We love our motorcycles for their ability to provide the feeling of freedom.
On two wheels, you can maneuver more nimbly than in a car, fit into tight spaces, and feel the wind in your hair. Motorcycles are lighter, faster, and (often) more fun than a standard-size motor vehicle.
But for these same reasons, it's not uncommon for enterprising motorcycle thieves to take your personal property and sell it for quick cash.
There may be nothing more devastating for a motorcycle owner than leaving their front door for a ride only to see their brand-new motorbike missing from the driveway.
So what do you do when you are a victim of motorcycle theft?
We have some tips to share to keep your bike safe from wily bike thieves and what to do if your motorcycle disappears.
The best way to protect your ride is to be smart about where you leave it.
The safest place is always indoors.
Thievery is often opportunistic, and when thieves can't see a bike, they don’t see what to steal.
Parking inside often comes with the benefit of a lower rate on your motorcycle insurance policy since you are less likely to be the target of motorcycle theft.
If you must park outdoors, it is recommended to park in a visible location with a security camera that can provide security footage in case of a motorcycle jacking.
It's often best to treat this like you would a bicycle. Look for a bike rack, sign poles, or any other immovable object to which you can lock your bike.
A disc lock is another great addition to your security apparatus that will keep the thief from being able to ride away on your bike.
If you are a bike owner who needs to leave your ride outside, providing as much camouflage as possible is important.
Using a cheap, nondescript bike cover or tarp can confuse potential thieves, as branding can be a hat tip to what the motorcycle thieves might find underneath the cover.
Another way to possibly foil a bike thief is to install an anti-theft device like an alarm or hide a tracker inside the motorcycle.
Today you can find small tracking devices from Apple or Tile that should last for two years without needing to be charged and can be easily attached to your bike. You can use this to find a stolen motorcycle, perhaps even before it reaches the chop shop.
The last thing you need is to ensure that you have good pictures of your motorcycle.
These pictures should emphasize VIN numbers, custom parts, and any unique aspects that will help the police department identify it, among other bikes, and provide proof of ownership.
Before your bike is stolen, ensure that you have comprehensive coverage as part of your motorcycle insurance policy.
This will provide coverage so that you may not be forced to pay out of pocket for the value of your motorcycle.
The bottom line is that comprehensive insurance will make the claim much easier to deal with.
Once it's stolen, there are a few steps that you should take immediately.
Statistically, the longer your motorcycle is gone, the less likely you will get it back, so the first few hours are crucial.
Enlisting your friends and family to keep an eye out for your stolen motorcycle is clutch.
They might see it being ridden by someone else in another part of your neighborhood or city while you take care of a few other items.
To file a claim with your insurance company, you may need to have a police report.
In larger cities, thieves target multiple motorcycles at a time and take them to well-organized chop shops.
A police officer may be able to identify a pattern and locate where your bike is being held. Time is of the essence in investigations.
Settlements can take time, so the earlier you can file the report, the better.
As mentioned above, you might need a police report, crime number, and vehicle identification number alongside other proof of ownership.
So much documentation is necessary due to the volume of fraudulent motorcycle theft claims.
This can keep insurance claims adjusters busy.
Set up alerts for your motorcycle on major websites like Craigslist and eBay motors.
Setting up multiple keywords could tip you off to where your bike is being held if the thief lists it for sale.
It is also smart to speak to any local motorcycle and pawn shops that purchase used motorcycles, so they know if it is stolen.
If the police recover your stolen bike after you are paid out, the insurer will technically own it.
Many insurance companies will sell them back to the original owner, or you can keep the money.
Ultimately, the best way to deter a motorcycle thief is to take precautions ahead of time.
Be aware of where you park your bike, add anti-theft measures, and ensure you have motorcycle insurance coverage for theft.
If you are unsure of your current coverage status, contact our insurance specialists today and get a customized motorcycle insurance quote designed for your individual needs.