What is Public Liability Insurance for Cyclists

Public liability insurance for cyclists offers legal and financial support if you are involved in an accident, which results in injury to another person or damage to their property, that is shown to be your fault. This insurance cover should cover the legal costs damages awarded against you. The level of cover varies by policy but is usually £1m to £10m, the latter being available from British Cycling membership.

This article looks at the best public liability insurance for cyclists. I recently wrote an article which compare public liability and personal accident insurance for cyclists and in that article, I identified several ways to get free insurance, and whilst free is always nice, it isn’t always the best option.

Image of a Bike Ride

Most cycle insurance companies will cover cyclists who cycle for fun, leisure, fitness, commuting to/from work and also non-competitive cycling events like sportives.

In the first instance, here’s a quick summary of the free insurance options.

  Theft / DamagePublic LiabilityPersonal AccidentCost
British CyclingGold MembershipNoupto £10mupto £25,000Free
British CyclingSilver MembershipNoupto £10mNoFree
CTCNoupto £10mNoFree

Free Public Liability Insurance for Cyclists

British Cycling and Cycling UK (as they are now known) are both highly respected cycling organisations and if you already have membership, insurance is included and is therefore free. However, how do they compare to each other?

Benefits of British Cycling Gold Membership include;

  • Public Liability Insurance upto £10m and Legal Assistance
  • Personal Accident Insurance upto £25,000
  • Legal Support
  • Discounts at Halfords and Chain Reaction Cycles of 10%.
  • Free Provisional Race Licence with the option to buy a Full Race Licence.
  • Additional 15% discount off British Cycling Bike Insurance
  • Save 40% on Top Cycling Magazines
  • Discounted Bike Insurance
  • Priority Access to Tickets

The annual cost is £72 but this is reduced to £64.80 for payments via Direct Debit. This puts it at £1.25 per week or probably less than £1 for every time you take yourself and your bike onto the roads.

Benefits of British Cycling Silver Membership include;

  • Public Liability Insurance upto £10m and Legal Assistance
  • Legal Support
  • Discounts at Halfords and Chain Reaction Cycles of 10%.
  • Free Provisional Race Licence with the option to buy a Full Race Licence.
  • Additional 15% discount off British Cycling Bike Insurance
  • Save 40% on Top Cycling Magazines
  • Discounted Bike Insurance
  • Priority Access to Tickets

The only difference between Gold & Silver membership is that Silver does not include Personal Accident Insurance. The annual cost is £42 but this is reduced to £37.80 for payments via Direct Debit. This puts it at less than £1.00 per week.

Benefits of Cycling UK (formerly CTC) Membership include;

  • Public Liability Insurance upto £10m
  • Cycling Magazine delivered 6 times a year
  • Weekly Newsletter
  • Legal Support
  • Rides and Events
  • Bike and Cycling Product Advice
  • Discounts
  • Access to CTC Cycling Holidays and Tours
  • Access to Cycle Theft and Cycling Travel Insurance

The annual CTC membership is £43, which costs about the same as the British Cycling Silver Membership and has comparable benefits.

Cheap Public Liability Insurance for Cyclists

If you don’t already have membership of either organisation, there are plenty of low cost alternatives. In fact, in pure financial comparisons, the following are all cheaper than the BC Gold Membership but does this make them better?

  Theft / DamagePublic LiabilityPersonal AccidentCost
Lexhamupto £200£1mNo£16
Eversureupto £200£1mupto £10,000£19
Cycleguard Roadcaretier 1No£1mupto £10,000£22
Evans Cyclestier 1No£1mupto £10,000£22
ETAupto £150£5mNo£22
E+Lupto £200£1mupto £10,000£24
Cycleguard Roadcaretier 2No£2mupto £10,000£28
Evans Cyclestier 2No£2mupto £10,000£28
Cycle Planupto £300£1mNo£32
British Cycling MembershipSilverNo£10mNo£42
CTCThird PartyNo£10mNo£43
Cycle Planupto £300£1m£10,000£43
Cycleguard Roadcaretier 3No£5mupto £10,000£45
Evans Cyclestier 3No£5mupto £10,000£45
WiggleAssistNo£1mupto £10,000£48

Which is the Best Public Liability Insurance to Buy?

So which insurance should you buy? That’s like asking how many bikes is enough – long live n+1.

It very much depends on whether you want it to be free, cheap or the best.

  • Free – British Cycling or CTC Membership
  • Cheap – Any of the above
  • Best – Read on …

This article is about which is the best insurance and so let’s proceed on that basis.

There are probably two considerations after the cost of insurance; public liability cover and the inclusion or exclusion of personal accident insurance.

The above insurance policies include third party cover from £1m to £10m but how much public liability insurance do I need? The answer comes down to the level of risk. An occasional cyclist that rides along quiet country paths needs less than a more frequent cyclist who comes into contact with other road users.

Take a moment to consider the costs associated with you having an accident, which was your fault. Let’s hope this never happens but just consider the following;

  • A cycling accident which is your fault, either whilst riding your bike or even just wheeling it.
  • Physical injury to a third party caused by your actions.
  • Damage to third party property caused by you.
  • Legal costs incurred due to your actions during the incident or accident.
  • Damages awarded against you following a successful claim by a third party.

For some cyclists, £1m cover will be sufficient but for others, they’ll want to have the protection of greater cover. So the short answer is it depends on how much cover you want to have.

In regard to Personal Accident Insurance, whilst £10,000 is a lot of money, it’s a tiny amount when paid out against a death or permanent disability. Even the higher levels of cover at £25,000 don’t seem adequate in these circumstances. So should you bother? Again, that’s a very personal decision.

Conclusion

Whilst writing this article, I tried to consider which insurance policy I’d choose for myself. I came to the conclusion that I’d want to have at least £2m liability cover and that some money following an accident was better than none.

As far as which is the best, whilst it depends on each individual’s preference, the British Cycling Gold Membership probably qualifies as being the best overall, perhaps.