What to do if your motorcycle is stolen: A step-by-step guide

Woman speaking to police officer
Woman speaking to police officer
Author Michael Milbourn
Product Manager – Dairyland
April 11, 2024

Discovering your beloved motorcycle has been stolen can be a heart-wrenching experience. However, it's crucial to remain calm and take immediate action to maximize the chances of recovery. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to follow if your motorcycle is stolen.

Get insured

1. Confirm the theft before you act

Before assuming the worst, take a moment to verify your bike’s absence. Check with local authorities or your apartment complex to see if it was towed for parking violations or moved by mistake. This quick step could save you unnecessary stress. However, if you confirm your motorcycle has indeed been stolen, don't waste a second—move on to the next step immediately.

2. Contact law enforcement

Contact your local police department to report the theft. Time is of the essence—the longer you wait, the slimmer the chances of recovering your bike. Thieves can quickly dismantle or move stolen motorcycles, making recovery more challenging.

Provide as much information as you can, and request a copy of the police report for your records and insurance purposes. Be ready to provide specific details, including:

  • Year, make, and model of your bike

  • The bike’s vehicle identification number (VIN) or serial number

  • Mileage

  • Color and any distinctive features

  • Location it was stolen from

  • Date and approximate time of theft

3. Notify your insurance provider

After filing a police report, promptly notify your insurance company to report the theft. This step is crucial to safeguarding your interests in case your motorcycle is involved in any accidents or incidents while not in your possession. Provide them with the same information you provided the police. Your insurer will guide you through the claims process and advise you on the next steps to take.

4. Spread the word

Inform your friends, family, and neighbors. Share information about the theft on social media, motorcycle forums, and community groups. The more eyes and ears you have on the lookout, the greater the likelihood of someone spotting your motorcycle. Include photos and relevant details in your posts to aid in identification.

Many riders monitor online communities for stolen bike information, including:

Adding your bike to a national database of registered motorcycle owners or a database comprised entirely of bikes that have been stolen can help you track cycles that make it out of your county or state, but sometimes the thieves are locals.

5. Monitor online marketplaces

Keep a vigilant eye on popular online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace for any listings resembling your stolen motorcycle. Thieves often try to sell stolen goods quickly, and these platforms are popular choices for moving stolen property. If you spot your motorcycle listed for sale, promptly notify law enforcement to intervene.

6. Explore security footage

If your motorcycle was stolen from a location with security cameras, such as a parking garage or street with CCTV, reach out to the property owner or manager. Request access to the footage covering the time of the theft. Surveillance footage could provide valuable clues about the identity of the thief or the direction in which they fled.

7. Be patient and persistent

Recovering a stolen motorcycle can be a lengthy and challenging process. Regularly follow up with law enforcement and your insurance company for updates. Continue to engage with online communities and monitor relevant platforms for any potential leads. However, If your tracking device or clues lead you to the location of your bike, don't try to recover the bike on your own. Notify the officer or detective assigned to your case.

Illustration of a motorcycle with money and checkmark icons
Is your motorcycle properly covered?

Get a free insurance quote and compare options today.

Theft prevention tips

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the average recovery rate of stolen motorcycles is 40–50%. Take proactive steps today to prevent motorcycle theft and help minimize your risk of losing your bike.

  • Be cautious when parting with your ride. Park in well-lit areas, lock your ignition, and remove your keys. Consider additional deterrents like alarms or ground anchors, especially for overnight stays.

  • Lock your bike even when storing it in a garage. Use high-quality deterrents like steering locks, disc brakes, and GPS trackers. Adding an alarm system can further discourage potential thieves.

  • Keep an eye on your vehicle while leaving it idle. Riderless, running motorcycles are prime targets for thieves.

  • Never store your motorcycle title in the storage compartment. It's easily accessible to thieves and could hinder recovery if stolen. Keep it secure in a safe location at home.

  • Add and document unique markings on your motorcycle. If your bike is ever stolen, markings like VIN etching, custom decals, or paint modifications, can significantly increase the chances of its recovery.

Illustration of a shield with a checkmark
Protect your investment.

Protect your bike with motorcycle insurance

Don't leave your ride exposed—explore motorcycle insurance options to help you protect your investment. While comprehensive coverage for your motorcycle isn't required by your state, it can offer valuable financial protection in case of theft, vandalism, or other covered events.

At Dairyland® Insurance, a brand of the Sentry Insurance Group, we offer reliable, affordable coverages with flexible options to fit your budget and riding style. Contact us today to help you explore personalized coverages and experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're protected on the road.

Resource Center
A man and a woman looking over a used motorcycle
With knowledge and preparation, you can find a great used motorcycle at the right price. We can help. Check out these questions to ask when buying a used motorcycle with a downloadable PDF for easy reference.
Motorcycle parked on the side of a country road

From types of coverage to discounts to the factors that go into your insurance costs, we cover three key questions to ask before buying motorcycle insurance.

Parked motorcycle inside a garage and a man closing the garage door

For some motorcycle riders, winter is the end of the riding season. While the bike is stored away, they may be tempted to cancel their insurance coverage to save money. But that can be a gamble. We take a look at some of the things to consider first.

The general information in this blog is for informational or entertainment purposes only. View our blog disclaimer.

*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.