Travel Insurance

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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mjr
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby mjr » 11 Jan 2019, 7:40pm

CJ wrote:But if anyone has any other suggestions for helmet-free cycle-touring insurance, tell me and I'll add it to my comparison table. I find it rather interesting, by the way, to see which other countries insurers include with geographical Europe: countries which lie on the other side of the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Urals. Most insurers throw in Morocco and Tunisia - but not all - whilst some include such outlandish lands as Armenia and Azerbaijan!

There's some in viewtopic.php?f=16&t=111358 including holidaysafe and ehicplus - the latter doesn't include Serbia as Europe, of course.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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slowster
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby slowster » 11 Jan 2019, 8:10pm

CJ wrote: SportsCover Direct is clearly a better product at an equally keen price. Probably because activity is a central theme of this insurance, there don't seem to be any naughty exclusions from cover for the activities covered.

Out of curiosity I got a few comparison quotes from their website, all based on annual bronze cover for one person under 65.

The prices for the following two activity options are the same (£44.36) whether just one or both activities are selected (i.e. the insurer clearly considers these activities to present a similar level of risk):

- 'Mountain Biking on cycle paths (not trails and non-competitive): Does not cover Cross Country, Down Hilling, Stunting or Jumping)'

- 'Cycle touring (not competition or events)'

However, the price is higher (£95.23) for the following activity:

- 'Mountain Biking - Cross Country (non-competitive): mountain biking including both downhill & uphills sections on a variety of terrains. May sometimes include the use of a lift or vehicle to get to the departure point. Excludes competitions or events.

That suggests to me that if your cycle touring holidays include any off-road cycling on anything other than designated off-road cycle paths, then you probably need to choose the more expensive option.

MrsHJ
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby MrsHJ » 11 Jan 2019, 8:13pm

CJ wrote:I
On the strength of my researches so far, I've cancelled the ETA policy I'd just taken out, because SportsCover Direct is clearly a better product at an equally keen price. Probably because activity is a central theme of this insurance, there don't seem to be any naughty exclusions from cover for the activities covered. Loss of your equipment (i.e. your bike) is separately covered from your other belongings (although the sum insured is paltry unless you go for Gold) and if you need to be repatriated, they don't leave it behind. So AFAICT it does everything that Cyclecover does, but without the helmet and other quibbles.
!


I feel that little glow of being useful. I haven’t used them much recently as I’ve had cover via work and haven’t done any big adventures but I used to use them many years ago when I did a lot of cycling/skiing and sailing holidays. I’ll be taking out an annual silver policy to cover my 45 days in the states for April/May and that will alo cover me for my hopeful return trip in September. Which should get me 3/4 of the way across the country whilst I’m still 50- the last segment will have to be after juniors GCSEs in 2020.

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CJ
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby CJ » 11 Jan 2019, 9:53pm

slowster wrote:
CJ wrote: SportsCover Direct is clearly a better product at an equally keen price. Probably because activity is a central theme of this insurance, there don't seem to be any naughty exclusions from cover for the activities covered.

Out of curiosity I got a few comparison quotes from their website, all based on annual bronze cover for one person under 65.

The prices for the following two activity options are the same (£44.36) whether just one or both activities are selected (i.e. the insurer clearly considers these activities to present a similar level of risk):

- 'Mountain Biking on cycle paths (not trails and non-competitive): Does not cover Cross Country, Down Hilling, Stunting or Jumping)'

- 'Cycle touring (not competition or events)'

However, the price is higher (£95.23) for the following activity:

- 'Mountain Biking - Cross Country (non-competitive): mountain biking including both downhill & uphills sections on a variety of terrains. May sometimes include the use of a lift or vehicle to get to the departure point. Excludes competitions or events.

That suggests to me that if your cycle touring holidays include any off-road cycling on anything other than designated off-road cycle paths, then you probably need to choose the more expensive option.

It doesn't suggest that to me, not at all.
I see clear blue water between the use of a mountain-bike on a journey, to make just-about rideable surfaces safer and more comfortable to ride, and the activity of mountain-biking for its own sake - where the journey (if any) is incidental to the challenge of obstacles met along the way. The former comes in category 1 because it is NOT about the challenge. On a journey one avoids unnecessary challenges, reducing the risk of mishap. A bit of rough-stuff never did anyone any harm - or no more than they might instead have suffered at the hand of a dozy driver!

Where it says "not trails" I don't believe it means to exclude the kinds of tracks and bridleways we occasionally take to avoid busy roads or long detours, but to those (mostly but not entirely) man-made trails, created or designated specifically to challenge the skills of thrill-seeking mountain-bikers. And thrills mean spills! I think the providers of this insurance very wisely see the fundamental difference between these two superficially similar 'Mountain-Biking' activities, which is why cover for the latter costs more than double.
Chris Juden
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slowster
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby slowster » 11 Jan 2019, 11:37pm

CJ wrote:I see clear blue water between the use of a mountain-bike on a journey, to make just-about rideable surfaces safer and more comfortable to ride, and the activity of mountain-biking for its own sake - where the journey (if any) is incidental to the challenge of obstacles met along the way. The former comes in category 1 because it is NOT about the challenge. On a journey one avoids unnecessary challenges, reducing the risk of mishap. A bit of rough-stuff never did anyone any harm - or no more than they might instead have suffered at the hand of a dozy driver!

You are using your own criteria to differentiate between cycle touring and mountain biking. The fact that the insurers have a separate classification for 'Mountain biking on cycle paths (not trails and non-competitive): Does not cover Cross Country, Down Hilling, Stunting or Jumping)', which they categorise at the same risk level as cycle touring, does suggest to me that off road riding on paths which are not officially classed as cycle paths may not be covered, whether done on a mountain bike, touring bike, gravel bike etc.

In some ways your comment "A bit of rough-stuff never did anyone any harm - or no more than they might instead have suffered at the hand of a dozy driver!" gets to the heart of the issue: it obviously is more hazardous terrain to ride (all other things being equal, such as the skill of the rider etc.), and it has done some riders harm (I can think of at least two photographs on the RSF Archives Instagram page showing cyclists who have come a cropper, and who were probably fortunate not to have suffered worse injuries). Moreover, your comment implying that dozy drivers present as much or even more risk to someone riding on the road as roughstuff terrain does to someone riding off road is irrelevant: the insurers make their own decisions about what they consider the differing levels of risk to be, and about what risks they are prepared to cover.

And that really is my key point: if the worst happens when someone on a cycle touring holiday includes rough-stuff cycling on tracks which are not recognised paths for cyclists, then it may not be your criteria that the insurers use when assessing the claim. The point of buying insurance is peace of mind that there will be cover if the worst happens, so if my planned tour included such off road cycling, then I would select the cross country mountain biking option and pay the higher price. Alternatively you could contact the insurers and ask for clarification of the issue before going on your holiday.

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RickH
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby RickH » 12 Jan 2019, 12:21am

It could do with clarification, if nothing else, as trails can mean different things to different people.

To mountainbikers riding trails generally means going to ride at a "trail centre" with lots of created routes with different levels of challenge.

For others trails would mean routes like converted rail track, the Monsal Trail (ones like these even have trail in the name) is one UK example that springs to mind, or forestry tracks.

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CJ
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby CJ » 13 Jan 2019, 12:52pm

slowster wrote:The point of buying insurance is peace of mind that there will be cover if the worst happens, so if my planned tour included such off road cycling, then I would select the cross country mountain biking option and pay the higher price. Alternatively you could contact the insurers and ask for clarification of the issue before going on your holiday.

I could, but doubt that I'd get a sensible answer from the call-centre or chat-person, who will have no appreciation of the differences between the two uses of a MTB their employer is wisely differentiating between. It's useful to ask questions, but only as a short-cut to the appropriate part of the small-print, which these people know like the backs of their hands. But further than that, their script will not allow them to tread. When the questions get deeper, their script will doubtless tell them to suggest the higher cover. So I'm not going to delve any deeper, because I doubt that I'll get a better-infomed answer than I can from reading the small-print myself.

My point is, most insurances tar all use of a mountain-bike with the same danger-sport brush, so that even if you're using a mountain-bike as a touring bike, you can't be sure you're covered. This insurer apparently knows enough about cycle-touring not to do that. I would go so far as to suggest they realise that the kind of cycle-tourist (A) who uses a modified MTB and diverts onto bridleways rather than ride on horribly hazardous A-roads, is much less likely to cost them a very expensive medical emergency than (B) who uses what I call a 'de-tuned racing bike' and is wedded to tarmac! So the last thing they want to do is discourage type (A) from buying their cover.

As for what constitutes a "cycle path": UK traffic law does not define that term, but calls a purpose-made off road cycle path a 'cycle-track', whilst UK access law gives cycles a right-of-way on byways and paths designated as bridleways, so legally any of those could be called a cycle path.

As for 'Cross Country' neither does that term have any legal definition, but the words would surely suggest (to the "man on the Clapham omnibus" beloved of lawyers) no path at all, but ploughing one's own fresh furrow across the country! Technically the term describes a particular kind of MTB racing, that does follow a designated path, that is designed to challenge the rider with obstacles. And more commonly (but only amongst cyclists) it describes a similar kind of riding just for fun, on the same kinds of paths at trail centres and also public bridleways etc.

Overlap between these two activities occurs when the traffic-avoiding tourist finds himself on a bridleway that is more difficult than he wants, and the cross-country MTBer has to use a 'boring' fire road to get from one bit of knarly singletrack to the next.

I am not going to pay the twice as high insurance premium demanded by the latter activity because I will not knowingly include any really difficult bridlepaths in my itinerary, the mostly road and normal touring nature of which the record of my ride thus far on Strava will confirm. So if I do come to grief on an unexpectedly difficult bit, it will be clear enough that I didn't go looking for trouble (like a cross-country MTBer does), but that trouble found me. Which is what you buy insurance for after all.

Admittedly, there's still a tiny risk that this insurer might worm out of paying up in that extremely rare eventually. But life is not devoid of risk. All one can do is take reasonable precuations. I don't think paying double for extra cover I'm so very unlikely to need is reasonable. You may think otherwise and that is your prerogative.
Chris Juden
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slowster
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby slowster » 13 Jan 2019, 4:30pm

CJ wrote:I don't think paying double for extra cover I'm so very unlikely to need is reasonable. You may think otherwise and that is your prerogative.

Indeed, you pays your money and you takes your choice, and I suspect that you are fairly risk averse when it comes to deciding what sort of off-road terrain you would be prepared to tackle in the course of a cycle touring holiday.

40 or 50 years ago none of this was probably an issue: cycle touring was such a niche activity that travel insurers probably were hardly aware of it, and probably didn't include any limitations on cycling in their policies, such as a restriction on the type of terrain that might be ridden. That has changed as a result of the explosion in cycling as a leisure activity and the introduction and development of mountain bikes which have made it possible for most able bodied people to consider riding in places and on terrain that were previously the preserve of a very tiny number of hard core cycle tourists who were into riding and exploring off-road, such as the Rough-Stuff Fellowship.

A lot more people are now pushing the boundaries of what might be called cycle touring, using touring/gravel bikes to cover terrain that previously was the preserve of mountain bikers.

The problem is that the type of bike ridden does not define the level of risk, and as you say many people tour on mountain bikes. Similarly, the criteria you used in your previous post of mountain biking being about the challenge of obstacles met along the way and cycle touring being about the journey, is your own definition, and is so subjective that I don't think it would stand scrutiny in a court. I think for a good many cyclists it's even the other way round: some RSFers relish the challenges of difficult obstacles on a touring bike, and conversely for some mountain bikers it's all about the journey and they avoid difficult obstacles.

The insurers have not clearly defined adequately precisely and accurately their different categories of cycling, as demonstrated by their loose use of terms which have specific meaning in mountain biking, e.g. ''trails" (presumably they mean trail centres such as Afan) and "Cross Country" with capital letters (which is a class of racing, despite their definition excluding racing).

Even the words "cycle paths" may be open to different interpretations depending upon the country. In England I think they would be generally accepted to mean an (off-road) path or track on which cycling is legally permitted, e.g. a bridleway (even though that includes some quite demanding and potentially hazardous/tricky paths, e.g. the South Downs Way). In countries where right to roam type legislation applies to cycling as well as walking I suspect the words might instead be interpreted to mean designated or officially approved/recommended for cyclists. I've not ridden the Lairig Ghru in Scotland - I believe it's legal, but something only attempted by hardcore rough-stuffers and mountain bikers, and not a route designated or recommended for cyclists by the Scottish authorities.

I think most cyclists will know what sort of off-road riding they will undertake on a touring holiday, and would select the right level of cover. However, there are always some people who will push their luck and try to pull a fast one over the insurers (in the same way that some parents used to try to get cheaper motor insurance for their offspring by insuring their son's or daughter's car in the parent's name with the child as an additional driver). Most of the time people get away with it, but the time they don't will be when they most need the cover, because it's when there is a very large claim that the insurer will investigate the circumstances fully, e.g. an accident in the USA resulting in major medical treatment and costs.

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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby Vitara » 13 Jan 2019, 8:06pm

CJ wrote: On the strength of my researches so far, I've cancelled the ETA policy I'd just taken out, because SportsCover Direct is clearly a better product at an equally keen price. Probably because activity is a central theme of this insurance, there don't seem to be any naughty exclusions from cover for the activities covered.


Following the thread with interest as I'm looking Travel Insurance for a long distance Audax ride in the summer. So far I'm drawing blanks. I choose to wear a helmet anyway so not worried about that aspect, but I need to know that I'm covered for the Audax ride & also want to be with a company I can rely on to assist and pay out should the need arise.

SportsCover Direct initially looked promising, but their Cyling Events cover is limited to events of no more than 72hrs continuous duration which as I'll be riding for up to 90 hours rules them out of the equation.

My search continues.

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Neil Wheadon
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby Neil Wheadon » 14 Jan 2019, 9:26am

If it's anything like Pet Insurance (I'm a vet) then there are loads of different companies and in effect you get what you pay for. If it's cheap it's cheap for a reason. There are certain companies that are dreadful, they take your money and look at any reason for not paying out
I use Snowcard and have just confirmed that they cover for none helmet use. They also cover many extreme activities. Yes it's £140 and I'm 55, but I go to some out of the way places and frankly the difference between £80 and £140 is negligible when it comes to good coverage.
Neil
PS Beware of Nationwide, they have a helmet exclusion clause. I have a Nationwide account and lodged a formal complaint, they said I was the first, maybe more consumers should lodge a complaint because only then will companies take notice
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Nigel
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby Nigel » 14 Jan 2019, 9:59am

Neil Wheadon wrote:If it's anything like Pet Insurance (I'm a vet) then there are loads of different companies and in effect you get what you pay for. If it's cheap it's cheap for a reason. There are certain companies that are dreadful, they take your money and look at any reason for not paying out
I use Snowcard and have just confirmed that they cover for none helmet use. They also cover many extreme activities. Yes it's £140 and I'm 55, but I go to some out of the way places and frankly the difference between £80 and £140 is negligible when it comes to good coverage.
Neil
PS Beware of Nationwide, they have a helmet exclusion clause. I have a Nationwide account and lodged a formal complaint, they said I was the first, maybe more consumers should lodge a complaint because only then will companies take notice



I'm another Snowcard user, primarily for skiing where they are few who cover Nordic ski touring. Their cycle cover seems sane.


Nationwide, thanks for the prompt, I'll complain as well, and no doubt be told I'm the first as well..


- Nigel

Vitara
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby Vitara » 14 Jan 2019, 3:04pm

Neil Wheadon wrote:If it's anything like Pet Insurance (I'm a vet) then there are loads of different companies and in effect you get what you pay for. If it's cheap it's cheap for a reason. There are certain companies that are dreadful, they take your money and look at any reason for not paying out
I use Snowcard and have just confirmed that they cover for none helmet use. They also cover many extreme activities. Yes it's £140 and I'm 55, but I go to some out of the way places and frankly the difference between £80 and £140 is negligible when it comes to good coverage.
Neil


That would be my philosophy, I'd rather pay a higher premium to a reputable insurer and know that I'm properly covered.
When I was a dinghy sailer there was one company nearly everyone used, they weren't the cheapest, but if the need arose they paid out without quibbling.

The Travel Insurance scene seems to be over run with companies offerring the cheapest possible quotes, that doesn't really help when what you actually want is reliable and effective cover, expecially so when your travel involves something a little different from a weeks break in a holiday resort.

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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby MrsHJ » 14 Jan 2019, 7:24pm

What s the CTC insurance like? So they have something? Do audax (I guess not give the self sufficient theme!).

Vitara
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby Vitara » 14 Jan 2019, 8:18pm

Thanks are due to Neil & Nigel.

Snowcard have confirmed they cover Long Distance Audax events. They also use a well established underwriter and are focussed on providing reliable service (as opposed to cheapest price). I'll be sorting my policy with them shortly.

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CJ
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Re: Travel Insurance

Postby CJ » 20 Jan 2019, 6:10pm

I've added Snowcard to the table I'm compiling. It's a good choice if you're going to extremes and want to be certain beyond any doubt that they're covered. Though I already had annual Cyclecover, I used it myself some years ago, just to be on the safe side (I even took a helmet, and sometimes wore it!) for three weeks cycling to over 5000m on dirt roads in the Himalaya. But for a whole year when you're not intending to go that high and mostly sticking to tarmac, I think it's OTT, perhaps literally. (I was going to write 'overkill' but thought better of it!)
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.