does renters insurance cover bike theft?

The bicycle symbolizes many different things — exercise source, weekend mind-clearer, even commute vehicle. No matter why you ride yours, though, having it stolen is a headache you (and your wallet) dread. Learn why renters insurance is the ideal tonic for a missing 2-wheeler.

when you’re covered for a stolen bicycle

Your bicycle doesn't stay in one place for long (punctured tube notwithstanding). So it's important to have flexible insurance that can keep up.

Here's how renters insurance could protect your bike in different situations.

On-site bike theft

Take comfort, cyclists. One of the main perks of renters coverage is safeguarding the possessions in your home, including bicycles. If you have renters insurance and your bike is stolen from your place, you'll be able to get the full replacement cost (up to the policy limits you choose) so you can buy a new one.

It's important to select limits high enough to cover the cost of all your valuables. After all, you'd hate to lose several of your belongings to a burglar, only to have your renters insurance limits fall short and leave you paying the cost of a new bike out of pocket.

Taking a comprehensive home inventory can help clarify the value of your stuff and how much coverage you need. A home inventory — and the receipts, photos, and serial numbers you produce in the process — also has the bonus of providing proof that you indeed own your bike, which may be required to complete a theft claim (and is just plain helpful to have, regardless).

Bike theft away from home

A bigger concern for many riders is having their bike stolen when it's outside, like from a bike rack outside of your office or from the curb outside of a restaurant while you're picking up lunch.

Rest assured, renters coverage still has your back. If your bike is stolen off-site, you could be eligible for up to 10 percent of your regular personal property coverage.

If you have an extremely expensive bike, again, consider higher-end coverage limits so you can avoid paying hefty replacement costs on your own.

how thieves get your bicycle (and how to stop them)

We know, we know. You tucked your bike away. You used a lock. You did everything right. So how did a thief still end up rolling away with it?

Probably with one of these 6 common techniques.

1. The lift

This is one of the simplest tactics: Thieves will lift your bike and lock straight up and over the sign post, parking meter, or whatever object it's attached to. Sometimes they even lift the post itself out of the ground if it's not tightly secured in the concrete.

Bicycle theft prevention tip: Use designated bike racks whenever possible. Failing that, only lock your bike around tall objects that a thief could never reach or something without an open top (like a gate). Make sure anything you lock your bike to is firmly rooted in the ground.

2. The lever

If there is space between your lock and the bike, thieves can insert tools and pry the metal at drastic angles until either the lock or the bike breaks.

Bicycle theft prevention tip: Use snug-fitting U-locks that wrap tightly around both the bike and the stand it's attached to. No gaps means no leverage.

3. The hammer

Thieves can use a hammer and chisel to break apart locks that are hanging loose and touching the ground.

Bicycle theft prevention tip: Again, U-locks are your best defense here, as they stay snug to the bike.

4. The deconstruct

This involves thieves taking your bike apart by undoing bolts or screws in the frame or releasing tires.

Bicycle theft prevention tip: Always insert your lock around the frame and the tire. This way, the 2 can't be separated from each other as long as the lock is intact.

5. The bait-n-wait

A thief may remove your tire (if not locked to the frame) or even your seat, hoping this causes you to leave the bike and plan to return later to pick it up. If you do, the thief may have all day or night in which to come back and leisurely break through your lock and get the rest of your ride.

Bicycle theft prevention tip: Even if you're missing a part, try not to leave your bike unattended. See if a friend can pick it up, or walk it to someplace more secure.

6. The "how did they do that?"

Sometimes there aren't any red flags you can spot ahead of time. Whether thieves bring heavy-duty bolt cutters and saws, spray your lock with Freon and bash it to bits, or they're experts with picking a lock, sometimes it's just pure determination on their part, and dumb, bad luck on yours.

Bicycle theft prevention tip: All you can do is take as many precautions as possible. Park in well-lit areas, use high-end locks that are snug and durable (more than one is ideal), and attach your bike to objects that are meant to hold them.

rely on renters coverage for your bike

Despite your best efforts, you never know when thieves could strike, and if they do, the odds of recovery are slim. Thankfully, you can at least prepare.

Get your free renters insurance quote today so you can replace your cherished bicycle if the worst happens and get back on the road pronto.

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