Insurance and VanMoof's Peace of Mind Theft
VanMoof bikes have a lot of built-in security features:
- An integrated wheel lock, the “Kick Lock”
- An alarm system which will sound if the bike is moved or tampered with
- Geographic tracking via GSM, Bluetooth, and Apple’s Find My network
These work together to solve one of the most frustrating parts of owning a bike: Finding somewhere suitable to lock it up. With these features, I can hop off the bike, tap the kick lock with my foot, and walk away – leaving the bike secure, anywhere.
For additional protection against theft, VanMoof offers the Peace of Mind Theft service (hereafter "PoM Theft") where they promise to recover a stolen bike within two weeks or send you a replacement.
This service has some limitations, however. Enough that I would not recommend it as a standalone insurance package. Instead, I'd recommend taking up dedicated cycling insurance for the broadest level of coverage, and consider PoM Theft as an optional extra – if the slightly increased coverage is useful to you.
Let me talk through that opinion of PoM Theft and recommendation in greater detail below.
Peace of Mind Theft Coverage
PoM Theft coverage will apply if:
- "The Theft Defence system was armed”
- “the Kick Lock was properly engaged”
- You have reported the theft to the police and have submitted a crime reference number to VanMoof within seven days of the theft
Requiring the Theft Defense system to be armed is tricky. If your bike runs out of battery or freezes up (a bug I briefly suffered), the Theft Defence system will be rendered inoperable, and you won't be covered.
See the Peace of Mind Theft section on VanMoof's support site for more details.
PoM Theft coverage does not apply to any accessories or equipment on the bike.
For example, if you have added any of the following to your bike:
- VanMoof's first-party Rear Carrier
- Pannier Bag
- Custom saddle
- Different disk brake rotors
- Bike computer
Such accessories will not be replaced if the bike is recovered and they are missing, or if VanMoof replaces the bike entirely.
You would be able to add accessories with a dedicated insurance provider. This which would cover you in most situations, but may or may not provide coverage when only using the Kick Lock. Review different insurance provider's Terms & Conditions to understand how their coverage applies to accessories.
There are mentions in the PoM marketing and support pages that suggest VanMoof will offer some level of coverage for any damage caused during a failed theft attempt. Those pages, nor their Terms and Conditions, do not make the extent of that coverage clear.
Damage would typically be covered by a dedicated insurance provider, either explicitly or under "Vandalism".
There are several exemptions in the PoM Terms and Conditions (Articles 4.6 and 4.7), where coverage will not apply even if you fulfil the above requirements.
A major one is that the service only covers up to 3 occurrences of theft.
After 3 thefts VanMoof will share access to your bike's tracking information, but they will no longer help recover or replace it.
Some other exceptions in the Terms and Conditions that worry me:
- “the effect of any virus, “back door”, “time bomb”, “Trojan horse”, “drop dead device” or malware on Your equipment”
- “unauthorized adjustment to or alteration of Your bike”
- “routine servicing or repairs by anyone not authorized by VanMoof”
VanMoof has told me they do not know of any thefts due to vulnerabilities or bugs in their software, but they have confirmed that PoM Theft would not apply if that were to happen.
I trust VanMoof will act in good faith concerning claims, but these exemptions in their Terms and Conditions do not give me confidence in PoM Theft as a sole form of insurance.
There are several scenarios in which theft could occur, which a typical insurance provider would cover:
- Bike stored at home
- Bike left alone, outside
- Bike stored in a secure communal area. E.g. at work
- Bike stored within a vehicle
Some of these will require the use of a lock that meets their security standards. For example, my insurance requires the use of a Solid Secure Gold compliant lock.
PoM Theft will cover most of these scenarios, but not all. In the case of a mugging, this could happen whilst you are in transit – in which case your bike will not be locked, or you could be forced to unlock the bike under threat of violence. In the case of storing the bike within a vehicle you likely won't have the bike locked, unless you want be deafened by its alarm.
For the broadest level of coverage, I recommend taking up insurance via a dedicated cycling insurance provider. Or check to see if your home insurance policy adequately covers your bike.
I see PoM Theft as an optional add-on that enables me to hop off & leave my bike in place for short stops, but at £318 for 3 years of coverage (equivalent to £9.12/mo) it's a fairly expensive add-on. Additionally, PoM Theft must be purchased alongside the bike; you can't add it on later.
VanMoof has a referral programme which offers a £100 discount on Peace of Mind or accessories alongside the purchase of a VanMoof bike. This would reduce the cost of PoM Theft to £218 for 3 years (equivalent to £6.06/mo), which is much more reasonable.
My VanMoof referral code is:
If you are interested in a UK insurance provider, I strongly recommend Laka. Their referral programme offers £25 credit for new customers. My Laka referral link is: https://my.laka.co/1I5UO