Where you live is one of the most important factors insurance companies use in determining your premium. Why? As with age, experience, the type of bike you ride and every other factor considered in computing your rate, where you live comes into the equation for one simple reason: risk.
Statistics show that some areas have higher crime rates than others. So if a higher crime rate equals a higher risk of damage to or loss of your property, it will cost you more to insure anything you own. And that includes your motorcycle. If your motorcycle resides in a location where statistics prove it’s at a greater risk for damage or theft, insurance companies are going to want you to pay a higher premium for coverage.
Overall, 2011 saw 46,667 motorcycle thefts in the US (including Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.), according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Interestingly, that number is down 6% from the prior year – welcome news, as the Motorcycle Industry Council says total motorcycle sales are on the rise, albeit slightly (0.3%).
The list below shows the Top 10 states with the highest rate of motorcycle theft in 2011 (Total number of thefts and most targeted brand in parentheses). Worth noting: these 10 states accounted for 25,983 thefts in 2011 – fully 56% of the total. If you’re trying to insure a bike in one of these states, expect to pay more. Still, experts say things like keeping your motorcycle garaged and hooking up a recovery system such as LoJack will have a positive effect on your premium.
10. Maryland (1445 – 2006 Suzuki)
NICB stats were non-specific as to which model of Suzuki was the most targeted in Maryland, but as you peruse this list you’ll notice many of the same brands listed time and again. Our best guess? The flashy Hayabusa.
9. Pennsylvania (1455 – 2007 Suzuki)
The Keystone State saw only 10 more thefts than did the twice-less-populated Maryland. It would appear the ‘Busa is a hot item on the Atlantic Seaboard.
8. New York (1460 – 2009 Yamaha)
Hey, it’s not a Suzuki at the top of New York’s list! You’ll notice there’s not a huge difference in the amount of thefts in spots 8 through 10. One important consideration is that these three states feature seasonally cold-weather climates, where year-round motorcycling is an option for only the hardiest of riders. Considering New York’s population (third in the country), theft occurrences are relatively low.
7. Georgia (1512 – 2006 Suzuki)
The website StolenMotorcyleRegistry.com lets riders register and track stolen bikes. Run by tech-savvy motorcyclists, it’s great resource for those who’ve had a bike stolen, or want to run a serial number before buying or selling a used bike.
6. South Carolina (1727 – 2007 Suzuki)
Suzuki again. DMV.org is another website with loads of useful info, including theft prevention and tracking VINs.
5. Indiana (2114 – 2008 Roketa)
The Roketa scooter is an huge draw for thieves in Indiana. The Motorcycle.com Brain Trust has no viable explanation for this phenomenon.
4. North Carolina (2466 – 2007 Honda)
With motorcycling attractions such as Tail of the Dragon and the Wheels Through Time Museum, North Carolina is a mecca for riders – for most of the year. If its weather were more consistently mild, we’d guess this number would be greater.
3. Florida (3927 – 2007 Honda)
Note the jump in number of thefts when the venue changes from seasonal states to a place like Florida, where year-round riding is a no-brainer. The fact that it’s the nation’s fourth-largest state certainly also plays a role in the number of thefts.
2. Texas (3950 – 2007 Honda)
The Lone Star State ranks behind only California in its population total, so its ranking on this list is predictable. And it’s another year-round riding hotspot, so increased ridership surely accounts for more bikes and, therefore, more targets for thieves.
1. California (5937 – 2007 Suzuki)
The state with the most registered motorcycles also led the nation in bike thefts. Of the total vehicles stolen in California in 2011, 4.2% were motorcycles.
Other interesting tidbits
The top 4 states listed above are the same, in the same order, as they were in 2005. Together, these five states accounted for 18,384 motorcycle thefts, or 39.3 percent of the total.
The states with the most motorcycle thefts in 2011 also had the highest recoveries rates: California (5,927 thefts and 2,279 recoveries); Texas (3,950 thefts and 1,135 recoveries); and Florida (3,927 thefts and 1,486 recoveries).
Just for fun, listed below are the bottom 10 states on the 2011 NCIB Motorcycle Theft list:
43. Idaho 126 Thefts
44. Rhode Island 107
45. New Hampshire 83
46. Maine 82
47. Montana 78
48. Alaska 63
49. Vermont 62
50. South Dakota 46
51. Wyoming 43
52. North Dakota 21