Bicycle theft – what type of insurance pays?


Whether it’s your new bike or your rucksack containing your notebook and mobile phone: having something stolen when you’re out and about is both an­noy­ing and a huge inconvenience. We explain what type of insurance covers the damage and what you need to do.

Bicycle theft is common

In Switzerland, 35,000 cases of bicycle theft are reported to the police each year. It’s safe to assume that around twice as many bikes are actually stolen. In industry jargon, bicycle theft, or the theft of a notebook, mobile phone, purse, wallet or camera, is known as ‘simple theft away from home’. Professional confidence tricksters are often behind it. Robbery, bag-snatching or burglary, on the other hand, frequently involve violence.

How much will the insurance pay?

That depends on what it says in your policy. You agree the precise sum insured when you take out the insurance.

For theft

When deciding on the sum insured, it’s best to ask yourself what combination of expensive items could be stolen from you outside the home. Like, all the things in your travel rucksack.

Don't forget: Include theft away from home as an optional add-on to your household contents insurance. Only then will the insurance pay if, for example, your bike gets stolen at the railway station.

For damage

The household contents accidental damage insurance option protects your bike if, for example, it overturns, or you crash and fall and the bike is damaged.

My bike has been stolen – what now?

Here’s what to do if your bicycle has been stolen:

  1. Report it: Report the theft of your bike to the police immediately. In most cantons, you can do so online or by phone.
  2. Required info: State the frame number, make and colour of your bike in your report.
  3. Notify your insurer: Let your household contents insurance provider know that your bike has been stolen. You need to give them the police report.

Submit your claim

Report the theft to the police immediately and then notify your provider of household contents insurance. Submit proof of purchase, photos and the police report.

Theft: Frequently Asked Questions

It’s always annoying when something gets stolen – and a huge inconvenience. Daniel Affentranger from the Special Insurance Competence Centre explains how CSS handles claims for theft.

Does a case of simple theft always have to be reported for the insurance to pay?

Yes. In addition to the claim notification form and the proof-of-purchase documents, we need an official report in order to settle the claim. Luckily, most cantons now make it really easy for people to report a theft by phone or online.

I can no longer find my purchase receipt. What should I do now?

You might be able to ask the seller for some form of confirmation. Otherwise, submit a written note of the make and model, stating the purchase year and price.

How much will my insurance pay for the stolen bike?

Bicycles are mostly stolen when you’re out and about, so you need supplementary insurance that includes cover for 'simple theft away from home'. The insurance always refunds the current new-for-old value of the stolen item. In the case of a bicycle, that could be more than what you originally paid. Notebooks and mobile phones, on the other hand, are more likely to lose some of their value after a few years.

I’m planning a cycle tour in France. Is this insurance also valid abroad?

Whether you’re on a cycle tour in France or travelling across the USA: supplementary insurance for simple theft away from home is valid even if your bike, mobile phone or other valuable items are stolen while you’re on holiday.

And what happens if all the family’s bikes are stolen at the same time?

If all the bikes are stolen at the same time, it counts as a single event. In this case, the maximum sum for theft away from home applies: so, for example, if the sum of CHF 4,000 has been insured, the insurance will pay a maximum of CHF 4,000 for all four bikes together, minus any agreed retention fee. That means it’s important to regularly review the sum insured, and adjust it if necessary.

Tips and tricks

Preventing bicycle theft is difficult. If the thief is determined to pick a lock, they’ll usually succeed. But there are some steps you can take. The tips at a glance:

  • Keep your bike in a locked or monitored room if possible (basement, garage, storage room, bike station, etc.).
  • Don’t just lock your bike – attach it to a bike rack, pole or railing.
  • Enter your bike in a private register like Velofinder or Suisse Velo (may incur a fee).
  • Keep your receipt somewhere you can find it easily, so that you don’t have to waste time searching for it if your bike gets stolen.

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