Cycling travel insurance

If you’ll be doing anything more than leisure cycling on your trip, you’re likely to need extra cover or specialist cycling travel insurance. Find out more.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 12 December 2022  | 5 mins read

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Key points

  • Standard travel insurance usually only covers you for leisure cycling. It won’t cover cycling holidays or other types of cycling
  • The single-item limit on standard policies may not cover the cost of your bike if you needed to claim for it
  • Activities like mountain biking may be covered by adding ‘extreme sports’ cover to your travel policy
  • For things like cycle tours and competitions, a specialist cycling policy provides more comprehensive protection and will be better tailored to your trip

Does travel insurance cover cycling holidays?

While standard travel insurance can protect you against unexpected situations, it usually only covers leisure cycling, like hiring a bike for a day. Not anything more adventurous.

And if cycling is the only reason for your trip, you may not be covered for riding your bike at all. So it’s best to check the terms and conditions of your policy, as well as any exclusions.

Standard travel insurance typically has a single-item limit of £500, but this could be as low as £100 to £200, which may not be enough to cover the cost of your bike.

So if you’re going on a cycling holiday, getting the right type and level of cover means you’ll be protected if something happens to you, your bike, or your kit while you’re away.

What do I need for cycling holidays?

To cover non-leisure cycling like mountain biking, you may need to upgrade your standard travel insurance with an extreme sports policy add-on.

But this may not cover mountain biking off-road or riding on mountain bike trails, or activities like touring and competing.

If you require more extensive cover, you’ll need to take out a separate specialist policy.

Cycling insurance has been specifically tailored to cover all the situations and different types of cycling a biking trip might involve.

As well as the usual cover that standard policies include, it provides protection for cycling-related mishaps, injuries and accidents, as well as your kit.

What does specialist cycling insurance cover?

As well as covering what you’d expect to find with standard travel insurance, a comprehensive cycling policy can also include cover for:

Bike theft and accidental damage

If your bike is stolen or accidentally damaged while you’re away, your policy can help reimburse you for repairs or buying a replacement

Multi-bike insurance

With specialist cover you can insure several different bikes on one policy, although E-bikes may bump up your premiums

Emergency cycle hire

If your bike is lost, stolen or damaged and you need a temporary one to get you through, this will cover you for unexpected bike hire costs

Cover for your bike while in transit

You’ll be covered for any costs incurred if your bike doesn’t arrive in time, or if it’s lost or damaged while in transit

Emergency medical expenses

Cycling can be a dangerous sport, so any cycling related injuries will be covered. This often includes any emergency dental treatment you might need

Activity and race entry fees

If you have to miss a race or it’s cancelled because of an unexpected situation, you may be able to claim if you can’t get a refund or credit note

Gadgets and tech

From GPS watches and GoPros to any other tech you have with you, your kit can be covered against theft and accidental damage during your trip

Personal liability

If you accidentally injure or hurt someone, this will provide protection if they make a legal claim against you. But cover may be excluded from some countries, like North America

Getting your bike home

If you can’t complete your trip and your bike is stranded, your policy will cover the cost of bringing it home for you

If you have pre-existing medical conditions

As with all travel insurance policies, you’ll need to declare any medical conditions you have when you take out cover.

You can usually get cycling travel insurance if you have a medical condition, but you might need to go through medical screening. You may find that special terms are added to your policy relating to your condition.

If you have a serious health condition, you’re likely to be charged higher premiums and in some cases you may need to take out a specialist policy.

What else should I look for with specialist cycling travel insurance?

There are lots of different features available when you buy cycling insurance, but not all insurers offer the same cover.

One of the important things to check is the number of days you can be covered. This typically ranges between 30, 60, or 90 days.

And whether you’ve got one trip booked or several cycling holidays lined up, you’ll need to decide whether to take out a single or multi-trip policy.

You should also check for:

  • A high single-item limit - Depending on the policy, you may be able to claim £5,000 or more for your bike - much higher than the limit that comes with standard travel insurance
  • Multi-destination cover - Consider where you’ll be travelling and whether you need European or worldwide cover for your holiday
  • Group cover - If you’re organising a trip with your cycling club, or a group of friends, check whether you can get one policy to cover all of you. You’ll often get a discount this way

What isn’t covered with cycling travel insurance?

Your cycling travel insurance won’t cover every eventuality and there are some circumstances it won’t pay out for if you make a claim.

Common exclusions include:

  • Theft of your bike when you haven’t used an approved lock to secure it
  • Being under the influence of alcohol
  • Loss or damage to your belongings because you’ve continued to use a broken bike
  • Loss or damage caused by general wear and tear to your bike or belongings
  • Any damage that’s been caused by atmospheric or climatic conditions
  • Cycle hire costs that are more than a recognised supplier would charge
  • Any damage that’s happened during a cycling competition, unless you’ve arranged cover for this beforehand
  • Injuries that happened when you didn’t use safety precautions, like wearing a helmet
  • Any claim for something that happened while you were cycling as a job or profession

Always compare policies and check the terms and conditions to understand what is and isn’t covered.

Leisure cycling and your insurance

If you’re going away and fancy hiring a bike for a day, or using your own bike for a few leisurely rides, you probably won’t need to add extra cover to your travel insurance policy.

But if you’ll be mountain biking or bringing a bike that’s worth much more than the single-item limit, make sure you’ve got the right type and level of cover.

Mountain biking, touring and serious cycling

Cycling holiday insurance is designed to cover biking activities you might do abroad that go well beyond leisure cycling, these can include:

  • Road cycling
  • Cycle touring
  • Mountain biking
  • Track cycling
  • BMX racing
  • E-biking
  • Cyclo-cross
  • Recumbent cycling

Because serious cycling comes with greater risk, standard travel insurance won’t provide the necessary level of cover you need for a cycling holiday.

So always let your insurer know the type of cycling you’re planning to do to get the right cover.

If you’re insured in the UK, do you need extra cover to cycle abroad?

This depends on your policy, if you’ve bought UK cycling insurance it might cover taking your bike abroad, but this may come with certain conditions.

It could cover your bike for situations like theft, accidental damage and vandalism while you’re on holiday.

But you’ll also need travel insurance that covers you and your possessions, and situations like trip cancellations, in case something happens to affect your holiday.