12 jan 2016
HOW TO CHOOSE TRAVEL AND RACE INSURANCE
You put a lot into earning your holidays, so you want to enjoy your riding or racing when you’re abroad – and as dull as it seems, that means getting the right insurance in case the worst happens.
Theft is awful if you’re left with nothing afterwards, while injury is worse – even without finding you’re suddenly liable for tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros or dollars in medical and/or legal bills. So when an X-ray and a box of antibiotics can have US doctors chasing you for 3,000 Euros, and an airline can present you with a destroyed bike – or no bike at all – and legally deny responsibility, it doesn’t take much for the trip of the year to turn sour. Take a few precautions, however, and you can breathe easily (or at least to your VO2 max…) once again.
Along with packing carefully, pay close attention to your insurance cover
Here are the pitfalls to avoid:
Firstly, make sure your personal cover is appropriate – while road and leisure cycling is often covered on standard policies, racing and mountain biking frequently aren’t.
In fact, some policies appear to cover off-roading, but careful reading reveals they only cover ‘mountain biking’ on roads or paths! Actual mountains, trails and bike parks may be excluded, so read carefully.
Races and events such as triathlons or sportives are unlikely to be covered at all, and you may need to try specialist insurance firms – which are becoming more numerous. It’s also worth looking at products from cycle-specific organisations.
Bike and equipment
You’ll need insurance for your bike and associated gear. The limits for individual items and the total claimable value will probably be too low on ‘regular’ travel insurance, though you may be able to raise them for an extra fee.
There are separate policies available to cover bikes and kit, but it’s still vital to check the terms. They may stipulate things such as locks or secure storage that are simply unavailable to you.
If you really can’t comply, or only can for a fraction of the time, the insurance is functionally worthless. The key is simply to wade through the small print exactly like they don’t want you to, and make sure you’re happy before you leave.
For total peace of mind, ensure your chosen provider is regulated by the appropriate body for your home nation, such as the Institute for the Supervision of Insurance (ISVAP) in Italy, BaFin – Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht in Germany, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in the USA.