Do you need bicycle insurance? As a triathlete or cyclist, your bicycle is one of the most prized possessions. I bought my QR two years ago. It’s a bright blue bike with electronic shifters. And the first thing I thought, I need to search the internet to find a great company to cover me. That’s how I found Velosurance and I know it’s really hard to find a great company to insure your bike.
It gives me great pleasure to have Dave Williams, co-founder of Velosurance, a multi-risk bicycle insurance policy provider on today’s show. I’m Hilary Topper. And this is Hilary Topper on air. Welcome, Dave, to the show.
Dave: Thanks, Hilary. Happy to be here.
Hilary: So can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how Velosurance was born?
Dave: Well, back in 2008 with a general insurance agency, we had a client who had a bike stolen out of his garage. It was a $2,000 bike, six years old. We put the insurance claim in and he walked into our office holding a $183 check that the insurance company sent him for his $2,000 bike after they depreciated the value of the bike and took away his deductible. So we decided that it had to be a better way and we looked for it. There was nothing better at that time. That’s when we started researching how we could put together our own program for bicycles that took away all of the silly restrictions that home insurance puts on bicycles.
Hilary: Right. A lot of people think that the bike is covered under the home insurance policy, but do you need separate bicycle insurance? Is that true or not true?
Dave: There might be some coverage there, but it often takes a claim to be disappointed and find out how badly your home insurance does cover you. Um, the biggest downfall of a home insurance policy is that they depreciate the value of the bike 10%, the first year, 5% every year after that. So, if you’ve got a five-year-old bike and it’s a $10,000 bike, they’re going to give you a $5,000, then take away a $1,000 deductible, if that’s all your home insurance deductible is, and give you a check for $4,000 to go out and replace your $10,000 bike.
Hilary: That’s crazy. So what exactly is covered under bicycle insurance?
Dave: All types of accidental damage, including theft at home and away from home, as well as loss and damage in transit by airline or any other type of transport. If you’re looking at a broken bike and that damage was caused by an accident, it is covered. It’s covered for theft at home and away from home as well as at the event, it’s covered for up to 24 hours in the transition area.
Hilary: Now we had a conversation a little bit ago about how a lot of people use tri bike transport to ship out their bikes to different events. Do they need to take that extra insurance if they are insured with Velosurance?
Dave: No. In fact, if you use tribike transport four times a year, you’d come very close to paying for a 12-month policy with Velosurance. So we cover the bike at all times in transit, whether it’s on your car with tribike transport or with one of the airlines.
Hilary: So let’s talk about the prices of bikes. I mean, when does it make sense to have bike insurance? Does it make sense to have bike insurance for a $500 bike or a $1,000 bike, or does it have to be one of these, you know, really expensive types of TT bikes or road bikes that are out there?
Dave: Well, there’s a point where it becomes economically unfeasible to purchase bike insurance. Let’s say you’ve got a $500 bike with a $300 deductible and you’re paying $100/year to insure it. The best you can see is $100 back if that bike was lost.
So, no, at that point, there has to be risk management. You have to bring risk management into it. And the risk management probably makes sense around $1,000 and up to purchase insurance.
Hilary: That’s what I was going to ask you because most road bikes start at $1,000. I mean, it’s very difficult to get a road bike for under that. At that point, I guess it does make sense to get insurance just to cover it in case it’s damaged or stolen. Now, what coverage territory is included in your policy?
Dave: The basic policy covers the bike anywhere in the US or Canada. And, of course, the US includes Hawaii. It doesn’t include Puerto Rico, if you want to take the bike out of the US or Canada, you would apply for worldwide coverage and that’s a 10% uptick on the premium to include worldwide coverage.
Hilary: That’s great to know because a lot of people do travel to these iron man events that are overseas. Let’s talk about different scenarios. There was one scenario where a friend of mine, she had just picked up her bike from the bike store, put it on a bike rack, and was on the parkway, she didn’t put it on very well, and the bike went flying off the car. And thank God it didn’t hit anybody or hit another car, but it went flying into the side and the bike was ruined. Now, is that covered by your auto insurance?
Dave: No. Anything on the outside of your car is not covered by your auto insurance and most auto insurance these days don’t cover anything inside of your car. Anything that’s not part of the car is called a personal effect. And I don’t think you can find personal effects on any auto insurance policy today. So now you go back to your homeowner’s insurance and ask them if it fell off your car. The homeowner’s insurance will tell you no it’s covered by your car insurance. So, at that point, you’re back at the bike shop with your visa card, looking for a new bike. If you had Velosurance, you’d call us and, seven days later, you’d get a reimbursement check, less your chosen deductible.
Hilary: So let me ask you this. You buy a $10,000 TT bike. And you get Velosurance and the first year it’s $10,000. I mean, do the premiums go down through the years because of the value of the bike, or does the value of the bike stay at $10,000 throughout the term of the insurance?
Dave: The value of the bike remained stable. It does not change. We do not depreciate the value of the bike because of age. My bikes, I’ve got a 2014 bike that is a little dirty, but it’s as good as it was when I bought it seven years ago. If that bike was on my homeowners, $8,000 bike they’d give me about $3,000 for it. With Velosurance with a $300 deductible, Velosurance is gonna give me 7,700 for it. If it went away entirely.
Most everyone out there takes care of their bikes so that it’s always in peak performance condition.
Hilary: That’s true. That’s true. Um, all right.
Well, before we move on, I want to give a shout-out to my sponsors because I really do appreciate having them and their support. Please tell them that you heard about them on Hilary topper on air. Special thanks to the Pegalis Law Group, The Profit Express, Pop International Galleries, The Russo Law group, and Gold Benes, L L P.
Now back to you, Dave, we’re talking about bike insurance, how are bike insurance claims handled?
Dave: There’s a bike and there’s a claim tab on our website. Top right-hand corner. The short story is you take a damaged bike and get an estimate for the repair. Send us pictures of the damage. Send us the estimate subject to your chosen deductible. We’ll send you the bill.
Hilary: And then how long does it take for that settlement to come in?
Dave: Checks going out within a week. Today, it’ll often take longer to get the estimate for the repair than it will for the check to be mailed.
Hilary: So what companies financially back Velosurance policy?
Dave: We partnered with Markel American insurance company. And the division that we work with is Markel’s specialty. Markel is a rated US insurance company, founded in the 1930s. It’s a family-owned company. I wish I bought stock in them five years ago because they’ve really done well in the last five years. We had 18 companies in our agency when we had the general insurance agency and the one company that always stood out in an effort to pay a claim. A lot of companies look for ways not to pay a claim. Markel insurance was a company that always looked for a way to pay a claim and they were the company that we partnered with to produce a policy that covers bikes for just about any risk that you can take the bike into, it’s covered and they continue to be a standout company and look for ways to pay claims.
Hilary: So talk to us about this. Why should someone come to you versus going straight to Markel? And is there a price difference?
Dave: Same policy, same premium, you can definitely go direct to Markel. When you call us, you’re going to be talking to another rider, somebody who understands you and your bike and speaks the same language. Generally, it just comes down to who would you rather talk to. And because of each quote, you can call us and discuss your quote with us. We can look at the quote that you’re looking at on your screen, and we can analyze it to make sure that you’ve qualified for every possible credit.
Often we will find credits that have been missed and apply them. So our premium comes in and just significant, well, I shouldn’t say significant, somewhat lower than the Markel premium.
Hilary: Yeah, I’ve been a client now of Velosurance for about, I don’t know, three, at least three years now. And what I found about you guys was that you were so easy to work with.
The forms were easy to fill out. I was able to get the insurance and the certificate right away. And I know that if I had an issue, you guys would work with me and that’s what I love about you guys. I just thought that you were just a great company to deal with. And it was funny because after I did the research and found you guys, my insurance guy asked me if I knew of any company because he had other people who needed bike insurance. So of course I gave your name, but, I just want to say that, just for the record, I’ve been working with these guys for at least three years now, and they are just an absolute pleasure to work with. So I just, I pray that I never need to use your coverage, but at least I have it. It’s a peace of mind.
So now, Dave, talk to us about some additional or optional coverage, like roadside assistance that Velosurance offers.
Dave: Roadside assistance it’s not part of the policy. It is a benefit to the policy at cost 12 bucks a year. It can be used up to five times a year, and it is a free 35 mile ride for you and the bike. If you’re ever stranded out on the road and need a ride home. You find a safe place to wait, call for assistance and a company similar to AAA. We’ll show up in 35 to 45 minutes, you’re on your way home.
Hilary: That’s great. I guess they help you fix the bike or get it working or they just pick you up?
Dave: No, Billy Bob drives the truck. That’s what he does, he picks the bike up and drives you home.
Hilary: Now one more question. Where do you cover? Could somebody from Texas or California? I mean, I’m in New York. Can anybody call you and buy insurance for their bike? Do you need to be in a specific geographical location?
Dave: We’re licensed in 48 States and Washington DC. We’re not licensed in Hawaii, because the cost to be an insurance agent in Hawaii is prohibitive for the number of bikes that we would be insuring in that state.
So there’s a, I think one out of the state where there’s more sheep than there are people where we don’t sell. But when we have prospects who call us from those States where we’re not licensed, we send them over to Markel and tell them, buy your policy there. And if you’ve got questions, call us back and we’ll be able to answer the questions for you. Even though we can’t sell you the policy, we can certainly answer questions.
Hilary: So talk to me about your riding.
Dave: I’m a mountain biker. My biggest concerns are trees and rocks.
Hilary: Well, those are big concerns.
Dave: I don’t need roadside assistance because they won’t go off the blacktop to come and get me. But, I spend five months of the year in Colorado. We have a licensed office in Denver and in Colorado Springs. So, when it gets miserably hot in Florida, I drive out to Colorado and spend the next five months riding out there. My business partner, who started this company with me, is a triathlete and iron man and he’s also a mountain biker, but I’ve given up trying to keep up with him.
Hilary: That’s awesome. So tell us, Dave, how could people get in touch with you and learn more about Velosurance or even sign up for Velosurance?
Dave: All of our contact information is on the velosurance.com site and our 800 numbers are there. That number will most likely ring on my desk if I’m the licensed agent in that state and I’m licensed in 48 States. So it tries to get me first. If it can’t get me, it’ll get somebody else. But it doesn’t matter who you get a hold of, they’re going to be able to help you and understand what you’re dealing with. We like to talk to clients when they’ve had a claim because claims are sometimes emotional and it’s time to take a breath, sit back and analyze what’s going on.
Nobody likes insurance claims, but, there is a procedure that we can walk our clients through that makes an insurance claim a very easy and straightforward process.
Hilary: Awesome. Awesome. So that’s Velosurance.com. And that is spelled Velosurance.com. Thank you so much, Dave, for being on the show. This was so informative. I learned a lot even by you being on the show. So I appreciate that.
And I also want to thank our sponsors again, the Russo Law Group, The Profit Express, Pop International Galleries, Gold Benes, LLP, and the Pegalis Law Group.
And last but not least, I want to thank you, our listeners for tuning in each week. If you want more information on this show or any other show, you can visit us at hilarytopperonair.com or you can find us on Spotify, iTunes, Google play, Apple podcasts, you name it. We’re out there. Have a great week and we’ll see you next time.