Motorcycle Theft and Insurance

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), in America a motorcycle is stolen every 9.5 minutes. The recovery rate of stolen motorcycles is a dismal 25% – 30%, compared to 60% – 65% for automobiles. The good news, although there was a nominal increase of 0.3% in motorcycle sales from 2010 to 2011, motorcycle thefts decreased 6%.

Motorcycles, because of their portability, are more easily stolen than cars, and the return on investment from parting out a stolen bike is very high

According to the NICB data, motorcyclists most at risk at having their two-wheeler stolen are Honda owners residing in California who like ride on Mondays and Tuesdays during the warmest months of July and August. However, the difference in thefts in relation to the day of the week is only 1% (15% for Mondays and Tuesdays vs. 14% for the rest of the days of the week). May, June and September are within 2% of July and August, while Yamaha is within 5% of Honda. The only major contributing factor is geographical, with Texas and Florida, the states with the second and third most-stolen motorcycles, respectively, enjoying nearly 2,000 less motorcycles stolen annually.

Motorcycles, because of their portability, are more easily stolen than cars, and the return on investment from parting out a stolen bike is very high and, therefore, very desirable. So what do you do to protect your beloved?

Let’s begin with the (mostly) free stuff:

Park your bike inside. If a garage is unavailable, park in a secure, well-lit area and blanket the motorcycle with a nondescript cover.
When parking in public always lock both the ignition and front fork.
Check your bike frequently.
Use a high-quality lock to secure the bike to a stationary object or another motorcycle. Remember, wheels can easily be removed, so route your lock through the frame if possible.
Consider an anti-theft alarm or a recovery device such as LoJack.
And for the conspiracy theorists, vary your routes and routines to prevent being followed.

In addition to these procedures, purchase insurance, specifically comprehensive insurance. If your steed is stolen and not recovered within 30 days, comprehensive coverage from your insurer will pay the current market value of your motorcycle less your policy’s deductible.

Following the shock of discovering your motorcycle’s been stolen, here’s what to do:

First and foremost, file a stolen vehicle report with your local law enforcement.
Next, call your insurance company and report the stolen bike to them.

When speaking with your insurance adjuster, be sure to make these inquiries:

What paperwork are you required to fill out and submit?
Don’t wait for the police to send a report to your insurance company. When available go to the police department, ask for a copy of the report then immediately send it to the insurance company.
How is the value of the motorcycle calculated?
Hopefully you have receipts, photos and/or other documentation regarding aftermarket equipment that increases the motorcycle’s value. Most insurers will offer $3,000 to $5,000 worth of accessories coverage at no additional cost.
How long will it take to finalize the claim and receive payment?
A follow-up question is asking how you can help expedite the process.

The motorcycle becomes the property of the insurance company after the claims process has been completed and a signed title submitted. If the motorcycle is recovered following all this, there is a possibility of purchasing the motorcycle from the insurance company.

Lucas Cooney
Lucas Cooney

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