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How digital bike theft insurance can help you sell more e-bikes

Cycling is set to overtake driving in the next decade, and European bike retailers are capitalising on the trend – especially when it comes to e-bikes. But many companies are losing customers by not providing bike theft insurance.
Words by
Alex Vickery
Time to read
8 minutes
Last updated
March 31, 2022
In a nutshell
  • More Europeans are buying bikes – particularly e-bikes – and buying them online.
  • The risk of theft can deter customers from purchasing an e-bike.
  • Provide your customers with e-bike theft insurance and increase sales.
  • Qover offers digitally embedded insurance across Europe.

Europeans across the continent are buying more bikes than ever before. According to the European Cyclists’ Federation, bike sales are expected to reach 30 million per year by 2030 – more than double the number of passenger cars. And e-bikes are leading the charge, with a 23% increase in sales between 2019 and 2020.

The pandemic has only accelerated this trend – we’ve seen major cities like Brussels and Barcelona respond with expanded bike lanes and updated mobility plans. As an increasing number of customers invest in more expensive bikes, they demand better protection – particularly when it comes to theft.

E-bikes are a major target for thieves, which makes a lot of buyers nervous about purchasing one. But by offering pan-European theft protection, you can alleviate your customers’ fears, tap into a new market and increase online bike conversions.

Man looking at online e-bike insurance on his phone
As more customers invest in e-bikes, they demand better protection – particularly when it comes to theft.

Bike sales in Europe continue to increase – with e-bikes leading the way

Bikes are more than just an option, they’re a necessity. As sustainability becomes a priority for consumers, many have turned to cycling as their primary mode of transport. And this is having a profound effect on the demand for e-bikes.

According to a report by bike part manufacturer Shimano, almost one in four Europeans either already owns an electric bike or is likely to buy one this year. And over a quarter of young adults ages 18–24 say they’re likely to start using an e-bike because they’re concerned about the environmental impact of their travel.

But environmental impact isn’t the only reason more and more Europeans are turning to two-wheeled electric transport. Improved health benefits are a prime reason, including the ability to increase their distance traveled and tackle steep hills. This opens the door for new markets like families and the elderly who bike for leisure purposes, in addition to travel or commuting.

‘The use of e-bikes is an important part of active mobility in Europe,’ said Jill Warren, Co-CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation. ‘E-bike sales continue to grow rapidly and e-bikes are fast becoming the option of choice for millions of commuters, travellers and recreational cyclists.’

Not only are people buying more bikes, but they’re buying them online. Increasingly connected customers expect a seamless digital experience – a one-stop shop where they can get everything they need. And online bike insurance that’s embedded into your store is an essential part of that package.

Risk of theft prevents customers from buying bikes

Electric bikes are a big investment, and their high cost makes them particularly attractive to thieves. In fact, Dutch research institute Bureau Beke found that while bike theft has actually decreased in the Netherlands, the financial damage of stolen bikes remains high as e-bikes become more of a target.

This can put further strain on the customer journey. According to Shimano’s report, the cost of an e-bike is the biggest barrier to purchasing – and being vulnerable to damage or theft can further deter people from buying one. So once customers have overcome the cost hurdle, it’s crucial to provide that extra reassurance in the form of e-bike insurance. 

According to a survey by anti-theft company AlterLock, 80% of respondents across the UK, Germany and the Netherlands reported being anxious about bike theft – with over half having experienced it in their lifetime. And for many people who rely on their bike as a primary mode of transportation, their worst nightmare is having it stolen.

This trend is even more relevant for retailers shipping to large cities, where stolen bikes are a daily occurrence. In locations like Paris, London, Copenhagen and Berlin, our partners often face push back from potential customers, both in online and offline sales.

‘We have people in our shops on a daily basis telling us how much they would love to ride our bikes if theft were not such a big risk in their eyes,’ explains one bike manufacturer.

This hesitancy applies to first-time purchasers as well as seasoned cyclists. Of those who have experienced bike theft before, over 70% report never getting their bike back. This can discourage people from making such an investment again, leading to customer churn or some to even give up cycling altogether. Imagine if you could help your customers replace their stolen bike.

With Qover’s bike theft insurance, you can. As part of our promise, you can provide an optional voucher for policyholders to receive a new bike in your store. And according to a recent survey we ran, 94% of bike theft victims would buy a bike from the same brand if reimbursed through our insurance.

Bottom line: don’t let the fear of bike theft negatively impact your conversions. When bike retailers offer full theft protection, consumers feel more comfortable purchasing from them.

Cowboy offers embedded theft insurance for its e-bikes at checkout
Most customers prefer purchasing insurance with their bike.

Protect customers with bike theft insurance, increase revenue

The main sources of revenue for bike retailers are sales and maintenance. But digital insurance has untapped potential as a value-added service.

When given the option, most buyers prefer purchasing their bike and insurance at the same time – and by bundling it together in the same payment, you can secure the conversion. In fact, our partners see more than half of their customers choose insurance at checkout. 

Offering bundled theft protection reassures most customers and unlocks new demand pools by appealing to otherwise risk-averse buyers – creating a substantial new revenue stream for our partners.

‘We want to unburden [our] customers,’ said Veloretti COO & CFO Jitse Rupp. ‘Insurance is an important add-on that can help reassure customers when buying an expensive bike. It could be that extra nudge when deciding to buy it!’

Since your company receives a commission on every contract sold, you’ll see instant results with minimal effort – all while gaining a competitive advantage in the market. With high commissions that are not subject to VAT, you can effortlessly increase margins and diversify income. And with a 60% conversion rate, that’s close to a 1% gain in net revenue – tax-free – on all your bike sales.

Plus, if you’ve been affected by supply chain delays like many other retailers, offering theft insurance is a great way to boost revenue without having to rely on inventory.

So not only can you expect a boost in sales and revenue, but giving your customers peace of mind shows that you care about their safety and wellbeing – upping the lifetime value of your product. This has a domino effect on overall customer experience: added value leads to a glowing review, which in turn grows your client base.

In today’s marketplace, consumer trust is everything. You can gain that trust and increase customer loyalty by having your riders’ backs.

Offer a digital, pan-European insurance solution

Buying a bike is a long emotional process; buyers can take months to decide which e-bike they want to buy and from which retailer. Insurance, on the other hand, is a short functional process that starts at purchase. 

At Qover, we know that online consumers are looking for a simple, straightforward buying experience. Anything less can cause them to go to another retailer.

That’s why we provide a one-click solution – customers choose their preferred plan at checkout, with the option to expand for more details. Plus, we make our coverage, pricing and conditions clear and easy to understand so that buyers know exactly what they’re getting with your product. The end result is a reassuring and convenient experience for your customers – which empowers our 95% customer satisfaction rate.

We’ve already empowered fast-growing companies like Cowboy and Angell through end-to-end digital insurance solutions that not only fit into their online user experience, but also suit their riders’ needs in various countries.

Our next-generation bike insurance includes theft and material damage protection, as well as emergency support or compensation. We take care of the entire process – from fast and easy claims processing to 24/7 customer assistance across multiple languages and channels – so that you can focus on what matters most. 

What’s more, our simple API integration is plug-and-play, meaning that our insurance solution can be easily embedded into any app or online store. And we took it one step further with a flexible omni-channel solution: customers can buy a plan entirely online, select one in store or even choose one later with a digital voucher code. We go above and beyond to make sure that buyers have a frictionless experience – anywhere in Europe.

Our pan-European solution covers multiple countries, while still complying with local insurance regulations. So no matter where you operate, sell or ship to, we offer an embedded solution that works for your business to make sure that cyclists are protected against theft in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France and beyond.

We’re licensed to operate in 32 countries, and already insure thousands of riders across the continent. If your business would like to come along for the ride, we’d be happy to see what we can do for you. 

Insurance should be as easy as riding a bike. It’s as simple as that.

Get in touch with us to learn more.