Admiral sees pedal bike theft claims rise by 66%

The number of claims for pedal bike thefts has risen by 66% since the first COVID-19 lockdown (March 2020 – February 2021), compared to the same time period the previous year, the latest investigation from Admiral home insurance has revealed.

Analysis of the insurer’s data found that pedal bike thefts accounted for 32% of all theft claims since the pandemic began, compared with 14% the previous year.

The average value of claims for stolen pedal bikes since the pandemic hit is £580 and in some cases has been much higher. When it comes to the location of bike thefts being reported to the insurer, London dominates the list, followed by Edinburgh and Bristol.

At the start of 2021, bikes worth more than £1,500 were the most popular high-value items added to Admiral home insurance policies after Christmas, accounting for 30% of all items added to policies.

David Fowkes, head of household underwriting at Admiral, said: “Since lockdown restrictions were first introduced back in March 2020, thousands of people bought bikes for exercise or just for a safe way to get around, and the popularity of having two wheels to get around has continued into this year.

“But as several retailers have reported a spike in bike sales, our data suggests it’s also resulted in a boom in the number of bicycle thefts taking place too. In fact, in the first few weeks after lockdown restrictions were put in place, we saw a spike in the number of bike theft claims, and sadly this figure has continued to rise.

“We’ve seen a 66% increase in the number of bicycle theft claims since March 2020 when the UK first went into lockdown, compared with the same period of time the previous year. When you consider that other theft claims have fallen as a result of people staying at home, that figure has shot up at an alarming rate.

“Thieves are opportunists and will be looking at and seizing the chance to take advantage of easier targets. Unfortunately, budding cycling enthusiasts around the country might be the exact sort of opportunity they are looking for.

“As the spring and summer months start to bring warmer weather, we could see even more people purchasing bikes to get around in a bid to avoid public transport, and this could result in a further spike of bike thefts. So, whether you are a cycling veteran or have just bought your first bike, it pays to be vigilant and step up your bike security in order to deter thieves.

“It’s also a good time to make sure your bike is covered on your home insurance. At Admiral, any pedal bike worth less than £350 is automatically covered on your policy, but many bikes cost more than this and will need be added as a specified item.”

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