Motorcycle Theft and Insurance Coverage

Dealing With an Insurance Claim When Your Motorcycle is Stolen

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

Motorcycles can be easy and popular targets for thieves.

Unlike a car, motorcycles are fairly easy to move without having a key. Either the whole bike or the parts can be sold for a high profit.

A stolen bike is also less likely to be found than a stolen car. According to the NICB, the recovery rate of motorcycles was 44% in 2018. Cars, on the other hand, were found just over 59% of the time.

Key Takeaways

  • To get your motorcycle back, start by calling the police to report it as stolen.
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage can protect you from losses in cases of theft, but you'll be out of luck if your plan doesn't include it.
  • As with any insurance claim, you will have to pay the deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in.
  • To prevent theft, lock your motorcycle to something that doesn't move, install an alarm, or store your motorcycle out of sight.

Check Your Coverage

The claims process for motorcycle theft is a lot like that for a stolen car.

First, find out if you have comprehensive coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy. Comprehensive is the kind of coverage that will protect you in case of theft.

It is often bought along with liability while you are riding your bike, or as protection if you store your motorcycle. Without comprehensive coverage listed on an active motorcycle policy, you will not have coverage for theft. You'll have to rely on the police to make progress in finding your vehicle.

Call the Police Immediately

Make sure you call the police and file an incident report as soon as you can after you find out about the theft. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that your bike will be recovered.

Waiting gives criminals more time to move your stolen bike. Or, they may take it apart. These pieces and parts could be scattered far and wide.

File a Motorcycle Theft Claim

If you have comprehensive coverage on your plan, file your motorcycle theft claim as soon as you can. Contact your insurance company and have the information you will need ready. This will include:

  • Year, make, and model of your bike
  • The mileage
  • Where it was stolen from
  • Date and time it was stolen
  • Police report number

All theft claims need a police report to be filed.

You may also be asked for other information regarding your bike. This might include:

  • If you still have the keys
  • If you own the title
  • What the motorcycle looks like
  • If anyone else had access to it
  • If you had any personal property on the bike when it was taken

If you're financing or leasing the motorcycle, your insurer isn't the only one you need to call. You should also let your financing company know about the theft.

Questions to Ask When You File Your Claim

As you go through the process of making your claim, you may be paired with a claims rep who will help you.

Be sure you understand the claim process. Ask specific questions so you know what to expect and what you might need as your claim moves forward.

How Long Will the Claim Take?

Theft claims can take time to process. The insurance company is hoping tje police will find your stolen bike.

Ask the claims rep how long you should expect the process to take. They should regularly update you on the status of your claim.

What Will the Payout Be?

Custom motorcycle equipment can cost thousands of dollars. The more paperwork you have on your bike's custom equipment, the smoother your claims process will be.

Gather all of your photos and receipts for your motorcycle to give to the claims adjuster. Most motorcycle policies start with a low limit for custom equipment. This is often around $3,000.

Have you had done major customization to your motorcycle? You'll need to have those amounts reflected in your policy before the insurance company will pay you for them.

What Paperwork Needs to Be Filled Out?

A stolen and unrecovered bike is considered a total loss. Therefore, the insurance company will need the physical title to your motorcycle.

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, you'll need to have gap insurance to cover the difference. Otherwise, you will have to pay for it yourself.

Do You Know Your Deductible?

Comprehensive coverage on motorcycles often has a deductible. Some insurance carriers, though, offer an extra benefit, called a disappearing, diminishing, or vanishing deductible.

This reduces your deductible after every consecutive period without claims. It is an optional type of coverage. You will have to request this coverage and pay extra money to get it.

Check with your agent, customer service representative, or your declaration page to see what your comprehensive deductible is on your motorcycle. If your theft claim turns into a total loss claim, the deductible is simply subtracted from the payout amount.

You will not need to pay the deductible to the insurance company yourself.

Recovering Your Motorcycle

Your stolen bike may be found but damaged. In this case, comprehensive coverage will take care of the cost of repairs minus your deductible.

Sometimes, a bike is found after you have gone through the entire claims process of a total loss. In this case, the insurance company will be the owner of the motorcycle. This is because you transferred your title during the claims process.

If your stolen motorcycle is found after your claim is completed, you may be able to buy it back from the insurance company. Ask your insurance adjuster.

Tips to Prevent Theft

No one wants to be a victim of theft. You might not be able to prevent it, but you can take steps to reduce the chances of your bike being stolen.

Lock your ignition, forks, or disc brakes. Make sure any installed locks leave little or no room for cutting tools. Always lock your bike to something that can't move to make it harder to steal.

It's also smart to install an alarm. And if you can, you should park or store your motorcycle out of sight.

Comprehensive is almost always a good choice when it comes time to purchase insurance. Even if you take steps to prevent motorcycle theft, knowing you have your motorcycle insurance to cover you as a last resort can provide peace of mind.