Motorcycle Theft and Insurance

Dealing With a Stolen Motorcycle After the Shock Wears Off

Motorcycle club on Highway 101
••• Tegra Stone Nuess / Getty Images

Motorcycles can be easy prey for a professional thief. When taking into consideration the portability of motorcycles and the potential money made from parting it out, it is no wonder motorcycles are at high risk of theft. Unlike a car, motorcycles are fairly easy to move without having a key. According to the NICB, the recovery rate of motorcycles is much lower than other road vehicles. Only 25 to 30 percent of motorcycles are recovered, whereas cars are located 60 to 65 percent of the time.

Motorcycle Theft Coverage

The claims process for a motorcycle theft is very similar to a stolen car. First, you need to determine if you have purchased comprehensive coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy. Comprehensive is the coverage purchased for when your motorcycle is in storage to protect against this exact scenario, theft. It is also commonly purchased along with liability while you are riding your motorcycle. Without comprehensive listed on an active motorcycle policy, you will not have coverage and will need to hope that the police make progress in finding your vehicle.

First Call The Police

The longer you wait, the less likely it is that your motorcycle will be recovered. Waiting only gives the criminals more time to move your stolen bike farther and farther away. Make sure you call the police and file an incident report as soon as you are in a safe location.

File Motorcycle Theft Claim

Assuming you have the appropriate comprehensive coverage on your policy, you need to file your motorcycle theft claim as soon as possible. Information needed to file the claim includes year make model and mileage of your motorcycle, location it was stolen from, date and time it was stolen, and police report number. All theft claims require a police report to be filed.

Questions to Ask the Claims Adjuster

The answers to all of these questions will depend on the specifics of your individual insurance policy, but here are some general answers:

How Long Will It Take to Finalize the Claim?

Theft claims can take a lot of time to process. For one, the insurance company if hopeful police will recover your stolen bike. A standard allotted time for recovery is 30 days.​

How Will You Calculate the Payout?

Motorcycles also can have thousands of dollars of custom equipment. The more documentation you have on custom equipment, the smoother your claims process. Gather all of your photos and receipts for your motorcycle to give to the claims adjuster. Most motorcycle policies automatically include a low limit for custom equipment. If you have done major customization to your motorcycle, hopefully, you have increased your accessory coverage.

What Paperwork Needs to Be Filled Out?

The title will need to be signed over to the insurance company. If you have a loan, the bank will also need to sign off on it. If you owe more than the actual cash value of the bike, hopefully, you have gap insurance to cover the difference.

Do You Know Your Deductible?

Comprehensive coverage on motorcycles often comes with a deductible. However, more and more insurance carriers are offering disappearing or vanishing deductibles if you go a year or more without a claim. It is considered an extra bells and whistles type coverage, but when it comes to motorcycles, it could be automatically built into your policy.

Currently, Allstate, Nationwide, Progressive, and Safeco all offer reductions in deductibles and more companies are coming out with the option. One important reminder on reduced deductibles is usually you have to request the coverage and pay additional money to get it. Check with your agent, customer service representative, or your declaration page to see what your deductible on comprehensive is on your motorcycle. If your motorcycle theft claim turns into a total loss claim, meaning the bike goes unrecovered, the deductible will be subtracted from the payoff amount. You will not need to pay the deductible to the insurance company physically.

Motorcycle Theft With Recovery

As mentioned earlier, odds of your stolen motorcycle being recovered are not in your favor. If it is recovered with damages, comprehensive coverage will cover the cost of repairs minus your deductible. If the bike is recovered after you have gone through the entire claims process of a total loss, the insurance company will be the owner of the motorcycle. An option for you to buy it back might be a possibility if you ask your insurance adjuster.

Motorcycle theft is not something you ever want to encounter. Many motorcycles hold their value very well. Comprehensive is almost always a good choice when it comes time to purchase insurance. Do whatever you can to prevent motorcycle theft in the first place and know you have your motorcycle insurance to cover you as a last resort.