Your Questions About the OCA’s Insurance Options for Members, Answered

By Molly Hurford

Insurance can be a tricky thing to understand, and between pandemic-related concerns and the fact that the Ontario Cycling Association insurance policies differ between clubs and unaffiliated individual members, it can get confusing. Being an OCA member is about more than just racing: Here’s the breakdown of what Ontario Cycling members need to know about their insurance.

On a sanctioned club ride or at a race? You’re covered.

If you’re part of a local cycling club that’s affiliated with the OCA (and you’ve made sure that your personal OCA membership is up to date), you can take part in club rides and events. If you do end up injured on a sanctioned group ride, you’re covered automatically—your insurance kicks in after Ontario Provincial health care and any benefits you get from coverage at work are exhausted. And remember, covering your accident doesn’t just mean your emergency medical bills from that day: It can include reimbursement for dental and for things like physical therapy.

You can buy extra insurance for yourself

If you’re a cyclist who trains outdoors regularly, it’s worth being an OCA member even if you have no intention of racing or joining a club, if you buy the inexpensive insurance add-on. As an OCA member, you can also opt in to buy add-on insurance through the OCA’s insurance provider, Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited that will cover you for any individual training ride you’re on, for only $25 (plus CCN Fees) for the year. (The enrollment information for this is coming soon for members, but keep an eye on the Insurance Page for more info.)

Doing a ride or race? Check if it’s sanctioned

It’s important to note that the OCA policies are only in place for sanctioned and approved activities, which includes club rides, club training, activities, competitions, and races. Remember that a lot of the larger charity rides (Ride to Conquer Cancer, for instance) are not sanctioned by the OCA, nor are they covered by the extended policy. You can check the OCA Event Calendar   to make sure that your upcoming event is covered.

You should always fill out an accident report

Here’s the deal: If you get hurt on a sanctioned ride or at a race, you (or your club’s person-in-charge) should fill out an accident report and send it to the OCA. Even if you just had a small skid that resulted in a bit of road rash, it’s worth filling out the form and submitting it, since there’s always a chance that later, you could realize that the crash was more serious than you initially thought. This is especially critical when thinking about concussions, which may not have symptoms for quite some time. Remember, this isn’t like personal auto insurance where you might be tempted to skip reporting an incident to avoid a rise in your cost of insurance: You won’t end up with a higher premium as a result of reporting a crash!

“The timely submission of an accident report benefits everybody. It creates a record of the incident which allows the OCA to properly gather all necessary information, and also helps the claim process run more smoothly in the event the incident does become a claim,” says Brent Brandham, Vice President at Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited. “Even if only one out of twenty reports actually becomes a claim, having the data around all injuries and incidents allows OCA and their risk management partners to better ensure the safety of riders at future events.” (You can  download the accident report form right here .)

At an event and hurt? Tell someone.

As a rider, your job is to make sure that the accident report does get filled out. If you’re at a sanctioned race or ride and you get hurt, let someone in charge know right away so that they can fill out the accident report and send it in (you can ask to be CCed on the submission if you’re worried it won’t get sent). Having that record keeps your options open when it comes to filing a claim later.

Get your claims in quickly

Through the OCA insurance policy, you’re covered for 52 weeks from the date of your injury, but claims need to be filed sooner than that. File your accident report ASAP, and make sure that you also file your insurance claim within 90 days of the injury. While most people will apply for insurance reimbursement quickly, especially for bigger ticket items like major emergency care bills, some people tend to wait until they’re doing taxes or some other year-end accounting. This is especially true of smaller bills, like those for physical therapy or sports medicine follow-up appointments—but don’t wait or you could miss out on getting them reimbursed! (You can find the insurance claim form here)

COVID-19 is not covered—but that’s OK for clubs and races

Your OCA insurance will not cover COVID-19 claims. That’s because if an event—whether it’s a club clinic, ride, or race—happens, it’s happening in accordance with government health directives around COVID-19. “This year, you’re going to see small group rides that are really spaced out, and a rebirth of time trial format races,” says Christopher Baskys, OCA Membership Manager.

If you are running an event as a club, make sure that you’re up to date on current COVID-19 policies in the province, sharing your risk management plan, and are you’re following those guidelines during your event. As an individual member, make sure that you’re doing your part, maintaining proper social distancing space, wearing your mask when needed, regularly washing your hands, and of course, staying home if you’re sick. We’re in this together!

Travel insurance is available as well

When traveling out of the country becomes an option again, there are travel insurance options available through the Canadian Athlete Insurance Program (CAIP) that can cover your riding in a way that many average travel insurance packages will not. (You can download the enrollment forms here)

About the writer:

Molly Hurford is a journalist in love with all things cycling, running, nutrition and movement-related. When not outside, she’s writing about being outside and healthy habits of athletes and interviewing world-class athletes and scientists for The Consummate Athlete podcast and website, and most recently launched the book ‘Becoming A Consummate Athlete.‘ She’s the author of multiple books including the Shred Girls, a young adult fiction series and online community focused on getting girls excited about bikes. Molly is a little obsessed with getting people psyched on adventure and being outside, and she regularly hosts talks and runs clinics for cyclists and teaches yoga online and IRL… And in her spare time, the former Ironman triathlete now spends time tackling long runs and rides on trails or can be found out hiking with her mini-dachshund DW and husband, cycling coach and kinesiologist Peter Glassford.

To read previously released blogs:  OCA BLOG