With the success of British cyclists in Rio, who won a total of 12 medals, cycling is about to become more popular than ever. However, bicycle theft at the cost of hundreds rather than thousands of pounds remains a significant challenge for the insurance sector and brokers are being urged to encourage customers to step up security measures at home. According to Ageas’s household claims data, bicycle thefts most commonly occur from the home – whether from the house, garden or outbuildings such as sheds or garages – accounting for over 60% of total bike theft claims, with an average value of £700.

The claims data, analysed over 2 years, also shows the peak of thefts occurring in July, reducing gradually throughout August and into September, before dropping dramatically in December before a post-Christmas increase in January.

Craig Allen, Head of Household Underwriting at Ageas commented: “With the increasing popularity of cycling in the UK and the success of Team GB with their 12 medals in cycling in Rio, it is unsurprising that bicycle theft has become a bigger issue than ever – and thieves aren’t just focusing on the most expensive models. The latest Sport England Active People survey showed that over 2 million people are now regular cyclists, giving thieves a huge opportunity in both the acquisition of bikes and profit to be made from selling them on.

“We are constantly evaluating claims to ensure our cover options remain in step with customer needs and that the family market we focus on is not subsidising those cyclists at the elite end of the market. So while the average claim cost is £700, our outbuildings limits range from £1000-£3000* so customers should have adequate cover under their household policy.

“However, bike owners can take a few simple precautions to protect themselves. Simply ensuring the bike is securely locked up, whether at home or away from the home, will act as a major deterrent for many criminals. We recommend using a good quality D-lock to secure the bike to an immovable object, as this makes the removal of the bike extremely difficult if not impossible. Of course, it is best to keep bikes in a locked shed, garage or outbuilding, if they cannot be kept within the home itself, and always have them marked and registered on BikeRegister by local police.

“As long as the bike is locked securely, it is likely to be covered as standard by most home insurance policies – possibly with an upper limit for the value per bike. Some policies may not cover the bike when it is away from the home, so brokers will need to check details of the policy and look into adding this cover if necessary.”