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How To Use a Video To Help Insure Yourself for Bike Theft

A bike is a serious cyclist’s prize possession. When you commit to pedaling thousands of miles a year, you’re willing to spend big on your bike to make sure it’s up to the task. 

As longtime rider and cycling coach Darryl MacKenzie says, “You invest a lot in your bike, and the dollars can add up.”

Given that investment, losing your bike or having it stolen can be a true crisis. In a flash, you’re out not only your primary source of enjoyment and exercise but also a really pretty penny. Thankfully, insurance comes into play in these instances, but there are still some steps you should take to make sure you can provide proof of ownership in case you need to have your bike replaced. And there’s no better way to do that than to make a brief video for your insurance company. 

In fact, that video will come in handy in more ways than one. Here’s why you should consider this important step and how to do it properly.

Bike Theft Can Happen Anytime

With more than three decades of cycling experience, Darryl has learned an important lesson many times over: You can have your bike stolen when you least expect it. 

While it’s never happened to him, Darryl has known many friends who have had their bikes stolen, some from right under their noses. He’s heard some crazy stories: A bike being snatched from the other side of a bathroom stall while one rider was using the bathroom. Another taken while a cyclist ran inside to grab takeout. Yet another right off of someone’s car.

There are, of course, many ways to guard against bike theft. We’ve covered them in detail. But, no matter how careful you are, you can’t prepare for every possibility. Sometimes bike theft happens, and you just need to be prepared to make a claim when it does.

How Homeowners Insurance Protects You Against Bike Theft

You can indeed file an insurance claim if your bike is stolen. However, some clarifications are in order. 

First of all, this doesn’t pertain to vehicle insurance. Car insurance comes into play when your bike is damaged by another vehicle, but not when your bike is stolen. For that, you need to turn to your homeowners or renters insurance policy.

These policies include coverage for your personal property, including something like a bicycle. They also cover that property even when it’s away from your home, though there may be limits to how long this applies. 

Under your homeowners or renters policy, your bike is covered against theft or even damage from a natural disaster, as long as it hasn’t been away from your home longer than stipulated in your policy. A deductible typically applies, so you’d still be out some money, but you won’t be on the hook for the full replacement cost of your bike. 

How To Create a Video for Insurance

The only catch about insurance is that you need to be able to provide proof of ownership. And while a receipt is essential, it’s best to provide a complete picture, especially if you’ve spent any money on modifications.

That’s where a video proves invaluable. By taking just a few minutes to document everything in detail, you can have peace of mind that you’ll have proof in a pinch. This can be helpful not only for dealing with insurance but also with the police, who may be able to recover your bike before you even need to make a claim. 

So, how do you do it? What do you need to include to make sure your bases are covered? Here’s what Coach Darryl recommends. 

  1. Clean your bike thoroughly if you’ve already ridden it. As Darryl says, “You want it to look new. If the bike is clean, it looks like it’s worth more than if it’s covered in mud.”
  2. Make sure you have good lighting — outside is best if possible.
  3. Set it up on a work stand or floor stand so you can easily walk around it and film from all sides.
  4. When you start filming, first state the date, then identify yourself and name the bike’s make, model and size.
  5. Explain when and where you made the purchase, how much it cost, and any modifications (with additional costs) you made to the bike. It may be helpful here to actually reference the receipt in the video and point out any extra parts or accessories included on it.
  6. Parts you may need to reference include bottle cages, computer, lights and light mounts, saddle, electronic shifters, upgraded wheels, power meters, pedals and saddle bags.
  7. If you’ve added any stickers to the bike, show them in the video to help make your ownership even more clear.

What To Do With Your Video

Once you’ve completed the video, make sure you store multiple copies and keep it accessible for when you might need it. Darryl recommends storing it on your hard drive and in the cloud, in folders named with the bike’s make and model. 

If you later make additional modifications to your bike, you can make an extra video highlighting those. Don’t get rid of the old video, as you may need both for reference.

Although this process adds a few minutes and a little bit of legwork to the process of buying a bike, it provides an extra layer of security for dealing with insurance companies and police when you’re bike is stolen or lost. If you don’t already have a video for each of your bikes, what are you waiting for?


Looking for more cycling insights? Follow our blog every week for the latest from Coach Darryl. You can also find more of his tips over at his website.