Bike insurance fight won

19:21, Dec 11 2012
paula prestidge
BATTLE WON: Cyclist Paula Prestidge wins a battle with her insurer after being knocked off her bike.

After Timaru woman Paula Prestidge was knocked off her bike by another cyclist, she says the bank she was insured through told her the damaged bike was not covered.

She said it told her the bike was not covered "because you were using it".

She wanted to advise other insurance clients to be tenacious if they believed they were in the right.

Mrs Prestidge received her claim eventually through "sheer persistence", bypassing the bank and talking to her insurer directly.

"There had been complete confusion over what was covered in the policy by the bank," Mrs Prestidge said.

What some basic insurance policies actually cover when it comes to bicycles seems to be a point of confusion among some owners too.


Cyclery owner James Smith had heard of people having trouble getting their mountainbikes insured off-road, which is where they are ridden. A customer with a $6000 bike was told by their insurance company that it would only be covered for theft and road use - but the bike was not going to be ridden on the road.

Top-end mountainbikes were incredibly well-built, with the best technology, research and development going into them, according to Mr Smith. A competitive racing bicycle could cost more than a small car, he said.

There were few crashes during cycle racing and the bicycles were built to withstand a certain amount of rough treatment. It was only when they were misused that problems arose, he said.

"You can't expect an entry level mountainbike to perform at expert level."

Insurance broker Barrie Andrews said bicycles could be fully insured, and premiums were calculated based on what they were being used for - just as insurance companies would for a motor vehicle. "Very simply, it all comes back to the risk."

The Timaru Herald