States With the Highest Motorcycle Theft Rates
1. South Carolina
14.7 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
With winding country roads and average temperatures in the mid-50s throughout winter, South Carolina is generally a great place for motorcycle riders. However, the Palmetto State also has the highest motorcycle theft rate in the country, at nearly three times the national average of 5.1 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles.
11.3 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
Nevada's famously warm weather and fantastic riding destinations—such as Red Rock Canyon State Park—make it one of the best states in the country for motorcycle owners. However, Nevada riders should make sure they lock up their bikes. In 2017, there were more motorcycles stolen in Nevada than there were in both Oregon and Idaho combined.
9.4 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
With sunny skies and wide-open roads, the state of Texas is ideal for year-round motorcycle riders. However, Texas motorcycle riders should be aware that motorcycles in Texas are stolen at nearly twice the rate of the national average. This high rate of theft would be part of the reason why Texas has the second-highest average cost of motorcycle insurance in the country.
9.2 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
Though Missouri has strict laws for motorcycle riders—it is one of 19 states that requires all riders to wear a helmet—it also has one of the highest rates of motorcycle thefts in the country. In 2017, about 250% more motorcycle thefts occurred in Missouri than in Illinois, despite having less than half as many registered motorcycles.
9.1 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
California is the home to some of most famous roads in the country for riders, such as the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. There are more registered motorcycle owners in California than in any other state. However, it also had the most thefts of any state, accounting for 17% of all motorcycle thefts in the U.S.
6. New Mexico
9.0 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
New Mexico is one of the top destinations in the country for motorcycle riders, with many believing the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos to be a rite of passage for bikers in the U.S. But it's not all good in the Land of Enchantment for motorcycle riders. The motorcycle theft rate in New Mexico is 77% higher than the national average and 82% greater than neighboring Utah.
9.0 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
Though it has the lowest rate of motorcycle ownership in the country—with approximately nine registered bikes per 1,000 residents—more bikes were stolen in Mississippi than in 15 other states. Because of this, Mississippi riders should take care to always properly secure their motorcycles and make sure they have a full-coverage motorcycle insurance policy, which protects against thefts.
8. North Carolina
8.4 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
In 2017, there were more than 1,600 motorcycle thefts in the state of North Carolina. While this is among the highest in the nation, the Tar Heel State does have something they can brag about. Its motorcycle theft rate is 46% lower than neighboring South Carolina.
7.7 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
Arkansas is a great place for both motorcycle owners looking for winding roads through scenic countrysides and dual-sport riders looking to ride off-road. Though, at the same time, motorcycles in Arkansas are stolen at a rate that is 51% higher than the nationwide average.
7.5 thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles
Florida's warm winters make it the ideal state for motorcycle owners who want to ride year-round. As a result of this, the Sunshine State has more than 580,000 registered motorcycles. Florida is fairly unique, in that it is one of two states that does not require motorcyclists to have liability insurance. But because of its high theft rate, it would be wise for motorcycle owners to purchase comprehensive coverage.
How to Prevent Your Motorcycle From Being Stolen
Having your motorcycle stolen is not only frustrating; it can also be extremely costly without the right motorcycle insurance. Below, we've included a breakdown of some of the best ways to prevent motorcycle thieves from riding off with your bike.
Disabling devices: Installing a disabling device—or kill switch—can keep potential thieves from starting or getting too far with your bike. These devices prevent your bike from running or starting under certain conditions. For example, if a thief hotwires your bike, a disabling device can remotely shut off your bike's engine, preventing the thief from getting away with your ride.
Motorcycle tracking systems: Tracking systems use GPS or radio signals to help law enforcement officials locate your stolen bike. Some systems will even automatically notify you via your phone if someone rides off with your bike. These systems are the most commonly recognized anti-theft devices by insurers that may offer you a discount on your insurance premiums.
Disc locks, U-locks and chains: Making sure your motorcycle is secure and difficult to move is one of the simplest things you can do to make sure it isn't stolen. There's a bevy of products that can be used for this, but be sure to pick a quality item. Cheap locks and chains can be easily cut or broken.
How Comprehensive Coverage Can Protect You From Motorcycle Theft
Having a motorcycle insurance policy that includes comprehensive coverage can go a long way in terms of getting you back on to the road after your bike is stolen. This coverage will pay out toward a new motorcycle if yours is stolen and also covers repairs if your bike is vandalized or damaged by a fire or storm.
Comprehensive coverage can pay to repair or replace your motorcycle up to its market value minus your deductible—which is the amount you have to pay for a covered claim before your insurance kicks in. Just note that custom parts or features that add value to your bike often aren't reflected in your insurer's valuation of your bike. To make sure you are fully covered if you have a customized bike, you should purchase a custom motorcycle insurance policy, which operates on an agreed value.
If you are a seasonal rider and your bike is in storage for several months of the year, it is still very important to maintain comprehensive coverage. This will protect you from damage that may occur to your bike while it is stored, or if it is stolen from your garage or storage unit.
And if your motorcycle has a lot of accessories—such as a fairing, saddle bag or luggage rack—you may have to purchase accessory coverage in addition to comprehensive coverage. Some insurers may automatically include a certain amount of accessory coverage, while others offer it as an optional add-on.
Complete List of States and Their Motorcycle Theft Rates
|State||Registered motorcycles per 1,000 residents||Thefts per 1,000 registered motorcycles|
We compiled motorcycle theft data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and compared it to the number of registered motorcycles in a given state, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. For both sources, we used the most recent data available.