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Bike Thefts On The Rise

Dec 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many areas of our lives. And it seems bike usage and ownership has been one of them; with sales of bikes soaring in 2020.

Unfortunately, thieves are also looking to take advantage of this increased interest in cycling with many warnings being issued about increased bike thefts.

Why are bike thefts on the rise?

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic saw demand for bikes rocket. The Guardian report bike sales grew by 60% in April 2020, one of the first months of lockdown.

A recent Bike Association Report also shows that this trend has held throughout the pandemic. Their report ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on the UK Cycling Market in 2020shows retailers have seen 60% growth in sales of bikes and that sales of e-bikes have more than doubled.

This significant rise in demand has also led to a shortage of bikes. With many factories worldwide closed during the peak of the pandemic, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with increased demand.  The Bike Association report also highlights increasing prices of bikes in 2020.

With demand outstripping supply, there is unfortunately an opportunity for crime. There is a big market for bikes which is being exploited by criminals. High demand means stolen bikes can easily and quickly be resold online.

Recent bike theft statistics

The Bike Register are warning of a spike in bike thefts. Their data reveal a significant rise in bike theft from June 2020. At around the point that lockdowns started to lift across the UK.

June 2020 figures alone show a 48% increase in bike thefts reported to the Bike Register compared to June 2019.

Whilst Urban Jungle reported a 125% increase in bike thefts in the past 3 months leading up to October 2020.  These figures reached as high as 129% in London. And analysis around the figures reveal preplanning and organised crime are at the heart of the increase.

What to keep in mind when insuring your bike against bike theft

With this increase in bike theft in mind it has never been more important to ensure you have the right insurance in place to protect your bike.

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to insuring your bike include:

Is your bike covered under your home insurance?

Don’t just assume that your bike will be automatically covered under your home contents insurance. Many insurers don’t include this cover as standard and will expect you to select bicycle cover when taking out your policy.

This means if you have purchased a bike in recent months and are hoping to cover it under an existing home insurance policy, you will need to get in touch with your insurer. You can do this either directly or through your broker. Check whether your bike is covered by your existing policy or whether you need to add additional cover.

Is your bike covered away from home?

You must check the exact cover that your home insurance policy provides for your bike. Some policies will only cover bikes when they are in the home – e.g if they are stolen from your home address.

Many policies do not automatically include cover for bikes when ‘out of the home’. It is important to check with your insurer whether your bike is covered against theft or damage when out of the home or if you need to add additional cover to your policy.

Do you need specialist insurance for high value bikes?

If your bike is worth a large amount of money, or you have a number of bikes then a standard home insurance policy may not provide sufficient cover.

Most home insurance policies set sum insured policy limits. For example, a single item limit will limit how much you can claim for one item. This may be set at £2,500 on a standard policy as an example. If your bike is worth more than this single item limit, then you will not be fully insured against losses relating to the item.

Equally a policy may set a collective total value that can be claimed for high-cost items such as bikes. If you have a number of bikes you need to ensure your policy’s limit is high enough to cover your collection as a whole.

You may need to consider specialist insurance such as a high net worth insurance policy which typically have higher sum insured amounts. Or in some cases a specialist bike insurance policy.

Other ways to protect your bike from theft

  • Invest in a good lock to secure your bike when you are out and about
  • When parking your bike when out and about try to choose a busy, well lit area as this can deter thieves
  • Store your bike in a secure location when at home. Inside a locked garage or shed for example
  • Register your bike with BikeRegister – This is a free to use service. Registering means your bike is added to their police approved database, you are provided with a security marking kit and a warning label to add to your bike to deter thieves
  • Check your insurance policy to make sure you adhere to all of the policy requirements when it comes to storing your bicycle. Not adhering to these can invalidate your insurance policy

At Anthony Jones we work with a wide range of insurers and can help you both with your home insurance needs as well as working with you to understand if your needs are better met by a high net worth insurance  policy. Get in touch with one of our personal insurance experts today on 020 8290 7776 or email us at personal@anthonyjones.com.

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