The Briefing

Yo, where's my bike?!

How to protect yourself against bicycle theft.

October 21, 2021
Reading time 2 min.

🌈 A quick taster for you:  

  • Don’t skimp on a lock — and get two!
  • Find out if you’re covered by your parents' household insurance. 
  • Check how much your bike is worth to you — both financially and emotionally.

🧐 Why do I care?

Have you ever found yourself suddenly bike-less? With 260,000 bicycle thefts a year in Germany, it's very likely that you or some of your friends have already suffered this fate. Especially if you live in a big city, where thefts are more common. And it can hit you hard — because when someone steals your bike you don't just lose your means of transport, but you also lose a faithful companion. We want to make sure that this doesn't happen so easily in the future.

🔍 What exactly is happening here?

  • Better safe than sorry
    The bike lock. They might all look much the same, but if you skimp on your lock now then you might regret it later. That’s because those thin 5-euro locks, or the built-in frame locks, are a gift for bike thieves. So buy yourself a high-quality folding lock, a thick bicycle chain, or a sturdy U-lock! In terms of price, a decent lock can cost anywhere from €40 upwards. And to really be on the safe side, it’s wise to have two different locks on your bike, as this makes it all the more difficult for a thief to steal your bike. When it comes to locking your bike, remember to place the lock through both the rear wheel and frame, and ALWAYS lock your bike to a fixed object.
  • Household insurance
    Most bicycles are stolen from someone’s home, so this is where household insurance can come into play. If you live alone, you might already have your own policy. Or, if you’re living in a shared apartment while studying or doing an apprenticeship, then you might be covered by the household insurance of your parents — it’s wise to ask about this. Most household insurance policies will cover your bike if it’s stolen from your apartment, a locked cellar or garage, or from a bike parking space. And if that’s not enough, you can pay a surcharge of about €33 per year to ensure that your bike is insured if it’s stolen from a public place.
  • Bicycle insurance
    You can also insure your bike separately. In this case, the insurance does not only cover theft, but also vandalism, accidents, or the theft of individual parts. The cost for a €2000 bike will be around €70 per annum. Of course, paying for this insurance will always feel more worthwhile if you have a bike that you think thieves are likely to actually want to steal!

🤓 What does this mean for me?

Step 1: Always lock your bike, and use two different locks to be on the safe side — it makes it more likely that a thief won’t try and steal your bike!

Step 2: Find out about any existing insurance policies that will cover the theft of your bike.

Step 3: If you have an expensive bike that is susceptible to theft (road bikes, fixies, mountain bikes) and you live in an area where bikes are often stolen, then it’s a good decision to have your bike insured. And if it’s a really fancy bike then avoid locking it up outside —bring it inside with you instead.

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