Bicycle theft: secure your bike

Why you should protect yourself against bicycle theft

You place your new mountain bike secured in the communal cellar of your apartment building with a bicycle lock. With many neighbors you have good contact. None of the co-tenants trust you enough criminal energy to grab your bike. And yet it happened: One morning you come down to the cellar and your bike was stolen.

Not necessarily one of your neighbors must be the brazen bicycle thief. Three-quarters of all burglaries take place in multi-family houses. Where many people come and go, the recklessness increases. The front door is opened or someone opens it, without asking with the electric door opener. In addition to the apartments on the ground floor, the basement rooms are particularly vulnerable to burglary.

This is especially true for valuable bicycles: These should be fully secured against theft of bicycles and if possible parked in a separate basement to which only you have access. Then also provides home contents insurance, if it comes to a bicycle theft.

Properly secured: How to properly lock and unlock your bike

If a bike is not or not properly secured, the likelihood that it will be stolen is significantly increased. According to the General German Cycling Club (ADFC), every fourth bike stolen in Germany in 2009 was not properly secured. Probably the easiest way to secure your bike is a bicycle lock. But which bike lock is the safest, are there alternatives and what else should you consider?

Which bicycle lock is the safest?

In bicycle theft, the time factor plays a crucial role. The longer the process takes, the higher the risk for the thieves to be discovered. For this reason, bicycle locks take a central role in the theft protection. Even if they do not provide complete security, they make it difficult. Basically, one differentiates between five different types of bicycle locks:

  • U-locks
    A padlock consists of a metal bracket which is connected to a closing body. It is usually made of very stable materials such as steel and offers a high level of safety. But padlocks are relatively heavy and inflexible.
  • Armored cables and chains
    Armored cable locks are encased in hardened steel. That makes them especially safe. Another advantage: Compared to U-locks, they are more flexible. Even more flexible are chain locks. The often thin chain links, however, offer a little less security.
  • Folding
    They consist of articulated rigid links and combine the flexibility of a chain lock with that of a padlock. They fold up like a folding rule and are easy to attach to the bike.
  • frame locks
    They are attached to the bicycle and prevent by a bolt in Speichenweg turning the wheel. Therefore, they are more likely to be regarded as an immobilizer. However, they do not adequately protect against a bicycle theft, but secure the rear wheel against theft.
  • Locks coil cable
    The thin spiral cables also do not provide sufficient resistance to theft. Although they are flexible, with a side cutter they can be easily cut through.

Test results show that padlocks are the safest. They offer thieves the greatest resistance due to their high stability. Made of high quality materials, they are relatively expensive, but the investment is worthwhile, especially if you own an expensive bike. As a rule of thumb: For a good bike theft protection five to ten percent of the wheel new price should be invested. If you buy a bike for 500 euros, you should be prepared to spend about 50 euros for a corresponding security lock. When buying a lock, pay attention to stable materials such as hardened special steel and massive locking systems. Quality-tested locks that are, for example, ADFC-certified or have the seal of approval from the Association of Non-Life Insurers (VdS) are considered safe. The latter offers on its website a directory of recognized bicycle locks (VDS RL 2597).

Some of the listed lock types are also available as alarm locks. Originally designed to protect against motorcycle theft, they are also useful for bicycles. If someone attempts to break the lock or remove the wheel from its pitch, they will beep loudly.

Where and how is the bike safe?

Often bikes are locked with secure locks, but not connected. The thief can simply carry them away and break the bicycle lock in a safe place in peace. For this reason, you should attach your bike with a high-quality lock to a fixed object , for example, to parking facilities, traffic signs or fences. Prerequisite: The item should be high enough so that the bike can not be easily lifted over it.

ADFC checklist for bicycle theft protection

  • Complete instead of just off
    Even if you leave the bike unobserved for just a moment, you should at least attach the frame, if possible also the front and rear wheels to a firmly anchored object.
  • Search the public
    Do not park your bike in lonely, dark places and poorly visible streets. The risk of bicycle theft is higher here.
  • Secure the bike at home too
    The safest place to park your bike is in a closed cellar room that only you use, or in special, lockable bicycle boxes.
  • Make your bike unique
    Special features make your bike unique and protect against theft to some extent. Since they are not a clear proof of ownership, they should only be used as an additional identifier.
  • Have your bike coded
    The coding has two main advantages: A coded bike can be easily and quickly identified as your property and has a deterrent effect on the thief in advance, as the bike is so difficult to sell.
  • Write down all features
    Write down all the essential features such as the frame number and make of your bike in a bicycle passport. This is available from bicycle dealers, insurance companies and the police.
  • Do not let it get you through
    Do not always secure your bike in the same place. Do not let long periods of time in one place, because they give bike thieves useful information about when he can steal the wheel where undisturbed. It is recommended to change the location at regular intervals.

The so-called EIN coding (owner identification number) is particularly effective against bicycle theft. This is a personalized label that allows a reliable conclusion to the owner. The sealed and labeled code engraved in the seat tube is composed of the official number plate of the circle, the municipality key, the street number, the house number, the initials and the year.

Example Code: SB0000560050DM15

  • A code generator

License number Saarbrucken SB
Community / place Saarbrucken 00
road Halberg road 00560
House number 50 050
initials Dirk Mustermann DM
year 2015 15

High-tech bicycle theft protection

To protect your bike from theft, you can use not only the mechanical but also an electronic theft protection. A bicycle alarm app works much like alarm locks. The system consists of two parts: a transmitter attached to the bicycle and a receiver carried by the owner. If your bike is moved or removed from its place, you will receive an alarm signal. This can also be transferred to the smartphone via app. If the security system is equipped with a GPS transmitter, you can also locate your bike over it.

Correctly insured: household insurance or bicycle theft insurance?

In order to protect your bike from theft, the mechanical and, if necessary, the electronic fuse come first. Since these can not prevent bicycle theft one hundred percent, it is also worthwhile to insure the bike. Basically there are two possibilities for this:

  • A household insurance
  • A special bicycle insurance

Additional insurance against bicycle theft goes quickly into the money. Anyone who does not want to pay several hundred euros a year for this can also expand his home insurance.

Home insurance and bicycle theft

With a household insurance you insure your home, utility, consumer and installation items against damage caused by fire, burglary and vandalism, robbery, tap water, storm and hail . As a rule, the objects are insured at the replacement value. Although bicycles are also included in the household contents, they are subject to separate conditions. You can find general information on home contents insurance in the guidebook article “What is home contents insurance?”.

What are the advantages of home contents insurance for bicycle theft?

Household insurance already covers insurance cover for bicycle theft. If your bike is in places listed in the insurance policy, the insurance will cover the case of bicycle theft. In addition to the apartment, these include garages in the immediate vicinity, shared bicycle storage facilities and private cellars. Prerequisite is: Only authorized persons can enter the rooms and the bicycle is secured.

Extended insurance protection for bicycles

In the case of home contents insurance, you can often secure your bike against theft in additional cases with additional modules. This is particularly worthwhile if you can not keep your bike in lockable basements or the apartment. If you extend the insurance coverage, this also applies outside the place of insurance . Thus, your bike is also insured if you put it off, for example, in front of a shop in the city. How comprehensive insurance coverage is depends on the insurer.

In some insurance, the so-called night time clause applies. This states that the additional insurance cover for bicycle theft applies only between 6 and 22 o’clock, unless the wheel is used during this period.

Bicycles of all persons living in the household are insured

A particular advantage of home contents insurance: The household effects of all persons living in the household are insured. Thus, not only is the policyholder’s bike insured against theft, but also the wheels of other family members .

Cover your bike comprehensively with home contents insurance

In the case of home contents insurance by CosmosDirekt, the insurance cover also covers damages due to theft outside the place of insurance, if the bicycle was demonstrably secured by a lock at the time of the theft – and this around the clock. In basic protection, bicycles are insured up to one percent and in comfort protection up to two percent of the maximum compensation for home contents insurance. With a sum insured of 50,000 euros, a bicycle is thus insured up to a value of 500 euros or 1,000 euros against theft.

What are the disadvantages of home contents insurance for bicycle theft?

Insurance cover is only valid under certain conditions

The insurance cover in the context of home contents insurance applies to bicycle theft only under certain conditions. As already mentioned, it is important that the bicycle is always adequately mechanically secured and stored in premises accessible only to a small group of people.

For example, if you park your bike in the courtyard of your apartment block and do not secure it in addition, the insurance company will not cover the damage incurred if the bike is stolen. So that you do not have to worry about the costs for a new bike, you should inform yourself about the insurance conditions of your home contents insurance regarding bicycle theft.

Bicycle theft is subject to compensation limits

Even if home contents insurance offers basic protection against theft, bicycles are not insured for replacement value, in contrast to the majority of other household goods. Most of them are covered by a certain part of the sum insured.

Whether the compensation limit of usually one percent of the sum insured is a disadvantage, depends primarily on the total value of your bike. For older or used models, the insurance usually covers the total value in case of theft. However, if you own a higher-quality bike, it is advisable to determine from the purchase price and the sum insured, whether an extension of the household insurance is worthwhile. For example, changing your tariffs will allow you to raise your maximum compensation from one to two percent. With a sum insured of 50,000 euros, this is quite noticeable. The hedge would increase from 500 to 1,000 euros.

Additional cost factor

The conclusion of a household insurance is associated with additional costs. Remember, however, that with the insurance you not only cover your bike, but also all your household contents and that of your family. Calculated over the month, the additional financial burden is comparatively low:

For a 70 square meter apartment in Saarbrücken you can fully insure your property from less than 50 euros per year – including the protection against bicycle theft. Converted to the month that is less than five euros.

When is a special bike insurance worthwhile?

For particularly high-quality and expensive wheels, it may be worthwhile to conclude a special bicycle insurance against theft. This is usually offered in two different tariff variants:

  • Partial coverage rate
    The basic protection usually includes a bicycle theft protection and is comparable to the benefits of home contents insurance.
  • Comprehensive tariff
    The more powerful tariff does not only apply to bicycle theft, the insurance also includes a repair protection and also covers other damage costs, which are due for example to vandalism or falls.

The costs for a bicycle partial or comprehensive insurance are not insignificant. To insure a bicycle with a value of 2,000 euros full insurance, the insurance costs more than 200 euros per year.

Your bike was stolen? This is how you behave properly

If your bike was stolen, you should first keep calm. It is important that you act quickly and thoughtfully. This increases the chance that the bicycle theft is cleared up and do not jeopardize your insurance coverage unnecessarily. Proceed as follows:

  1. Contact the police
    You should immediately report a bicycle theft and report it to the police. You need a detailed description of the bike and all stolen components. Coding speeds up the investigation enormously and also increases the chances of success.
  2. Contact your insurance company
    After informing the police, you should report the bicycle theft to your insurance company. Do this as soon as possible, otherwise there is a risk that the insurer will cut or even deny benefits.
  3. Be mobile
    There are several websites that can assist in the private search for a stolen bike. In addition, you can keep an eye on the surrounding area as well as the relevant location such as the station area. The thief may have used your bike for a short distance and then dropped it off.

Important tips for protection against bicycle theft

The Police leaflet contains important information on effective securing and identification of the bicycle. Recommendations are given on the selection of the bicycle lock, the keeping of a bicycle passport, the coding or other marking of a bicycle and the securing of individual bicycle parts. In addition, a bicycle pass, which can be cut out, included.

Conclusion: A double protection against bicycle theft can be worthwhile

Whether used, middle class or luxury bike – you should always disconnect and connect your bike sufficiently. With a corresponding fuse thieves make their project more difficult, and this also has a preventive deterrent effect. In order to avoid being left at the cost of a bicycle theft in case of doubt, insurance is also recommended. For conventional bicycles, an expansion of household insurance is usually sufficient. Special comprehensive insurance for bicycles only pay off for particularly expensive and high-quality wheels.