Registering your bicycle with the local police improves the likelihood of having your bike returned to you. Do you know if your bike is properly protected under your insurance policy? Keep reading to learn how a bicycle claim is handled, and how you can improve the experience.
Registering Your Bicycle - A Good Long-Term Decision
According to the FBI, a bicycle is stolen every 2.8 seconds in the United States and according to our local London Police Service, there were over 100 reported bicycle thefts in 2018!
Thieves recognize that bicycles are high-value items which are easy to pick up and move. Bicycle thefts are often targeted, but many are also crimes of opportunity when a bike is left unlocked or poorly secured.
Let’s face it — no locking system is perfect. Every time a new anti-theft device enters the market, thieves find a way to beat it. However, a strong and well-positioned bicycle lock is a good deterrent for those crimes of opportunity. You have the power to protect your bicycle as best you can. Unfortunately, those determined thieves may still beat your security system.
What does registering my bicycle mean and how do I do it?
If you're interested in better ensuring that your bicycle can be returned to you if it is recovered after being stolen - register it! You can do this at your local police department, or with a local bicycle shop. In the St. Thomas community, you can register your bicycle with the St. Thomas Police Service Bike Registration and in London, you can register your bicycle with the 529 Garage Bike Registry.
Registering your bicycle provides identifying information to the Police Service. They will ask for your bicycle’s serial number, a photo of your bicycle (especially helpful if there are unique features of your bicycle that have been added afterwards), and your contact information.
How many of us have the serial number of our bicycles tucked away ‘just in case’? Not many. Proactively providing police with the right information will allow them to return your bicycle to you quickly, should it be recovered.
How are bicycles handled under an insurance policy?
Bicycles are typically covered by your property insurance up to a certain limit. This limit is a dollar value cap that the insurance company agrees they can pay up to. If your bicycle is of high value, such as a specialty racing bicycle, or a bicycle with special modifications, then you will want to have your policy’s limits increased so that the insurance company will pay you the proper value of your bicycle if stolen.
You can make a claim on your property policy to cover the loss of your bicycle if it is stolen or damaged, but insurance is intended for large losses that you can’t afford to replace on your own.
If the cost of your deductible (the small amount you pay for the insurance company to cover the entirety of your claimed amount), is higher than the value of the bicycle, it may not be worth using your insurance to cover this claim. However, if the deductible is lower and your bike’s value is much higher, it might be worth using your insurance policy.
What should you consider before filing an insurance claim?
- The cost of your deductible versus the cost of your bicycle. If your bicycle is worth $300 but your deductible is $500 to have the insurance company cover it, it is not in your favour to use your insurance coverage. You will end up paying $200 more to replace your bicycle than you need to.
- Policy limitations on bicycles. If your bicycle is worth $1000 but your policy limitation is $700, after paying your $500 deductible you would only receive $200 from your claim.
- Have you scheduled your bicycle on your property insurance policy? This important step adds a special clause to your policy and gives your insurance company a record of your bicycle’s description, accessories and cost so it can be replaced at full value if stolen or destroyed. Your broker will do this for you, so it’s best to connect with them if you do not have this on your property policy already.
- You may risk losing discounts. Insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who have gone years without filing a claim. Over time, the discount may be worth more than the value of the bicycle. Claims Free Discounts can be up to 20%.
When you file a claim for a stolen or damaged bicycle, the insurance company (and the police report) will require photos and the serial number of your bicycle. This helps to ensure that the bicycle you are reporting stolen belongs to you. These items, as well as a receipt of sale, go a long way to getting a claim settled quickly for you with the insurance company.
Register your bicycle with the St. Thomas Police Service or the National Bike Registry to improve the chances of having your bicycle returned to you. Taking these steps will also improve the quality of your claim experience with the insurance company.
Wondering if your bicycle’s value is properly reflected in your property insurance package?
Check out your full policy details on the McConville Omni Client Portal or connect with your broker.