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31 January 2016
The days are starting to draw out again and it doesn't seem to be raining all the time, so the cyclists among us are starting to get more use from our bikes.
We know that many of our clients use bicycles for getting to and from work as well as for pleasure but we also know that they are a target for criminals and have some tips to help prevent them being taken.
Get the best lock you can afford and use it
The Master Locksmith Association has a rating system "Sold Secure" which grades locks according to their strength. A gold rated lock will provide a very strong deterrent to thieves and theydon't have to cost a fortune. Using two locks and making sure the frame and a wheel are locked together improves security even more.
Getting into the habit of locking your bike even if it's only being left for a minute is also worthwhile. Bikes are the ultimate portable item and an opportunist only needs seconds to climb on and ride away with it. When you do lock up, consider taking a wheel and/or the seat off; this definitely off-putting to a thief.
Choose carefully where you lock up
When you are locking the bike, make sure the bike is attached to something that can't be moved itself. We define this as "any solid object fixed in or onto concrete or stone, which is not capable of being undone, removed with, or lifted under/over the Pedal Cycle". Examples include a fixed bike rack, lamppost or solid metal fence post. Put the lock as close to the thing you're locking it to as possible, as this will make it harder for any potential thief to get any cutting device at it.
Recognised bike parking areas are often covered by CCTV and/or are gated so it's worth seeking them out. Generally, the busier the area, the better, so take this into account if you are leaving it for a longer period.
Even when you're at home, the bike is at risk. We see claims regularly for thefts from gardens or unsecured sheds so lock it up, especially if you live in an area where garaging is shared.
Register the bike and any expensive accessories
This is free on databases like Bike Shepherd and with ID tags also available you can ensure that the bike can be picked out if sold on. Anything that makes the bike and its parts easily identifiable helps and makes it less attractive to a thief.
We know that many of you like to customise your bikes with improved pedals, forks, mudguards etc and some of these are unfortunately popular with thieves too. If you've spent good money on accessories, consider registering and tagging them separately. We have had claims for stolen parts alone that came to hundreds of pounds.
Keep receipts and any other records of your purchases
Your bike may be your pride and joy but it's surprising how many people don't keep their purchase documents and struggle to substantiate their claim if the worst happens. Rosanne Warner from the Select Claims team says "We can work from photos showing you with the bike to find the nearest current replacement but if you have receipts for accessories it means you won't miss out on those costs if you do have to claim".
Also, keeping receipts helps make sure you have the bike insured for the correct amount; we can only pay up to the listed limit so if you forget all the extras you added, it could cost you in the event it is stolen.
Our Underwriting team would be happy to advise you on insuring your bike, contact them on 0800 980 2701 to discuss your cover needs.
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