How to handle a stolen motorcycle

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Numerous insurance companies report that more than 46,000 motorcycles are stolen each year in America. Many other cases are not reported to police.  Let me show you all the steps that should be taken if your bike is stolen.

These are the things you need to do if your motorcycle is taken:

  1. Report it Missing to The Police and Get A Copy of The Report
  2. Your insurance company should be notified if it is missing
  3. You can go look for it yourself
  4. You can check online listings to see if someone is trying to sell it
  5. Upload pictures to social media accounts

It can be frustrating to have your motorcycle stolen. However, it is possible to keep your cool and get it back by being quick.  The greater your chances of it being returned, the faster you can work. Follow these steps to maximize your chances of getting it back. Only 30% are ever recovered. And of those 30%, most are found within a few days.

Report it Missing to The Police

First, report to your local police station if your motorcycle has been stolen.  This is important because most stolen motorcycles are found within a few days. You can find more people looking for your motorcycle within the first few days.

Another reason to go to the police first is your motorcycle might have been stolen along with a few other motorcycles, so if police can connect the crimes there’s a good chance that all of the motorcycles are stored together, which increases your chances of getting it back.

Notifying the police first can also be beneficial for insurance reasons. We will discuss this in more detail in the next paragraph. Many insurance companies won’t file a claim in your behalf unless you have a written report from a police officer. You should get a copy of your police report or at the very least a report number after you file it with a cop. This will allow you to give your insurance agent that information.

The last reason it’s important to report it as soon as possible to the police is because Many precincts place a time limit on when you can report missing items. Some states only allow claims to be filed up to ten business days after an event. Every state is different, just report it to them the first day so you don’t have to worry about losing the time frame.

Your insurance company should be notified if it is missing

The second priority should be to report it missing to your insurance company. Many insurance companies have a statute that limits when you can report it missing.  If you file it early, you don’t have to worry about getting close to that date when the statute of limitations runs out.

As stated earlier, you need to give your insurance company the official police report or at least a report number and the officer’s name who wrote the report so your insurance company can get in touch with them.  The insurance company has to contact them to make sure that your motorcycle is actually missing and that you didn’t just wreck it and now you’re trying to get insurance money out of it.

Your insurance company may ask for documentation regarding the motorcycle such as registration and title. It will likely also ask the same questions you asked the police when you filed your complaint. The insurance company deals with so many fraudulent claims that they normally take the stance of trying to figure out whether you’re telling the truth or not.

The goal of your insurance company is to not have to pay out on any claims that you file, so make sure you get insurance that covers theft, you might have to pay an extra couple dollars for it every month but it’s worth it with how often motorcycles get stolen.

46,000 motorcycles were stolen per year in the United States alone, it can happen to any of us even if we think it’s locked away safe and secure in our garage.  Make sure you have insurance to cover any eventualities. Click here to view my recommended products that will help protect your motorcycle from theft.

You can go look for it yourself

After you’ve filed your initial police report and called in the theft to insurance, it is time to get out there and start asking for help. Ask your neighbors to share their stories about who they saw in your neighborhood.

You should drive all roads within a radius of your home looking for signs of your bike.  It’s not uncommon for someone to steal a motorcycle and start pushing it away and then get scared and just leave it somewhere or dump it off the side of a road.  You’ll want to do this the same day that it was stolen. The less time you wait to find it, the better.

Take care when searching for it. Call the police immediately if it is found. They will help you to load it up and take it back to you. If it’s sitting in someone’s driveway or yard then you’ll want police assistance to get it back. Don’t make a rash decision and get yourself in an unsafe situation.

The police might also want to take pictures or do fingerprints to see if there’s any connections between this theft and any others.  People who steal motorcycles often steal many and then sell them all as parts. If they find one, it is likely that they will find others.

You can search online for people who are trying to sell your item

People who steal motorcycles don’t tend to be very intelligent, so many times you can catch them trying to sell your motorcycle on an online listing. You should keep an eye out for your motorcycle in any online classifieds. You might be offered a quick painting job to make it look different.

eBay, Craigslist. Cycletrader. Facebook Marketplace. And any local listings pages that are used by people in your region.  KSL is used in the Midwest United States. You can set up alerts to receive notifications when keywords are used in listings.

Keep an eye out for classifieds sites that sell parts.  Many people take apart the motorcycle and then sell it individually.  So look up specific parts for your model and if there are sellers in your area selling those parts then there’s often a link to “Other Items From This Seller”.  If they’re selling a bunch of parts that are from your model then it might be worth looking into.

You can try a trick: Text or call the person selling parts to see if you could come over to see what other parts they have for the motorcycle.  You can then go with a friend to see if they have your bike and call the police after. Ask them. “what’s the VIN number from the parts bike just to make sure these parts will fit on mine?”

Upload Pictures of It to Your Social Media Accounts

Social media has revolutionized the world. One reason it has done so well is that theft is now much harder to prevent.  If your bike is stolen, there are many motorcycle pages on Instagram and Twitter that will post a photo of it. I’ve even done it for people on one of my larger motorcycle pages.

Many people return their motorcycles every day. Some of the most popular pages post pictures of the motorcycles and the location where they were stolen. It becomes much more difficult for criminals to hide the bike when there are a million people searching for it. I’ve seen this method work firsthand many times.

Post a photo to your Facebook page. Ask friends to share it. Also, keep an eye on it on the streets.  It is better if more people see it.

Send a photo of it to all the junkyards that are in your vicinity. Ask them to keep an eye on it for anyone who might want to sell it at a discount to a junkyard.

Similar Questions

What happens if you get money from an insurance company to claim for a stolen bike and they then find it? What normally happens is that by that time you’ve already used the insurance to buy another motorcycle. So the insurance company legally owns the stolen motorcycle, so they’ll sell it at an auction if you don’t want to buy it back from them.

Are all motorcycle policies covered against theft? Motorcycle insurance does not always cover theft. You need to check your individual policy and make sure that you’re covered in case of a theft.  If not, your insurance company won’t do anything at all to help you.

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