Blog Bicycle Insurance And Protection Against Theft

Sep 16, 2021

Bike Theft Is On The Rise In Canada

Man cutting a lock on a bike

You’ve finally committed to getting the road bike of your dreams – you’re ready to enjoy the scenic trails around your city.

But what happens if it is stolen from your home, even if it is locked up?

Many local shops that sell high-end mountain, commuter and road bikes have seen double the amount of business according to the CBC. Many are opting for cycling because it still allows for physical distance for riders who commute or people looking to exercise outdoors.

As e-bikes and cycling continue to gain popularity, theft of bikes has also gone up. Studies and news articles show, there has been a 30% spike in theft across the country, since the pandemic.

Unlike vehicles, they don’t have a VIN so tracing them can be a challenge. However, there are quite a few ways to prevent theft and protect it by including it on your home insurance.

How Many Bikes Get Stolen Each Year In Canada?

Did you know Vancouver has the highest rate of bicycle theft per capita out of any major city across the country? In 2020, 2,115 bicycles were reported stolen according to the Vancouver Police Department – that means 334 were stolen for every 100,000 people.

The next two most common Canadian cities for bicycle theft include Calgary with 3,284 stolen bikes per year and Winnipeg with 259 per 100,000 people.

In Toronto, around 4,000 bicycles were stolen in 2020, including an increasing number in or beside condominium apartments and rental housing. This number is roughly three times higher than 2014.

Does My Insurance Cover Bike Theft?

Most home and renters insurance policies will have limited coverage for your bicycle. Depending on the value, you may want to consider additional contents insurance to your plan. It’s important to know that you should contact your provider and let them know how much your bike is worth and how much you want covered.

Best Tips To Prevent Bicycle Theft

Man with green jacket locking orange bike

McGill’s study found that the most frequently stolen bicycles are new bicycles that were valued between $150 and $500. New bicycles valued between $500 and $1,000 (16%) were the second most frequently stolen. So how can you protect your new mountain bike or your cherished racing bicycle?

After you add your bicycle to your policy, be sure to follow these tips to protect it from theft on and off the road.

  1. Only use top quality locks : U-locks tend to be more durable compared to cable locks which can be cut through easily. It’s a good idea to pair your U-lock with a sturdy steel chain so you can secure more of it.
  2. Secure the wheels : Don’t forget to secure your wheels when you lock up. A good trick is to thread the U-lock through the bike rack and one wheel. Then use the cable lock through the front and back wheels and the U-lock.
  3. Get personal : Make your ride unique and personalize with personal elements such as a custom paint job, distinctive decals or accessories. It can help deter thieves because it will be harder to sell it if it has a distinct style compared to more generic ones.
  4. Never leave it outside at night : When possible, bring it indoors, especially at night. If it’s not possible to do so, lock it up in a well-lit area.
  5. Use a smart lock : A smart lock can alert you when your bike is in motion and allow you to track its location. Some models even emit noise when tampered with.
  6. Register your bike : 529 Garage has developed a free registration project designed to help people register the serial number and can report missing bikes through working with law enforcement and the community.
  7. Save the serial number : Even once it is registered, it’s a good idea to hold onto your serial number. Having it on record can be beneficial in the event of a police report or claim.
  8. Use a seat that requires keys : Along with wheels, many thieves will steal the seat. The common quick-release mechanism makes it more vulnerable to theft. Consider investing in switching any quick-release wheel or seat skewers for ones that require keys to unlock.
  9. Look for any flat tires or markings : If you notice you have any damages or flat tires when you return your bike, avoid leaving it unattended because thieves may have done it on purpose and are planning to come back and cut locks later.

Where Can I Get Bicycle Insurance?

There are two types of coverage for pedal bikes in Canada. What's covered under regular home insurance or renters package. Depending on the policy you have, each type of bicycle you own may be covered up to $1,000. You may need to pay a deductible depending on the policy details. Speak to your provider to learn more about options and limits.

If you have a more expensive bike, it is recommended to go beyond basic policies and add an endorsement, similar to how you would for jewelry or art. Increasing your coverage will cost a little bit extra, but it's worth it. You will be covered properly for theft, accidental damage, and unintended risks of loss or damage.

Third-Party Bicycle Insurance Companies

Person using a bike lock

Another option for insuring your bicycle is to have coverage provided by a provider that specializes in bicycle insurance. This is especially important if you participate in any racing. For example, if you are in a race and you are in an accident with another cyclist and injure them or damage their bicycle, you will be covered for legal defence costs if they sue.

This type of coverage will protect you against any fees associated with their bicycle, medical expenses, loss of income and bicycle replacement. It also protects you from perils (fire, theft) in the event of any injuries and medical expenses. Generally, membership costs for these policies will range from $45-$100 a year.

If you are interested in purchasing protection, here are some companies to look into :