Bike stolen? Hello spring

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As soon as temperatures start to climb once more, so does the number of bikes reported stolen. The frequency has stayed more or less stable over the years, but each case of theft is becoming more expensive on average. This is because of the more modern and more expensive bikes and e-bikes in circulation. But the level of risk is not the same everywhere.

Like the temperatures in the spring months, the number of bikes reported stolen also starts to rise once more. Whereas only around 400 bike thefts were reported to AXA in January 2021, approximately 700 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.

More stolen e-bikes 

Over the past five years, the number of bike thefts has stayed about the same – with the exception of 2020, when there was a slight pandemic-related decrease, which reversed again already in 2021. In recent years, however, the average claims expenditure has also seen a continuous increase. While a bike theft cost an average of CHF 1,740 last year, this figure was around CHF 500 lower three years prior. The reason for this is that bikes have gotten more expensive and increasing numbers of expensive bikes are in circulation – lucrative loot for thieves. According to police statistics on crime from the Federal Statistical Office, in 2021 the number of stolen e-bikes shot up by 47%. The number of stolen bikes without electric motors fell by 11%. In the same year, the total claims amount increased at AXA to nearly CHF 14 million. 

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.

Caution advised in Basel, Solothurn, and Lucerne

In some cantons, the risk of having your bike stolen is especially high. While only every 490th bike was stolen in Ticino (0.2%) in 2021, in Basel-Stadt every 36th bike (2.8%) was stolen. Other bike-theft hotbeds include Basel-Landschaft (1.7%), Solothurn (1.5%), and Lucerne (1.3%). There is less cause for concern for cyclists not only in Ticino, but also in Appenzell Innerrhoden (0.3%), Schwyz (0.4%), and in Valais (0.4%): The probability of theft is significantly lower in these cantons. 

In Basel, Solothurn, and Lucerne, the risk of bike theft is especially high.

How to protect your bike

If you take some precautions, the risk of your bike being stolen can 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.

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. 
  • 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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