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Status Report, Vol. 42, No. 9 | SPECIAL ISSUE: MOTORCYCLES | September 11, 2007 Subscribe

Supersports dominate the worst list for theft losses

Supersport motorcycles are popular targets for thieves. This is the main finding of a new Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis of theft losses for 2002-06 model motorcycles.

"Supersport motorcycles own the field when it comes to elevated death rates and collision losses. The bikes also hold the distinction of being the most frequently stolen motorcycle," says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. "We found a strong correlation between motorcycle class and insurance losses, with supersports showing up time and again as having far higher losses than other types of motorcycles."

Supersports' overall theft losses, measured as average loss payments per insured vehicle year (a vehicle year is 1 vehicle insured for 1 year, 2 insured for 6 months each, etc.), averaged $246 for 2002-06 models. This is more than 7 times higher than the average for all motorcycles. Sport class motorcycles had the next highest overall theft losses at $55. In the other motorcycle classes, theft losses ranged from $13 to $18 per insured vehicle year. Although pricey touring motorcycles aren't stolen nearly as often as supersport bikes, they're usually loaded with upgrades and had the highest average loss payment per insurance claim for theft at $15,696.

The supersport class had a frequency of 31.8 theft claims per insured vehicle year. Compare this result with that of cruisers and touring motorcycles, which had the lowest theft claim frequency at 1.1 claims per insured vehicle year.

The supersport Honda CBR1000RR, a 1,000 cubic centimeter (cc) motorcycle, had the highest overall theft losses — more than 12 times the average for all motorcycles. Eight of the 10 models with the highest theft losses were supersports. The Suzuki Hayabusa, a 1,300 cc sport class motorcycle, was the only sport bike to rank among the 10 worst for theft. The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, a 1,450 cc cruiser, was the sole cruiser class motorcycle among the 10 with the worst theft losses.

Theft losses fall under the umbrella of comprehensive insurance, which covers vehicles against losses that don't occur in collisions such as damage from flood, fire, storms, vandalism, and animals. Theft losses account for about 65 percent of comprehensive losses.

Theft: relative overall losses by motorcycle class, 2002-06 models (100 = all-motorcycle result = $33)


Comprehensive: relative overall losses by motorcycle class, 2002-06 models (100 = all-motorcycle result = $52)


Because their theft losses are so high, supersports also had the highest overall comprehensive coverage losses among 2002-06 model bikes, with losses per insured vehicle year of $289, more than 5 times higher than the average for all motorcycles. Nine of the 10 motorcycles with the highest overall comprehensive losses were supersports. Scooters had the lowest overall losses per insured vehicle year of $17.

Supersport riders have high death rates

Supersport bikes are becoming increasingly popular, but motorcyclists who ride them have death rates 4 times higher than those who ride other types of motorcycles.

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