Waukesha insurer creates coverage for cyclists

Earlier this year, Waukesha-based Markel American Insurance Company introduced Markel Cyclist – a new bicycle insurance program to provide specialized protection for cyclists.

Markel American Insurance Company is part of Richmond, Va.-based Markel Corp., an international property and casualty insurance company. Markel American Insurance Company specializes in providing insurance coverage on specialty properties (including vacation homes and rental properties), watercraft, weddings and private events.

But after surveying avid cyclists, the company decided to create an insurance product for their unique needs.

“There are over 10 million bicycles sold each year,” said Ted Wentzel, spokesman for Markel American. “Many of those cost thousands of dollars but most cyclists didn’t have an opportunity to protect their bicycle with adequate insurance coverage. Our survey respondents also told us they needed protection for themselves with medical payments coverage and coverage for injuries they suffer when hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.”

Each policy is custom-built and can include Bicycle Physical Damage coverage protection for damage to the bicycle caused by collision, fire, theft, vandalism or hitting another object. In addition, coverage for spare parts, cycle apparel, rental reimbursement and competitive fee reimbursement is included at no additional cost.

Also available for purchase are Bicycle Liability coverage to cover injuries or property damage caused by the insured cyclist; Medical Payments to cover medical costs of the policyholder associated with a loss and Vehicle Contact Protection to provide an additional source of recovery for the insured cyclist if he/she is struck by a vehicle without adequate insurance. In addition, Roadside Assistance coverage is available to policyholders for only $10 per year. This coverage offers the cyclist 35 miles per tow and up to five tows per year.

“In most cases, if a cyclist has any coverage for their bicycle, it’s under their homeowner’s insurance which may have a high deductible,” Wentzel said. “Many cyclists also expressed reluctance to file a bicycle claim under their homeowner policy as they were afraid they’d see an increase in their homeowner’s insurance rates or even a non-renewal due to a bicycle claim. With Markel Cyclist, our customers will have the protection they need without jeopardizing their homeowner coverage.”

Markel Cyclist offers a variety of coverage levels and deductible options and is currently available in 36 states, including Wisconsin.

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