Bicycle Locks and Shed Padlocks

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08.10.20 at 2:10 pm

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We don’t want your bicycle to be stolen any more than you do. We also don’t want to impose silly conditions such as forcing you to D-lock your bicycle to something while inside a locked car. With this in mind, we thought it a good idea to explain a few things about bicycle locks, shed padlocks and general tips and tricks to beat the thieves.

We have put a lot of thought into our policy wording, considering what is practical and reasonable for our customers, and what will keep your bikes safe. Unfortunately, a determined thief will not be stopped by anything, so our job is ultimately to make life as difficult as possible for them.

I keep my bikes in my home with me.

The chances are that your home has a five-lever mortice deadlock on the front door, like the Yale and Chubb locks you see everywhere you go. There’s really nothing else you need to do, so long as the doors and windows are locked when you are out, and a thief has to physically break into the property. The same applies to a private hall of residence at university or a hotel room for up to 60 days at a time.

I keep my bikes in the garage or shed.

So long as the garage or shed is secure and within the bounds of your private property (i.e. no garages in your block of flats), then your bikes are covered. You will need to make sure that the lock on the doors meet our security requirements, or lock the bicycle to an immovable object using an appropriate Sold Secure rated bicycle lock.

The garage or shed should be secured by the same type of 5 lever mortice deadlock you have on the front door to your house. Alternatively, a closed shackle padlock will provide the same level of security. We ask that the padlock be rated by CEN (the Central European Norm) at grade 3 or better. CEN grade 3 padlocks are rated as medium to high security in their tests, but they aren’t as expensive or difficult to find as the higher grade locks. 

‘Closed shackle’ refers to the shape of the lock which makes it difficult to cut with bolt cutters or a saw.

For garages with an electric garage door if the garage door is Sold Secure Rated we would approve this as long as there is no externally accessible override.

For “Up and Over” Garage doors we would also approve a correctly installed floor-mounted garage defender or a pair of correctly installed Enfield Bolts.

A wooden shed should not have exposed or easily accessed hinges which can be unscrewed by a thief. There’s not much point in investing in a good quality lock if someone can simply undo the hinges with a screwdriver! Make sure you use bolts or security screws which cannot be undone from the outside.

If your garage or shed doesn’t have one of these locks on its door, then you will need to lock your bike separately to an immovable object with a bicycle lock. 

This should be something solid which cannot be undone or removed unless using extreme force. To defeat the immovable object, a thief would need to use power tools or other machinery, not simple hand tools such as a spanner. The immovable object must also form a closed loop that the bicycle lock can be passed through, so the bicycle and lock can’t just be lifted up over the top. 

If there isn’t something suitable in your shed or garage, you can buy ground anchors such as these which are easy to fit, and compatible with bicycle locks, or a product such as the Shed Shackle which work well in wooden and metal sheds.

If your bike is kept in a communal area such as the corridor of a flat or a communal bike shed, the bike must be locked through the frame to an immovable object with an approved bicycle lock. 

If you are installing a ground anchor or another immovable object, to meet our security requirements we would require you to secure it with a security device such as shear nuts or by blocking the Allen heads by hammering in ball bearings.

 Does it matter what type of bicycle lock I have?

how to use a bicycle lock

Just like any consumer product, there are good and bad, expensive and cheap, bicycle locks to choose from. Thieves know which locks are easy to open and which take longer, so investing in a good quality bicycle lock will make it harder for thieves to steal your bike. It might even deter them from trying in the first place.

We ask that you use bicycle locks rated as ‘Sold Secure’. They are easy to find in shops and online and have been tested and approved by a third party (the Master Locksmiths Association) as fit for purpose. 

If your bike is valued at less than £1500, a Sold Secure Silver Bicycle Lock is sufficient for us; a Sold Secure Gold Bicycle Lock is needed for bicycles which are worth £1500 or more. If you are not sure whether your current bicycle lock is rated Sold Secure, search the product description online or you can check here. The Sold Secure logo is usually very prominent on the lock packaging. 

When choosing a lock, it is also worth considering the style you are buying. As a rule of thumb, D-locks and chain and padlock style bicycle locks are better than cable locks. They are also seen as harder targets for would-be thieves. New company Litelok offer the lightest gold-rated lock on the market, which makes it the perfect marriage of carrying comfort and bicycle security. If you add a Litelok to the checkout while purchasing bicycle insurance, we’ll give you £10 off your insurance.

Wheels with quick-releases are not covered if a thief can simply undo the quick-release to remove them, leving the rest of your bicycle behind. TO secure your wheels, you should make sure the lock passes through the wheel, frame, and immovable object. 

Some D-locks come with extra cables attached to them. These “accessory” cables are NOT rated by Sold Secure, and should not be used to secure your bike. If a thief can steal your bicycle by cutting this cable without cutting the Sold Secure lock, your bike would not be covered by the policy. You must use the Sold Secure rated lock to secure your bicycle. 

If you need to make a theft claim, will will ask for proof of the lock you have used. We recommend finding the receipt now to make sure you have this if you need it. If you do not have a receipt for your lock, you can take a photograph of it with the keys to demonstrate that you own it. Thieves almost always take a cut lock away with them, so do not rely on finding a broken lock where you left your bicycle. 

 Look at our heatmap of theft hotspots in the UK here.

What about when I’m driving with my bike?

If your bike is inside your car with the doors locked, windows closed and alarm on, then we reckon you have taken all precautions to keep it safe. I have looked at plenty of insurers that require their customers to lock the bike to something inside the car; I struggle to think what I could actually lock my bike to. It’s best to try and cover your bike up with something just so it doesn’t stand out.

Bicycles on roof racks should be locked through the frame to the vehicle with your Sold Secure bicycle lock, or using the built-in locks which come with brands such as Thule. Bikes locked to car racks can only be left for a maximum of one hour so try not to spend too long at the service station café.

Please note, theft from a vehicle is not covered on our essential policy. 

What about an Ebike?

The two differences for an ebike are:

The Battery. This is covered for theft as long as it is secured, this often is simply the lock built into a battery holder. If the bike is being left in public for more than just a pop to the shops we would recommend taking the battery with you.

The Cycle Computer. Ebikes often have an easy to remove cycle computer to control the different settings. 

If a cycle computer or battery can be removed from the bicycle without the use of any tools or a key, they will not be covered for theft while the bicycle is locked up. 

What is abandonment?

Most bicycle insurance and home insurance policies will have an “abandonment” clause, and it’s very important to pay attention to how this could affect a claim.

Your bike is covered for theft while at your insured location (this could be your home, or a temporary residence such as a hotel room). Your bike is also covered while away from the insured location so long as you have followed the locking requirements above, but only for up to twelve hours at a time. 

Beyond twelve hours on Essentials and Performance, and eighteen hours on Ultimate, the bicycle would be considered ‘abandoned’, and no longer covered by the policy.

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