There’s good news for motorcycle owners. National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) data shows that U.S. motorcycle thefts have been trending downward for the past several years. That mirrors similar drops in automobile thefts. Regrettably, the statistics for recovery of bikes that are stolen don’t compare. While 65 to 70 percent of stolen automobiles are eventually recovered, motorcycle recovery rates average between 25 and 30 percent. Here’s what you can do to safeguard your bike and help lower your motorcycle insurance premiums.
Motorcycles are easier to steal than cars. Don’t make it a no-brainer by leaving your keys in the ignition. Park in a well-lit area, preferably in a garage, and take your keys with you.
Lock your bike even when it’s in storage. Your goal is to make it as inconvenient as possible for thieves to make off with your motorcycle.
Turn on your alarm system. A passive alarm isn’t the most effective deterrent, but it can’t hurt.
Invest in an electronic alarm system. This will greatly increase the odds that you’ll get your bike back in one piece if it is stolen. It may also help you qualify for a discount motorcycle insurance quote.
Most stolen motorcycles end up in chop shops where they are stripped for parts. Frequently these components are chromed to obscure identifying marks and used to build a “custom” bike. Many stolen parts also make their way to swap meets, online auctions and classified ads. Maybe it sounds idealistic, but if people didn’t buy stolen parts, the market for them would dry up and vehicle theft would drop dramatically. Set a good example. Don’t buy stolen parts.
Many stolen bikes are stripped and reassembled from stolen parts. Before you purchase a used motorcycle, research the title, ask to see the maintenance record, get an expert appraisal and an insurance policy pre-inspection first.
Of all the motorcycle makes available, just five account for over 80% of all thefts: Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Harley-Davidson. Think about buying a less attractive brand. (Okay, that’s probably not going to fly with most motorcycle enthusiasts, but if you’re just looking for transportation, it’s worth considering.)
If you don’t have a garage, give some thought to renting space in a secure parking structure. This may help you get cheaper motorcycle insurance.
If your bike is tricked out with hundreds of dollars worth of after-market embellishments, don’t flaunt it. Buy a cover, preferably one that can be secured with a cable and lock.