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Motorcycle Theft and Your Insurance

Motorcycle Theft and Your Insurance

Motorcycle theft is common problem in cities across the United States. One theft claim can raise your motorcycle insurance rates and can potentially cost you a great deal of money out of pocket, especially if you’ve put a lot into custom parts.

Learn some of the major reasons why motorcycles are a major theft target, how motorcycle theft can impact your insurance rates, and ways to help prevent your bike from being stolen.

Your Motorcycle: A Target for Thieves

Several factors contribute to the pervasiveness of motorcycle theft.

First, a motorcycle is attractive for two main reasons:

  • They can be sold for major profit as whole vehicles or for parts.
  • They are often equipped with expensive aftermarket parts, which increases their value.

Second, a motorcycle is easier to steal than most cars. Whereas many cars are equipped with anti-theft devices, motorcycles typically don’t have the same features that prevent theft. Bikers rely mostly on locks to prevent theft.

Third, many of the newer models start by remote, allowing thieves to fire the ignition immediately with minimal fuss.

Seasonal Considerations

Motorcycles are seasonal modes of transportation for many riders, meaning bikes are more present (and subsequently more prone to theft) during the summer months.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), in 2012, the month of July had the highest number of stolen motorcycles, with 5,529 thefts reported in the U.S. June and August had slightly fewer instances.

February saw the lowest number of stolen bikes, with just over 2,000 thefts.

States like Florida, Texas, and California see the most instances of bike theft due to their warm climates.

Recovery Rates

The recovery rate is unfortunately low for stolen motorcycles. While the NICB reports that in 2012 the recovery rate for all vehicles increased, the rate for motorcycles remained relatively low, peaking at 39%, compared to 53.9% for passenger vehicles.

Commonly Stolen Bikes

Not surprisingly, there are some bikes that are bigger targets than others for thieves. Bikes that have very powerful engines and whose parts can be sold off for high profit are highly valued by thieves.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most commonly stolen motorcycle make is Honda. The next most commonly stolen makes are:

  • Yamaha.
  • Suzuki.
  • Kawasaki.
  • Harley-Davidson.

The Effect of a Claim on Your Motorcycle Insurance

When you report a theft claim to your auto insurance company, your insurance rate can be immediately impacted.

Even though your policy may cover theft, submitting a claim could turn you into a “high-risk” policyholder. As a result, your insurance premium may rise.

As always, your rates will depend on your insurer and the type of policy you hold.

Which Coverage Protects Me?

In order to fully protect you and your motorcycle, you must obtain the right motorcycle insurance coverage.

For many riders, comprehensive coverage is the optimum choice because it helps cover the cost of replacement due to theft. Furthermore, if you decide to make any aftermarket enhancements on your bike, you might also consider purchasing custom parts and equipment coverage. Comprehensive will only cover the original bike and its parts, but will not cover aftermarket additions.

To be completely protected in case of theft, you will need to obtain custom parts and equipment coverage and report the exact amounts for all custom parts to your insurance company.

To learn more, visit our Comprehensive Physical Damage Insurance for Motorcycles page.

Preventing Motorcycle Theft

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), the first step in preventing motorcycle theft is locking the ignition and removing the key.

The MSF also provides the following additional tips to keep your bike safe:

  • Obtain large, brightly colored tagged locks to lock your disc brakes or forks.
  • Ensure your motorcycle is locked to a stationary object that cannot be easily moved.
  • Install an alarm with a loud noise.

Whenever you travel, make sure the bike is either parked near your room or in the garage right by the security camera. If you keep your bike in a garage while at home, always make sure the door is closed and locked.

Lastly, always keep your registration and other important documents with you rather than in the bike, and be very careful about giving away any personal information.

Taking basic preventative measures can prevent you from becoming a victim.