Finally, remember that membership of organisations such as British Cycling or CTC can include personal accident or personal liability insurance, meaning you don’t need to get it elsewhere.

It’s also worth noting that some good quality locks come with their own theft insurance if the product is cracked by a thief – providing you register your bike with the company and can show them the shattered lock, which may not be something you can rely on.

But regardless of what cover you choose, it goes without saying that you should always choose your spot – and lock your bike up – carefully.