Bikers in and around London are most likely to be fall victim to thieves, new statistics show.
The chances of having your motorbike stolen are almost four times greater than the national average in the capital’s SW postcodes, according to new figures from Confused.com.
This covers areas such as Chelsea, Fulham, Battersea, and even the Queen’s residence at Buckingham Palace.
Here, nearly seven in every 100 quotes involved a rider whose bike had been stolen, or the victim of attempted theft.
The UK average is 1.7 per 100.
In south-east London, the bike crime rate is almost as high with 5.6 per cent of bikers in SE postcodes affected.
And in Romford, Essex, the theft rate was just under five per 100 machines in the previous five years.
The rate of theft in your local area is one of the factors that will have a strong bearing on the price of motorbike insurance you are charged.
Lower crime rates
In some smaller cities, however, the rate of motorbike theft appears to be much lower.
Bikers in Portsmouth reported the smallest incidence of crime, with just 0.3 per cent saying they had been victims of actual or attempted thefts within the previous five years.
The rate was fractionally higher in Peterborough, and 0.5 per cent per 100 in Canterbury.
The statistics, based on information from motorbike insurance quotes run through Confused.com, also reveal the parts of the country in which motorbike accidents were most common.
On average, just over four out of every 100 riders has been responsible for an accident in the past five years.
But in Stockport, Greater Manchester, the rate was more than four times higher, at 17 per 100 quotes.
Kingston-upon-Thames in Greater London has the next highest accident rate, at 10.5 per 100, while Dartford in Kent also has a rate greater than 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, in Swansea, the accident rate was just under 0.7 per 100. In Doncaster and Durham, it was slightly higher at around 0.9 per hundred.
Higher cost of cover
Alex Higgs, head of motorbike insurance at Confused.com, says that while the reasons for the variance in accident rates is unclear, the fact was that insurers would use this information when setting premiums.
"The differences we found are quite large, with someone in Stockport being 26 times more likely to have an accident that is their fault than someone in Swansea," he says.
"It could be reflection on the riders themselves, or it could be that those areas just have roads that are more predisposed to riders causing accidents, for example more sharp corners."
Higgs says that the accident and theft figures should give riders in the hot spots an extra incentive to try to cut their insurance costs.
Cut the cost of cover
- Put an alarm or other physical security in place. Not only will underwriters often give you a cheaper premium on your insurance this year, the decreased risk of theft means there’s less risk of next year's premium being inflated by an unfortunate claim.
- When you apply for insurance, ensure you have an accurate idea of the mileage you will be doing. While bikes are a big part of most riders’ lives, factors such as time constraints and weather mean that they often do far fewer miles than they expect. The lower your mileage, the cheaper your cover
- Don't necessarily be seduced by policies with added extras. While these can be good, extras such as breakdown or legal cover can be cheaper to buy separately.
- Make sure you have the level of cover most applicable to you. If your bike is kept off the road for more than half the year, look for policies where you may be able downgrade to third party fire and theft cover for the months when you aren't actually riding.