Markel American Insurance has spun off Markel Cyclist, a new bicycle insurance program designed to offer specialized protection for cyclists.

The underwriter claims that it has created the program with an aim to allow cyclists to create their own policy to match the way they ride, whether it may be riding for recreation, fitness or racing, Markel Cyclist allows customers to customize their policy to their unique needs.

Markel American Insurance marketing director Ted Wentzel said there are over 10 million bicycles sold each year.

"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," Wentzel added.

The policy provides protection against for damage to the bicycle caused by collision, fire, theft, vandalism or hitting another object.

It also facilitates coverage for spare parts, cycle apparel, rental reimbursement and competitive fee reimbursement without adding a single penny to the policy premium.

The policy is also equipped with bicycle liability coverage to cover injuries or property damage caused by the insured cyclist and 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 most cases, if a cyclist has any coverage for their bicycle, it’s under their homeowner’s insurance which may have a high deductible. With Markel Cyclist, our customers will have the protection they need without jeopardizing their homeowner coverage," Wentzel added.