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GET HELP - Bicycle theft
Found yourself a victim of bike theft? Below is a suggested list of actions to take from police officers and past victims.
- What to Do Immediately
- If You Have Insurance — Next Steps
- Don't Have Insurance — Next Steps
- Additional Information

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What to Do Immediately

  1. Be safe, be smart
  2. Get to a safe place. Call the police.
  3. They will ask you for several things about your bike, including:
    • The registration numberli>
    • The year
    • The make
    • The model
    • The color
    • A description of what was in/on your bike (basket, speedometer, water bottle, etc.)
    • Where you last saw or left your bike
  4. The police will give you a case number.
    • Keep this with you at all times.
    • Make a copy of the case number for home and work in case you need to reference it.
  5. Write down the officer's information, in case you have questions or additional information:
    • Officer name, badge #, contact #
    • Officer name, badge #, contact #
  6. WHN TIP: Police Priorities

    While having your bike being stolen might be high priority for you, understand that the police might have other important matters to deal with first. The police will assist you as best they can.

If You Have Insurance — Next Steps

Is your bike worth more than your deductible? If not, you may want to buy a new bike on your own. If it is, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurance agency.

  1. Insured for bike theft? Call your homeowner's or renter's insurance agent. (If you’re not sure, call your agent to discuss your coverage.)
    • Check to see if your bike is covered under a homeowner's or renter's policy, perhaps as a rider, or through your automobile insurance.
  2. Have your insurance policy number ready
  3. Have the police case number ready
  4. Have pen and paper ready to take notes.
  5. Explain what happened to your agent (know that this may increase your rates).
  6. Tell the agent what you told the police.
  7. Ask your agent about outcomes and the timing of the bike theft:
    • What is covered if the bike is recovered and damaged?
    • What is the timeline for compensation?
    • What is covered if the bike is never recovered?
    • How will this affect my insurance rates? When will this change kick in?
  8. Get the insurance case number.
  9. A few days after the theft, contact the police department to check on the status of your case. Be sure to have your case number ready.
    • Ask to speak with the detective who is assigned to your case.
    • Introduce yourself, state your case number and when the theft took place.
    • Ask the detective about the status of your case. Is it open or closed?
    • If your case is open, ask if there are any possible suspects. Ask about the suspect's physical details or vehicle info.
    • Ask if there have been any more bicycle thefts in your neighborhood.
    • Also ask if there is anything else that you can provide that could help the investigation.
    • Request a copy of the official police report for your records, if you haven't already done so.
    • Remember, the police will do their best to follow up on the theft. However, it may not be possible to track down your stolen bicycle. Be patient.

WHN TIP: Additional Steps

If you want to take further action, contact the National Bike Registry. For a small fee, the registry will post a description of your bike and the conditions of its disappearance for 6 months. You can also register your new bike with them for $10-25.

Recovered

  1. If your bike is recovered, the police will contact you.
  2. You will need to go to the police station and identify your bike.
    • Ask what identification or verification you may need to bring with you. (You'll probably need a photo ID and you may need to proof of ownership: your bike's serial number, any photos, receipts, etc.)
  3. Contact your insurance agent with the news that you have recovered your bike.
  4. Similar to a car accident, you will have to get your bike assessed for damage. Take it to a shop that you and your insurance agent agree on, or go to a bike technician recommended by your insurance agent.

WHN TIP: Dollars Recovered

The amount of money you are covered for depends on the kind of coverage you have. Do not go ahead with bike repair until you have a clear understanding how much money you are getting from the insurance agency.

Not Recovered

  1. After a week or so, be sure your agent is processing the paperwork so you can begin looking for a new bike.
  2. The amount of money you receive from your insurance agency will depend on your coverage.
  3. For an estimate of your bike’s worth (to compare to your agent’s figure), consult your local bike shop.


If You Don't Have Insurance — Next Steps

  1. Keep the police case number with you at all times.
  2. A few days after the theft, contact the police department to check on the status of your case. Be sure to have your case number ready.
    • Ask to speak with the detective who is assigned to your case.
    • Introduce yourself, state your case number and when the theft took place.
    • Ask the detective about the status of your case. Is it open or closed?
    • If your case is open, ask if there are any possible suspects. Ask about the suspect's physical details or vehicle info.
    • Ask if there have been any more bicycle thefts in your neighborhood.
    • Also ask if there is anything else that you can provide that could help the investigation.
    • Request a copy of the official police report for your records, if you haven't already done so.
    • Remember, the police will do their best to follow up on the theft. However, it may not be possible to track down your stolen bicycle. Be patient.

WHN TIP: Additional Steps

If you want to take further action, contact the National Bike Registry. For a small fee, the registry will post a description of your bike and the conditions of its disappearance for 6 months. You can also register your new bike with them for $10-25.

Recovered

  1. If your bike is recovered, the police will contact you.
  2. You will need to go to the police station and identify your bike.
    • Ask what identification or verification you may need to bring with you. (You'll probably need a photo ID and you may need to proof of ownership: your bike's serial number, any photos, receipts, etc.)
  3. Similar to a car accident, you will have to get your bike assessed for damage. Take it to a bike shop or go to a bike technician. If damage is extensive, decide whether repairs are worth it.

Not Recovered

  1. After the first contact, recontact the police and have them keep you informed of any new developments. They will probably give you a realistic outlook on the recovery of your bike.
  2. After several days, begin looking for a new bicycle.

Additional Information

Remember ...

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional legal advice. These tips are from first responders, lawyers, insurance agents and people who have shared real-life advice; always check with a lawyer or appropriate professional you trust before making any legal decisions.

Thank you ...

A special thank you to the industry professionals, lawyers, insurance agents, first responders and people who gave us their time, insight and real-life advice.


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