Bike enthusiasts? LOOK here!

Straits Times

Oct 14, 2010

Fear bike theft? Get it insured

Policy covers damage and accidents too

By Amanda Tan

INCREASING bicycle thefts combined with a growing pool of pedal-pushing enthusiasts have prompted one insurer to offer a special policy for bicycles and their owners.

The comprehensive policy will offer cyclists protection from theft, damage and accidents – much like policies for cars.

It is being described as the first real insurance policy for bicycles and their owners in Singapore. Offered by Kairos Planners, local distributors for insurance company AXA, the policy has been available since the beginning of this month. ‘There is no doubt that the sport is catching on here. And thefts are also on the rise,’ said Mr Stanley Ng, business development head for Kairos.

The Straits Times reported yesterday that bicycle thieves have become bolder, even climbing into private compounds to steal the two-wheelers.

Kairos has so far tied up with six major high-end bicycle stores to offer the policy.

Under the policy, a bicycle less than three years old will be replaced if it is stolen despite efforts to secure it, or if it is totally destroyed during leisure or competitive activities here or abroad. The policy also includes worldwide personal accident coverage and medical reimbursement for the cyclist.

Entry premiums start at about $150 a year, and can run into the thousands for the more expensive bicycles or those used in competitions. Buyers can state the amount they wish to insure their bicycles for and the premiums will be priced accordingly.

According to AXA Insurance, the company underwriting the plan, this is the only policy here that fully covers bicycles that cost more than $2,500.

Industry experts called the Kairos offering Singapore’s first ‘real’ bicycle policy. ‘I have never insured a bicycle under any other policy before,’ said Mr Walton Seah, owner of Attitude Bikes, which stocks custom-made models that cost more than $10,000. ‘Insurers usually don’t want to cover them because, unlike cars, it is very hard to calculate depreciation value for bicycles.’

Bicycle shop owners like him are cheering the latest offering. Mr Y.S. Lee, managing director of Rodalink, another major store, said: ‘Such policies are already available in other countries and I think this is (the way forward) for us.’

Cycling enthusiasts are also pleased. Mr Seah himself has opted for a policy, insuring his $16,000 bicycle for $10,000.

But not everybody is taking to it yet. Mr Chris De Souza, 62, who owns four cheaper bicycles, thinks a general policy might be enough for him.

‘If I have a more high-end bicycle, I might consider getting such a policy. Otherwise, I will buy a general home insurance policy,’ he said.

Mr Gilbert Loo, manager of Hup Leong Company, a well-known bicycle shop in Chin Swee Road, suggested giving the policy some time. ‘I’m quite confident that it will be successful, but there’s room for improvement in terms of coverage. Let’s give it time to refine.’

 tamanda@sph.com.sg

Email kimheng@avallis.com for more info

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