Spring brings sunshine – and bike thieves

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As soon as temperatures start to climb once more, so does the number of bikes reported stolen. Despite the pandemic-induced decrease in mobility, the loss amount at AXA increased against the previous year by CHF 130,000 to a total claims volume of CHF 11 million. 

Like the temperatures in the spring months of March, April, and May, the number of bikes reported stolen also starts to rise once more. Whereas only around 410 bike thefts were reported in January 2020, 695 reports were received for the month of May alone.  “As soon as it gets warmer outside, people start to go out on their bikes more. This in turn increases the supply for bike thieves,” explains Stefan Müller, Head of Property and Casualty Insurance at AXA.  

Incidentally, reduced mobility in 2020 didn’t significantly reduce th number of bike thefts. Overall, AXA received around 300 fewer reports of bike theft than in the previous year, which saw 7,800 reports. Nevertheless, the total loss amount at AXA increased by CHF 130,000 to around CHF 11 million. This is because new bikes are often more expensive than old models. And more people are riding expensive e-bikes – a lucrative find for bike thieves. According to the latest crime statistics released by the police, 37.5% more e-bikes were stolen than in the previous year. 

The loss amount at AXA has increased continuously over the past five years. The reason for this is more expensive bikes and the growing use of expensive e-bikes, in particular.

How to protect your bike against thieves

Having your bike or parts of your bike stolen is extremely annoying. If you take some precautions, the risk of your beloved bike being stolen can at least be minimized. “If possible, bikes should be parked where they can be locked and monitored,” Stefan Müller recommends. Securing the bike with a lock at a fixed location so that it can’t be taken away provides additional protection. If the bike is stolen anyway, the theft should be reported to the police as soon as possible. If you know the brand, exact model, and frame number of the bike, there is a greater likelihood in the case of a theft that you will see your bike again.

Especially at risk: Zurich, Basel, and Bern

In some cities, the risk of having your bike stolen is especially high: In Zurich, Basel, and Bern, an above-average number of bikes are stolen. Zurich leads the statistic with around 810 cases. That is nearly twice the amount in Basel, which holds second place with 435 cases. Cyclists in Biel, St. Gallen, or Solothurn, for example, have less to worry about – the probability of theft in those places is much lower. In Solothurn, for example, only 60 cases were reported in 2020.

Insurance coverage for bikes

  • Bike theft at home is automatically covered by household contents insurance.
  • If your bike is stolen when you are away from home, household contents insurance will also cover the loss provided coverage for “ordinary theft away from home” is included in the policy.
  • Losses caused to third parties are covered by personal liability insurance.
  • It is also possible to insure yourself against damage to your bike. At AXA, you can take out supplementary coverage for this purpose – “extended coverage for luggage, sports, and leisure equipment" – which can be especially worthwhile for expensive bikes.

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