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Bike Insurance Non-Cover!

kevinharleykevinharley Posts: 554
edited October 2011 in The bottom bracket
Three weeks ago, we had 4 bikes stolen from our garage - 2 MTB's and 2 Hybrid's.

Although gutted, we nevertheless submitted our insurance claim, confident that as we had a specific 'Bicycle protection' added to our standard home contents policy, we would be covered, and some brand new shiny bikes would be wheeling their way to us ...

The claim - for replacing with new equivalent bikes to the ones that were stolen, plus the upgrades we had made (spd's all round, and decent rather than censored budget forks for the MTB's), plus the accessories (water bottle cages, pumps, lights, tool bags & tools etc) would have cost £2500 - £3000 at RRP.

The Insurance company, however, has stated that there is a limit in the standard home contents policy, of £2000 max payable on items stolen from garages / outbuildings, so won't pay out more than this.

We are challenging this; the wording in our renewal document states
We can cover your family's bikes against loss, theft or damage BOTH AT HOME AND AWAY, including up to 60 days abroad. It covers all the bikes in your family worth less than £1500 each up to a maximum of £5000 ..."

In our view, the Bicycle Protection supercedes the standard garage / outbuildings maximum of £2000, they key words being "at home and away".

What is anybody else's take on this? Anyone had a similar experience? Advice about how further to challenge this? Advice about other insurance companies to try out in the future, that will properly insure our bikes, wherever they are?


  • chiarkchiark Posts: 335
    Unless one clause deliberately overrides the other - specifically that the standard clause applies even above and beyond the bike cover clause - then you're screwed.

    I think it would be reasonable to assume that your bike would be covered in your garage at up to 2000 even if you did not specify bike cover. The fact that you've bought extra cover would, to me, mean you expect cover up to £5000.

    But you're in the realms of small print here... I would take legal advice on this one, and maybe get the insurance ombudsman involved.

    I think it's reasonable to expect full cover up to 5000, and suspect the ombudsman would too, but it's a question of which clause trumps the other. Given that the bike cover is optional I would expect that to trump it, but...
    Synapse Alloy 105 / Rock Lobster Tig Team Sl
  • Assuming that you've already complained to the insurance company, you should ask them whether they feel they've had enough time to respond in full to your complaint (they can take as long as eight weeks). Say that you want to be clear that it is OK for you to take this to the Financial Ombudsman immediately.

    Last time I did this, the company realised I was serious and an investigation was more hassle than it was worth even though they probably had quite a strong case (long story). They backed down within 12 hours. Less money was involved though.
  • We're not at the stage - yet - of a formal complaint.

    We have made clear our understanding of what the 'Bicyce Cover' means, and that as far as we're concerned, the Insurance Company either mis-sold us the policy and / or is in breach of contract.

    We have stated that we intend to pursue this further, including to the Financial Ombudsmen if necessary.

    We have stated that we are dissatisfied with their service, and asking what they intend to do to address this to our satisfaction. We have asked them to forward details of how to appeal / complain.

    Hopefully, they'll realise that we are serious (and more to the point, that we are 'right'!), and revise their position.
  • Check your policy.
    Our standard home insurance covers bikes up to a maximum of £1500 but you specifically took out extra bike insurance.
    It clearly says that bikes are covered up to a maximum of £5000 which has led you to believe it was a suitable product to insure your bike, if it wasn't a suitable product then you've been mis-sold or at least were paying for a product you didn't need as it offered no extra benefits to your standard home insurance.
    If they didn't specify in the small print or didn't ask you where you kept your bikes I don't think they have much of a case. Also check whether the bikes needed to be secured to an anchor point or not, this might make a difference.

    Wish you luck.
    There's warp speed - then there's Storck Speed
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    Gizmodo wrote:

    +1 As an insurance bod I call BS from the claims trolls. Extra cover should be over and above standard cover unless it's specifically worded in your policy.

    The ombudsman tend to find in insureds favour in this sort of scenario, but companies try to avoid the FOS getting involved cuz it costs them (us) money.

    p.s Loving the sig Gizmodo :wink:
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  • Special KSpecial K Posts: 449
    Do yourself a favour - communicate with them in writing from now on. Good advice about challenging their first offer from other posts. Also - be patient and persistent.
    Good luck and sorry for your loss.
    "There are holes in the sky,
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they're ever so small
    That's why rain is thin. " Spike Milligan
  • would the company be a part of a large bank group by anychance?
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  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    Who is the insurance company? Name and shame.

    Probably at this stage you are being dealt with be some underling scrote who doesn't understand very much of anything.

    Put everything to them in writing, escalate your disatisfaction to complaint level, mention Lord Denning's Red Hand speech/judgement on onerous and misleading contractual terms, the Insurance Ombudsman and then your insurer should back down pretty sharpish and pay your claim. Where terms are considered onerous they can be struck out or misleading interpretted in an insured's favour. You may also have been mis-sold. It strikes me you have a pretty good case. The insurer is on a hiding to nothing.

    Please name and shame.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
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  • Amazingly, the Insuarance company have changed their tune!

    Yesterday we had an email, saying they were going to stick to the limit of £2000 (max payable for items stolen from garage / outbuildings).

    We sent a further 3 emails in reply last night, expressing our dissatisfaction, and repeating our aim to pursue further, via the Fiancial Ombudsmen ... and this afternoon got an email from the claims handler saying "good news, I have made further representations to our underwriters ... " and the limit for this claim is up to £5000 ... will be arranging for their replacement contractors to be in touch regarding replacement items!

    The basis on which we 'won', I think, was a statement in the renewal clause for the Bike Protection policy saying "we can insure your bikes AT HOME AND AWAY" up to a max of £5000 ... but this was slightly contradictory with the original policy wording which talked about the Bike Protection being for bikes away from home only. Presumably, someone didn't check the small print when they wrote the renewal booklet ... and they have made clear that any future claims, for bikes kept in the garage, will be limited to a max of £2000!

    I'm not going to name and shame, partly because we haven't got the bikes yet, and partly, despite the hassle, they have honoured what we believed to have been the contract we have with them ...

    However, I would advise anyone else to not only check the small print properly, or to 'assume' their bikes are covered, but to get the insurance company to spell out exacty where your bikes are covered - garage, car, out and and about etc ... because they WILL try and get away with the minimum payment possible.

    The complete nonsense, for us, is that from now, if we are to stay with the same insurance company (which is far from inevitable!) we will need to keep the bikes in the house, or locked on the car rack (either of which will be covered for up to £5K) ... but not locked in a garage with an alarm, a solid anchor point and 4 robust padlocks on the door!! Crazy!!
  • And ...

    Thankyou to everyone for your replies ...

    and more advice ...

    don't accept an insurance company's first offer, if you feel it is unfair, say so, keep saying so, use the complaints procedure and use the Financial Ombudsmen. You don't have to wait for the insurance company's complaints procedure to run its course before you use the FOS; they can lodge a complaint on your behalf. If its taking too long, and especially if you are using your bikes to commute, and for work (as we were), complain about the time its taking, and that the longer it goes on, you'll seek compensation for having to hire a bike / car as your regular transport.

    And ... don't ever get slack about your bike security ... don't ever assume your bike is being left somewhere safe, always use locks, get the best protection you can ...

    ... don't leave your bikes visible from the street, so that people potentially casing your home know that you have bikes ...

    ... take the bike racks off the car when you're not using them ... its a hassle (which is why we have never done this), but a car parked outside your house with permanent bike racks is a dead giveaway!

    And, for anyone else who is in the unfortunate position of where we have been, needs some more specific detail / advice about what we've done in our case, to help pursue their own, just PM me!
  • plowmarplowmar Posts: 1,032
    just as a side point, where did they expect you to keep your bikes if not in the garage.

    it seems that they are worth a max of £2000 at home but a max of £5000 outside.

    sorry silly me that would be because of the number of expensive locks that the bikes would have to be secured with.
  • Good to hear your situation has been resolved, but you shouldn't have to jump through such hoops to get what you paid for. So...
    dilemna wrote:
    Who is the insurance company? Name and shame....

    Others need to know so they can beware.
    There's no such thing as too old.
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