Friday, April 23, 2010

Insurance issues

A few days back my bike and a branch from a nearby tree on the Guertel bike path "collided". The branch got stuck in my chain and blocked it. Nothing bad happened, but I had to fiddle it out and missed a green traffic light. Still, it made me think about my safety.

"Twisted Branches" by TexasEagle

Do you have special bike insurances? Are you insured in case of an accident? Is your bike insured against theft? Overall, do you feel safe and secured when riding a bicycle?

I'm going to tell you what kind of insurances I have and what I like and don't like about them.
  • Well, I always had a personal liability insurance. This should cover me in case of a traffic accident (if someone hits me or I hit someone). It's standard in Austria to have that, so nothing special about that. Generally, it is included in the household insurance.
  • Moreover, I am a member of a bicycle lobby. In their membership their are subsidiary liability, defense and accident insurances included. Due to the facts that they arrange such deals for all their members and that the insurances are subsidiary, this is a very cheap way out. Just for such purposes, it's a good idea to join a bicycle lobby, but moreover additional benefits and, e.g., regular magazines are included. Most of these bicycle lobbies work local, hence it's the best idea to ask other regular cyclists (or google) for information. In my case, Argus and VCOE (both Austrian-wide) and IG-Fahrrad (Vienna) offer great deals. Highly recommended!
  • For my old mountain bike it would be stupid to have a theft insurance, but my new Paula get's noticed everywhere. And I would, of course, like to protect her. There are various ways to obtain a bicycle theft insurances in Austria. One of the most secure (but also most expensive) ones is certainly this one as it also covers the theft of parts, e.g., saddle. Well, this one is too expensive for me, so I decided to buy an extra package to my household insurance. It costs me about 3 € per month. Of course, the bicycle is only insured when locked.

"Bike lock" by Lethean

  • I don't have that, but for some road cyclists, mountainbikers etc. it certainly makes sense to have some kind of a sports insurance. But this only really makes sense if you are a (semi-)professional, it's useless for everyday cyclists like me.

Although I feel well-protected, I'm not so happy with all these insurances. I prefer the Swiss velovignette, which I discussed earlier. It's a very cheap and reliable liability insurance, and it's also possible to purchase cheap additional accident and theft insurances . The only drawback, however, is that it's mandatory.

What I don't like about insurances is, for example this: My household insurance automatically covers my cars, motorbikes and other motor vehicles against fire, burglary and theft. My cars and motorbikes? I don't bloody own one! My bicycle, on the other hand, is only insured when it's locked and parked in the house. What's the point? I want to use my bicycle to get from A to B, not to do round trips! Next time, I'll have to be more careful with my insurances. In case anybody knows about household insurances in Austria that don't include cars but bikes, please let me know :-).


Anonymous said...

My bike isn’t insured because the “real” bike insurances (that pay you more than only 200 or 300 Euros if your bike is stolen) are so expensive that I could as well buy a new bike every few years. I use an expensive lock instead and avoid to park my bike in the city for more than a few minutes. And of course I always lock it to something stationary.


Erik Sandblom said...

I don't think the only drawback with Velovignette is that it is mandatory. The other problem is simply the fact that it is liability insurance for cyclists. Liability insurance is for activities that pose a big risk to others, such as yachting, car driving or maybe construction projects. Cycling simply does not pose any big risk to others. If you run into a pedestrian, they might rip their trousers and scratch their knee. If you collide with a car, the car will get a scratch in the paint. These issues are not so big that there needs to be any compulsory liability insurance.

Ok so with that off my chest, my home insurance covers my bicycles at no extra charge. But they only pay me the value of the stolen bike, minus about 100 euros.

Finally, you might like to report your incident to the city and ask them to sweep the bike paths properly.

Servus, Erik

anna said...

@ Erik: Yes, it's really only a liability insurance for that purpose. I don't really know how it is in Switzerland, but in Austria almost everybody has a liability insurance included in the household insurance, so it's not a big problem. Probably that's not the case in Switzerland. I don't think cycling is a big risk to others, but even if rarely -- self-induced and costly accidents can happen. Just image paying for someone's broken leg all by yourself. On the other hand, everybody can still purchase additional insurances. It's really only the minimum needed.

Yeah, I thought about reporting it. In fact, I did that last year in fall, when it was really bad. But this one now was just a outliner, I haven't seen anything else lying around.

Sonja said...

I have just a regular household insurance that covers the bike also. However, there's an 100 e own risk, and I own nothing (apart from my laptop) that is more valuable than that. My bike was 65 e and with the extra parts it's about 120 e. So, if it gets stolen or damaged, I get 20 e :). There's some sort of liability thing too, but I'm not sure if it extends over traffic accidents.

Accidents are covered by the free health care system, so there's no need for a special insurance.

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