What to do if your motorbike is stolen
If you need to know what to do when your motorbike is stolen follow this simple step-by-step guide.
1. DO NOT call your insurance company just yet
2. Check the local area
3. Call the police and get a Crime Number
4. Inform your insurer
5. Set up alerts
6. Post on social media
7. Add to the Stolen Motorbike Register
8. Monitor the classifieds
Step 1: DO NOT call your insurance company just yet
If you come back to where you last left your bike and it isn’t there your first instinct will be to call the police and your insurer. Unless you are the victim of a bike jacking, or you know the bike has been stolen within 10-15 minutes, we strongly recommend going to Step 2 first. There is a possibility you may be able to recover your bike soon after realising it’s gone.
We say this because, even if you recover your motorbike quite quickly after a theft, your insurer will now see you as a risk. The simple act of informing them your bike is missing will be recorded on their database and possibly also to the central Motor Insurance Database to which all insurers have access.
This means, even though your bike has been recovered, you are highly likely to face a heavily increased premium the next time you insure your motorcycle. You can avoid this by only informing the insurer once you know for sure that the bike isn’t immediately recoverable.
Step 2: Check the local area
Broadly speaking motorcycle thefts break down into two types: The push/roll away and thefts involving another vehicle such as a van or car and trailer.
With push/roll away thefts, motorcycle thieves often dump the vehicle locally, less than a mile away in many cases. They then leave the bike for a few days – they are looking to see if a tracker has been installed.
Normally the thieves will leave the motorbike out of sight of main roads – so check side streets, alleyways, estates and off-street parking areas.
If they return to no bike, because you have recovered it, they know you have a tracker on board. In this instance, you would be wise to increase the physical security on your bike after recovery because the thieves now know for sure a tracker is installed and they know a second attempt can be successful if they remove the tracker during the theft. It can take less than 30 seconds to disable some systems.
If there are local areas near you that are popular with joyriders check there too, although you should not approach anyone you think may have stolen your bike – call the police, explain the situation and request they attend to help recover your bike. There is a danger a thief could become violent.
Unfortunately, if the bike was hauled into the back of a van or trailer it’s likely to have left the area. There is no way of knowing this unless somebody saw the theft, so you’ll still need to do your search first.
We suggest doing the search before calling the police because if they query the Motor Insurance Database, the Motor Insurance Bureau, who operate the database, share the information back to your insurer.
Step 3: Call the police
If you do not find your bike locally the next step is to inform the police.
Depending on where you live the police will either decide to attend and see if there is any evidence they could use in a potential prosecution or, more likely, they will simply issue you with an Incident Report Number or Crime Number after taking some details. Lack of resources, especially in larger cities, means it is fairly unlikely the police will attend these days.
That said, give the police as many details as you can that will help identify your bike as they can sometimes be found by the police. It’s not uncommon for thieves to clone a bike so any unique spec that police can identify later down the line could help recover the bike.
You will need the number to prove to your insurer you have reported the theft and also the DVLA will require it if you need to make a backdated claim for road tax.
If you recover your bike after informing the police, you will also need to let them know the vehicle is now back in your care.
A WORD OF CAUTION: If the police do find your stolen bike, certain mandatory fees can soon start to rack up if you are not careful. Read this.
Step 4: Inform your insurance company
Once you have your Incident Report Number or Crime Number call your insurer. These calls are always recorded so be careful to give them accurate information.
You might want to read your policy documents first to ensure there no clauses that could lead to an unscrupulous insurer denying a claim – for example, an insistence that the bike is inside a garage between certain hours.
Step 5. Set up alerts
On both eBay and Gumtree, you can set up email alerts so that every time a bike with your description is put up for sale, you’ll receive a notification. Then take a look at every new ad that you get a notification for.
Step 6. Post on social media
Since the explosion in motorcycle theft a few years ago there has been an equal upsurge in groups monitoring their activity on websites and app like Facebook and Instagram.
There are now many groups across the country who have set up pages and communities dedicated to helping people get their motorbikes back. One of the largest is the UK Motorcycle Theft Protest Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ukmtp/
The thieves themselves also use social media. Sometimes it’s to brag about their exploits, in the case of the so-called ‘repo gangs’, but they also use posts, especially Instagram, to sell stolen bikes on. These pages and accounts are difficult to infiltrate but again if you join one of the legitimate motorcycle theft communities many of them actively monitor the accounts and your bike could be spotted.
Step 7: Add your bike to the Stolen Motorbike Register
Biker & Bike has set up the UK’s first non-profit Stolen Motorbike Register. Adding your bike will help us to build up a picture of motorcycle theft activity in the UK and work with local authorities to address problem areas.
There is also the possibility that someone who finds your bike can use the database to get in touch with you directly.
Step 8. Monitor the classifieds
Even though you may have set up alerts for your bike in Step 5, there is the possibility that your bike could still end up in a classified advert.
Keep monitoring the ads, not just for the bike but also for any high-value items. If your bike had £1,800 worth of exhaust system thieves will strip it and sell it separately — likewise, expensive brake callipers and suspension parts.
If you do spot your bike or parts you think may have come from it, call the police.