Are Bike Racks Covered By Auto Insurance? What You Need To Know

Installing a bike rack, whether it’s a trunk, roof, or hitch-mount, can be a hassle that’s well worth it when the job is done. You would like to think that nothing could go wrong, but life happens, and would an auto insurance policy cover your bike rack if it was damaged or the bike is stolen?

Does Auto Insurance Cover Bike Racks?

Fortunately, your auto insurance policy will likely cover your bike rack in the event of theft or damage. In most states, this is the case. However, there are some caveats to consider with your auto insurance policy. 

Auto insurance is like every other legal document on the planet, full of legal jargon, and often enough, things get hidden in the small print.

For instance, installing a roof rack for your bicycle might be defined as a vehicle modification by your auto insurer, voiding your policy completely. On top of that, it won’t come to light until you need your auto insurance, the worst possible time to lose it.

In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not bicycles are covered by auto insurance. Plus, we’ll look at the various types of coverage and what to do if you need to file a claim and if it’s worth it. 

How Are Bike Racks Affected By Auto Coverage?

Coverage is largely situational and subject to not only your auto policy but potentially your homeowner’s or renters insurance policy as well.

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If this coverage is part of your policy and the damage to your bicycle or rack is caused by an uninsured motorist, your policy will cover it under ACV (Actual Cash Value).
  • Insured Motorist: If another vehicle damages your bike rack or bicycle, their insurance will cover the ACV.

It’s also important to understand that ACV, or actual cash value, is the depreciated real value of the bicycle or rack, minus age, wear and tear. So you won’t get back what you paid for the bike or the bike rack in full. 

How Are Bike Racks Affected By Home Or Renters Insurance?

Believe it or not, home or renters insurance will cover damage or stolen property when it comes to bike racks. Also, that coverage may include RCV (Replacement Cost Value), rather than ACV.

  • Replacement Cost Value: If your home or renters insurance policy includes RCV, then damage to your bike or rack is covered at replacement cost—if secured to your vehicle at home. Of course, the deductible could be a large enough factor to nullify any gains. 
  • Actual Cash Value: If ACV is part of your home or renters policy, the bike and/or rack value minus depreciation will be covered. 
  • Stolen Bike: If your bike is stolen off the rack, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance cover the RCV.

So do you get around the fact that the deductible effectively negates the advantage of home or renters insurance when it concerns your bike rack? 

Adding a floater policy to your home or renters insurance will cover an individual item, but even that can be problematic.

What Is A Floater Policy?

Most people (myself included) have no clue what a floater policy is. It’s an insurance policy that provides additional coverage that covers personal property that other insurances don’t offer. 

For instance, floaters insurance covers items such as;

  1. Wine collections
  2. Silverware
  3. Jewelry
  4. Camera equipment
  5. Bike racks 
  6. And more

It basically covers personal property that is easily movable. You can read more about how floater insurance works, on this site.

That said, car insurance companies won’t cover the damage if you put a rack on your car and it scratches the paint.

Does Auto Insurance Cover Roof Racks?

Auto insurance covers roof racks. However, roof racks come with potential issues, especially if you have them installed after purchasing a policy. 

Roof racks can quickly fall into the shady area of auto insurance policies. It’s entirely possible that nothing would ever be said about it either way. However, it’s always best to play it safe.

None of this applies if you purchased the vehicle with a roof rack already installed. That should be cleared up when you open up a new auto policy with the car.

You should always contact your auto insurance provider—or an insurance broker—if you plan on installing a roof rack. Not only may it be considered a modification that endangers your auto policy, but it could also alter how your policy covers your vehicle.

Not notifying your auto insurance provider may be defined as a “failure to disclose” and void any coverage at the time of an accident, even if the accident has nothing to do with your roof rack.

Aside from policy changes, disclosure, and roof rack installation, everything else—as far as auto, home, and renters insurance is concerned—will likely still apply. But, if nothing else, the process will better inform you of the subtle nuances within your policy.

Limitations Of Homeowners, And Renters Insurance With Bike Racks

Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance have limits, and it’s all in the fine print. But, of course, things change, and purchases are made after home or renters insurance policies are purchased and set.

  • Low premiums and high deductibles: If your deductible is $1,000 to cover $10,000 in roof damage, that’s all well and good. Not so much when covering a $250-$500 bike rack. It wouldn’t be worth your time filing a claim on the bike rack.
  • Depreciation: Deductibles and actual value become worse if your insurance company depreciates the value of your bicycle and bicycle rack at, let’s say, 25%.
  • Filing a claim: Filing a claim on your stolen bike and damaged bike rack may cause your policy cost to increase, as underwriters judge the number of claims more vigorously than dollar amounts.
  • Limitations: Do you own an expensive bike rack with an even more costly bike to carry? Many policies have strict cost limitations for individual items, such as $500 or $1,000. 

It’s important to consider all of your options when adjusting or adding policies that will cover your bike racks and bikes. Auto insurance can be finicky as well.

Are Bike Racks Covered By Bicycle Insurance?

Bicycle insurance covers bike racks, bicycles, medical costs, and more. It even includes roadside assistance for stranded bikers. 

Many people don’t realize that there are insurance companies that focus primarily on bicycle insurance. Bicycle enthusiasts are enthusiastic about their bikes and want to take them along for the ride when traveling. 

There are two primary bicycle insurance providers, and although many auto insurance providers will extend coverage to bicycles, that often doesn’t include bike racks.

  • VelosuranceWhen you create your policy with Velosurance, the total value that you want to be insured extends beyond just the bicycle to bike racks, bike trailers, wheels, panniers, etc. You simply calculate the value of everything associated with the bicycle you’re insuring, including your bike rack, straps, and locks.
  • MarkelMarkel operates similarly. Calculate the total value of everything associated with the bicycle you are insuring, and be sure to include the cost of your bike rack. You can purchase a policy under Markel. However, Markel is the underwriting partner of Velosuance. 

Bicycle insurance is just another option for covering a bike rack. People who are enthusiastic about cycling tend to be the ones who purchase bike racks and want to protect their property and the value of what it carries, just like anyone else. 

Final Thoughts

When you install a bike rack, it becomes as important a part of the vehicle as the rest of the vehicle itself. So it’s good to know that auto insurance covers bike racks and how different policies apply.

It also makes sense that homeowner’s and renter’s insurance often extends to a bike rack because most bicycle thefts occur at home. However, “it’s all in the fine print” has never been a more accurate assessment. 

Rest assured that there are plenty of options out there for ensuring the coverage in case your bike rack is damaged, including the bike it may be carrying.

It’s up to you to do your due diligence and find the right insurance coverage before it’s too late and realize that your current policy doesn’t cover it.