E- Bike thefts up by 37% last year

21 Jun, 2022

E-bike owners are being warned to be on their guard as insurance claims for cycles and accessories climb.

Aviva data reveals UK theft claims for e-bikes rose by 37% in 2021, compared to the previous year.

The growing popularity of e-bikes is also reflected in the insurer’s figures. Theft claims have rocketed in recent years, rising by nine times (or 815%) between 2016 and 2021.

The average value of e-bike claims has also grown substantially during this period. Aviva reports that a claim for an e-bike was typically less than £1,500 in 2016 but is now around £2,000.

The insurer warns that cycle accessories are also being targeted through domestic burglaries. These can add up to several hundreds of pounds, as the table below reveals.

Cycle accessory Approximate typical claim cost
Helmet £70
Lights £90
Pedals £80
Mudguards £60
Multi-tool £45
Mini-pump £20
Inner tube £5 each
Bike computer £30
Bags and panniers From £20
Dropper post £100
Padlock £40

Claims for cycles and accessories are fairly consistent throughout the year, although Aviva data suggests there may be a small uplift during summer months.

Consider your cycle cover

Aviva also urges bike owners to check their insurance policies, to make sure they are suitable for their needs. Home insurance policies usually cover pedal cycles and e-bikes when in the home, although this may not extend to taking the bike out and about.

Many insurers offer a pedal cycle add-on to contents insurance which covers cycles when they are not at the home address, but there are often requirements that the bike should be secured when it is not being ridden. There are also stand-alone products available, such as Ripe Cycleplan which provides specialist cycle protection.

A previous Aviva study of cycling habits revealed the most popular places for storing bikes when not in use as follows:

Storage place Proportion of cyclists who store bike here
Garden shed 37%
Private garage 34%
Inside my house / flat 32%
Outside in the garden 20%
Public bike storage / rack 18%

NB: Respondents were able to select more than one storage place.

 

Kelly Whittington, Property Claims Director, Aviva says: “Pedal cycles – and e-bikes in particular – can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so people should consider their cover carefully. Home contents insurance often covers bikes and e-bikes while in the home, but there may be a single item limit for possessions stolen or damaged. More expensive models may need to be listed separately to ensure they are fully covered. Similarly there may be a limit for items stored in sheds and outbuildings – often around £2,500.

“Some home insurance providers also offer a cycle add-on option to cover bikes away from the home, while stand-alone special policies are available. However, thefts may only be covered if the bike is in the customer’s control or locked or secured in accordance with the policy terms, so it’s always best to check with the insurer if in any doubt.”

Aviva has the following advice for people to protect their cycles and themselves:

  1. Prevent thieves from taking your bike by locking it to a fixed object such as a bike rack or a ground anchor. These are often found in designated bike parking areas.
  2. Use a good quality lock such as a D-lock, which is strong and difficult for thieves to cut through.
  3. Ensure the lock is around the wheel, frame AND anchor to which it is attached. Otherwise thieves may be able to remove parts of your bike and lift the main frame away.
  4. Invest in a well-fitting quality cycle helmet. You may wish consider knee and elbow pads – even seasoned cyclists have mishaps.
  5. Remove easy-to-steal parts or accessories like the saddle and post, pumps, or clip-less pedals.
  6. Leave your bike in a well-lit area with CCTV cameras where thieves are less likely to loiter.
  7. Register your bike with a tracker website such as www.immobilise.com so police authorities can trace and identify your bike if it does get stolen.
  8. Photograph your bike and note down the serial number, make and model. If it does get stolen, this will make it easy to identify.
  9. Security-mark the frame using an ultraviolet marker. If it is stolen and found again, it could be identified as yours and possibly returned to you.
  10. Familiarise yourself with your insurance policy and make sure your cover is adequate for your needs. Home insurance may be suitable for some, but more expensive models may benefit from more specialist cover.