Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 29th, 2012 at 2:52 pm
Portland-based Better World Club will soon
be the first company in America to offer affordable, comprehensive bicycle insurance*.
Better World Club Marketing Director Lauri Fish says they are just ironing out some details and expect to have the new services available in June. Fish says Better World will add the medical and liability insurance — as well as optional coverage for bike theft and property damage — onto their existing Bicycle Roadside Assistance package.
Options for comprehensive bike insurance that is similar to auto insurance has long been lacking for folks who primarily ride and for the increasing number of Americans that don't own a car at all. (Learn more about this issue in our post, A guide to bicycle insurance options from January 2010).
The optional theft and damage protection for your bike would be based on your bike's value. Annual premiums, Fish says, will likely be about $40 for bikes valued up to $1,500 and would go up incrementally each $1,000 in value. The new insurance policy will also come with $1 million in liability coverage if you are involved in a collision with someone else while bicycling and it's proven to be your fault.
This is an exciting development for folks who use a bicycle as their primary vehicle. Since comprehensive bicycle insurance hasn't existed (until now), people have had to rely on either their homeowner's insurance policy (which might just cover property damage), their own auto insurance policy (if they owned a car), or the policy of the person driving the motor vehicle (if indeed they even had coverage or had enough coverage). But all of those options come with legal grey areas and gaps in coverage.
"We've been hearing from customers for years that they needed this," said Fish via phone this morning, "There was always something missing with previous coverage that cyclists were really looking for."
Better World Club says they're the natural company to offer what they believe is the first affordable, full-coverage policy of its kind available in the U.S*. "We really push alternative modes of transportation over automobiles," said Fish. The company also directly positions themselves as an alternative to the AAA and other auto clubs. AAA has come under fire among bicycle advocates in the past for supporting auto and highway-centric legislation, while Better World Club says they've been squarely behind the fight for a 3-foot passing law in California.
Better World Club's Bicycle Roadside Assistance package is $39.95 a year. They're expected to make the announcement of the new coverage plans in the next week or so. Stay tuned to BetterWorldClub.com for updates.
*UPDATE: After publishing this story I was contacted by a representative from Spoke Insurance. Spoke has been writing comprehensive bicycle insurance policies since February 2012, which would make them the first company to offer this product in the U.S.