According to National Insurance Crime Bureau statistics, motor vehicle thefts are on the rise, and among the vehicles being targeted are motorcycles. And, only 25% to 30% of motorcycles are recovered after theft.
Thieves steal motorcycles to resell the whole bike or to strip it down and sell the parts. Because motorcycles are small and relatively easy to move, they are particularly vulnerable to theft. Smart thieves will probably find a way to steal your bike if they really want it, but you can protect your investment and make your motorcycle less appealing to a thief.
Keep Your Bike Out of Sight
The best bet is to keep your motorcycle in a locked garage. For some people, this might not be an option. If you have to keep your bike parked outside, start by keeping it in a well-lit area and out of direct view from the street. It should be covered with a plain cover that is free of logos or brand names. If the thief can't tell what type of motorcycle is underneath, they may be more inclined to pass it over. In addition, keep the cover locked to the bike with a cable lock. However, this won't prevent a thief from picking up the whole bike and taking it, cover and all. That's why it is important to use this in conjunction with other security measures.
Lock Your Bike to a Stationary Object
Even if you have your bike in a locked garage when not in use, it is a good idea to also have it locked to something immovable. One method would be to cement a steel eye to the floor to put a chain or cable through. When using a chain or cable lock, be sure to loop it through the frame or another stable part of the bike. When you're out riding and leave your bike parked outside, always use your steering lock - this is your first step of defense. In addition, use two or more locks of different types. If possible, park your bike where you can see it and check on it periodically.
Make Good Lock Choices
When choosing locks, it's not a good idea to spare expense. Choose good locks. Types of locks include serpentine link locks, u-locks, cable locks and chains. Record key numbers and then file them off the locks if they are stamped on them. Locks attached to your bike should not touch the ground. If a lock is lying on the ground, it is easier for a thief to use a hard item to pound the lock until it breaks. Even if you keep your motorcycle in a locked garage, look around to make sure you're not providing a thief with the tools to dismantle your locks. There are usually a lot of tools in a garage and with time and determination, a thief will be able to remove the locks from your bike.
There are several new mechanical devices that can help ensure you'll find your bike where you left it. Many dealers are now selling motorcycles with alarms as a standard feature, as well as similar anti-theft devices. An alarm alone is not an effective deterrent, but in combination with other methods, a wailing alarm is liable to make a thief think twice. Even if your motorcycle isn't equipped with an alarm, you can get stickers that say that there is an alarm installed and put them on your bike. You can also purchase anti-prying devices, pick-resistant mechanisms or you can install one or more kill switches to make the motorcycle impossible to start.
The best way to protect your motorcycle from theft is to use common sense. Don't leave the keys in the ignition or anywhere within close proximity to the bike. Make sure that you choose the safest places possible to park or store your bike. And don't lock your bike down to something that can easily be moved or broken.
Insure Your Investment
In addition to doing what you can to protect your motorcycle, it's important that you have the right insurance. Look for an insurance policy that offers the coverages that are important to your specific bike and lifestyle. If you think your motorcycle is adequately covered when you add it through an endorsement on your homeowners policy, chances are you're mistaken… a lesson that you don't want to learn first-hand come claim time.
Important things to look for when choosing a specialized insurance policy for your motorcycle are things like:
- Safety Apparel Coverage to protect your investment in helmets, leathers, gloves and any other clothing designed to minimize injury in the event of an accident.
- Optional Equipment Coverage for chroming, custom painting, side cars or anything else that was not included as standard by the manufacturer.
- Optional Towing and Roadside Assistance in case your bike breaks down and can't be ridden when you're away from home or you run out of gas, get a flat or have mechanical issues.
- A Diminishing Deductible so that each year you're insured without a paid loss, your deductible for Collision and/or Other Than Collision coverage will be reduced.
- First-Accident Waiver so if you're in an accident and are at fault, that accident won't be taken into account on your future premium amounts.
- Optional Replacement Cost Coverage on bikes purchased new.
- Flexible payment plans so you can choose the plan that best fits your budget.
- Deductible and coverage limit options.
- Premium discounts.
The AARP Motorcycle Insurance Program from Foremost offers all of these important coverages and more. Foremost has been in the specialty insurance business for over 60 years and we understand that you want to protect your investment. Foremost has specially-trained claims representatives that handle only motorcycle and off-road vehicle claims — it's not just one of the things they do, it's all they do. We have the experience and expertise to handle claims quickly and fairly.