What To Do If Your Motorcycle Is Stolen

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According to several insurance companies, over 46,000 motorcycles are stolen per year in the United States, and those are only the ones that are reported. There are many other instances when nothing is reported to the police.  Let me explain all the steps you should take after your motorcycle is stolen.

When your motorcycle is stolen, you should do the following things in order:

  1. Report It Missing To The Police And Get A Copy Of The Report
  2. Report It Missing To Your Insurance Company
  3. Go Look For It Yourself
  4. Check Online Listings To See If Someone Is Trying To Sell It
  5. Post Pictures Of It To Social Media Accounts

Getting your motorcycle stolen is frustrating, but keeping your cool and handling things quickly can make all the difference in getting it back in your possession.  The faster you work, the higher the probability of you finding it. So follow the steps below for your best chance of getting it back. Only 30% of stolen motorcycles are recovered, and of those 30%, the majority of them are found within the first few days of going missing.

Report It Missing To The Police

The first thing you need to do when your motorcycle is stolen is file an official report at your local police station.  This step needs to come first because most motorcycles that are recovered from theft are found within the first few days.  The more people you can get looking for the motorcycle in those first few days the better.

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 also benefits you for insurance reasons, which will be discussed more in subsequent paragraphs. Many insurance companies won’t file a claim in your behalf unless you have a written report from a police officer.  After you file your report with a cop make sure you get a copy of that report, or at least a report number so you can give that to your insurance agent.

The last reason it’s important to report it as soon as possible to the police is because many precincts have a time limit to when you can report something missing.  Some places only allow you to file a claim up to ten days after the 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.

Report It Missing To Your Insurance Company

Your second priority needs to be reporting it missing to your insurance company because many insurance companies also have a statute of limitation on 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 is also going to ask you for documentation on the motorcycle like the title, registration, pictures of the motorcycle from different angles, and probably ask you a lot of the same questions as the police did when you filed your report.  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.  So make sure you have good insurance in case you ever need it. Click here to see my list of recommended products to help secure your motorcycle and prevent theft.

Go Look For It Yourself

As soon as you file the initial police report and call in the theft to your insurance company, get out on the streets and start asking around.  Ask your neighbors who they saw around your house, ask if they saw anyone pushing a motorcycle, if they ever saw a truck pull up, etc.

Drive all the roads within a few mile radius of your residence looking for any signs of your motorcycle.  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 longer you wait, the less chance you have of finding it.

A word of caution when going to look for it, if you find it then immediately call the police again to assist you in loading it up and taking it back to your residence.  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.  Many times people who steal motorcycles steal a lot and sell them all for parts. So if they can find one then many times it will lead them to others.

Check Online Listings For Someone Trying To Sell It

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. Keep your eyes peeled on all the online motorcycle classifieds ads for any signs of your motorcycle. They might also try to do a quick paint job to make it not look like yours, so look for any of the same model.

The largest motorcycle classifieds websites are eBay, Craigslist, Cycletrader, Facebook Marketplace, and any local listings pages that people in your area use.  Like in the midwestern United States people use KSL. If you can, set up automatic alerts for keywords of listings that pop up.

Also keep your eyes on those classifieds websites that sell parts.  Many people just take the motorcycle apart and sell everything 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.

One trick that you can use is to text or call the person selling the parts and see if you can come over and see the rest of the parts they have for that motorcycle.  Then go on over with a friend and see if they have your motorcycle and call the police after you leave. Another trick you can use is to ask them “what’s the VIN number from the parts bike just to make sure these parts will fit on mine?”

Post Pictures Of It As Stolen To Social Media Accounts

Social media has changed the world, and one of the ways that it has changed it for the better is because theft is a lot harder to get away with now.  There are a ton of motorcycle pages on Twitter and Instagram that will repost a picture of your motorcycle for you if it has been stolen. I’ve even done it for people on one of my larger motorcycle pages.

People get their motorcycles back all the time with some of the really big pages posting a picture of the motorcycle and where it was stolen.  When you have a million people looking for the motorcycle it becomes a lot harder for the criminal to hide it. I’ve seen this method work firsthand many times.

Post a picture on your facebook page and ask friends to repost it and keep an eye out for it on the street.  The more people that have seen a picture of it the better.

Take pictures of it to all of the automotive junkyards in your area and ask them to please keep an eye out for it in case someone wants to come sell it cheap to a junkyard.

Related Questions

What happens if an insurance company pays you claim money for a stolen motorcycle and then they 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.

Does all motorcycle insurance cover theft? Not all motorcycle insurance covers 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.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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