Free Bike Protection Is Neither Free Nor Protects All Bikes

Brian bought a new bike lock recently. What led him to purchase a nice, expensive lock from On Guard was the package’s promise that the lock came with insurance—if his bike was stolen while using the lock, the company would pay for a replacement. He asked a salesperson, who verified the information. Sweet! Then he went online to register his new lock, and learned how the bike lock “protection” really works.

I recently bought an expensive bike lock because the package clearly indicates that the bike lock offers “protection of up to $1501 for bicycles” (see attached pic). The salesperson assured me that this was a legitimate offer and that if I had my bike stolen, all I had to do was make a claim, and would be compensated in full. I bought the lock despite being skeptical of the theft protection guarantee. After getting home, I went to the lock’s website to register the lock, and found these restrictions:

1. To make a claim, you must have original bike lock receipt
2. “This limited anti-theft program offer is not to be construed as insurance.”
3. It is void in New York
4. You must mail in a registration form to Todson, and mail it in within 15 days of purchasing the lock.
5. The coverage is void if the accompanying chain was cut (only the U lock)
6. A receipt of the stolen bike (“or if your sales receipt is not available, a signed and dated appraisal of your motorsport vehicle/bicycle by a reputable authorized dealer on that dealer’s business stationery.” Which of course would have to be done within 15 days of buying the lock)
7. This coverage is not free, you must pay for it
8. The coverage is void if “Torches, battery operated tools or power tools were used to open the lock.”
9. You must file a police report within 72 hours
10. Must notify Todson by certified mail within 7 days of the theft
11. Must send in your broken lock
12. “Todson reserves the right to deny claims that it cannot substantiate or that it deems to be false, misleading, or fraudulent.”

Those are the restrictions in Brian’s words, but that’s how the program works. What’s most curious is the pricing scheme:

If you qualify for the anti-theft program, you may purchase one (1) year of coverage for $1.00 (USD); two (2) years for $10.00 (USD);(3) years for $15.00 (USD).

Now, this post isn’t to criticize the company for having the program in the first place, since it’s interesting marketing, even if it’s a bit of a hassle. The question is, how many of these limitations are disclosed on the back of the package? The “void in New York” thing, for example, would be nice to know. The front reads “Anti-Theft Protection Offer,” emphasis mine. That implies that you have to pay for it.

Should Brian have checked the offer more closely before letting it affect his purchasing decision? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier just to buy actual insurance on his bike?

Registration [OnGuardLock Blog]

Comments

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  1. outlulz says:

    I have one of those for Kryptonite Locks. Similar terms of the policy but it also says that your bike must also be insured and you have to submit proof that you notified your insurance company when you file a claim.

    • hegemonyhog says:

      @outlulz: At a certain point, aren’t you basically shelling out a substantial portion of the money that it would cost to buy a new bike?

      • temporaryerror says:

        @hegemonyhog:
        Used to be that supposedly you could open Krytonite locks with a ball point pen barrel…

        • SetDipSwitchesTo_GitEmSteveDave says:

          @temporaryerror: Yeah, their tube cylinders. They fixed that about 2+years ago, AFAIK.

          • bairdwallace says:

            @KeepingTheForeName_GitEmSteveDave: Yeah, I think you can still contact them and mail in the old tube cylinder, and they will replace it with the non bic pen breakable cylinder. You hold onto the U shaped piece, they mail you the cylinder, you keep your bike in the house while you wait for them to get the new cylinder to you.

      • Charles Duffy says:

        @hegemonyhog: High-end bikes get expensive. If their $1501 limit were several times higher (and there weren’t an exclusion for locks opened with the use of tools), I would be thinking about buying their lock and “insurance”, even with the limitations as they are.

        As it is, I don’t bring the bike places I can’t take it inside.

        • David Brodbeck says:

          @Charles Duffy: It’s kinda sad, isn’t it? Sometimes I drive places I could bike to just because finding a secure way to park a bike is such a hassle. With a car you just lock the doors and go.

        • Corporate_guy says:

          @Charles Duffy: The fact that you need the broken lock makes this useless. You are completely reliant on the thief leaving the lock behind. If they take it with them you can’t make a claim.

          • JiminyChristmas says:

            @Corporate_guy: True. Bike thieves often cut through what your bike is locked to and take your bike and its lock somewhere else to work on at their leisure.

          • silver-bolt says:

            @Corporate_guy: Why would a thief take a broken lock?

            • Trai_Dep says:

              @silver-bolt: A sense of professionalism.

            • anduin says:

              @silver-bolt:
              don’t leave behind evidence that could be used against him ? fingerprints, dna, whatever could get on that thing and incriminate him otherwise if nobody saw him then what do you have to go on ?

            • mizike says:

              @silver-bolt: I’ve heard stories of theives taking the broken locks for purposes of filing an insurance claim (as both kryptonite and onguard stipulate you have to send in the broken lock). Don’t know how this would be worth their time as there are so many other hoops to jump through to make a claim, but it’s at least a potential reason for you.

          • Charles Duffy says:

            @Corporate_guy: “May or may not result in a claim” is not “worthless”; it’s all a matter of playing the percentages.

            Personally, I buy all-perils inland marine insurance for my bike — it’s expensive, sure, but by using it as my exclusive commute vehicle I make the money back by buying my car insurance priced per mile and driving very little.

    • Skunky says:

      @outlulz: I only buy Kryptonite locks, after all, I don’t want Superman stealing my stuff.

    • Tim says:

      @outlulz: I just bought a Kryptonite lock a few weeks ago and was slightly disappointed to see all of the restrictions. I just didn’t bother with it; too much of a hassle.

  2. rockasocky says:

    Seeing as you can only cut through the OnGuard locks with a torch, they’re basically saying they only cover thefts done by crazy master lockpickers.

    • silver-bolt says:

      @rockasocky: I’m surprised that it doesn’t ban lockpick events. Masterlock does.

      • veronykah says:

        @silver-bolt: So what, they only cover you if you forget to LOCK the locK?
        How else would someone steal a bike if they don’t torch, drill, cut or pick it off?

        • Kogenta says:

          @veronykah: Seems like it covers manual labour removal. So I suppose if someone sat there all day with a hand saw, or a pair of really big bolt cutters and sliced the lock you may have a case for coverage.

          I wonder at what point it becomes easier to cut through whatever you’ve locked the bike to rather than the lock itself.

        • silver-bolt says:

          @veronykah: Masterlock will cover someone cutting thru or breaking the lock itself, not any chain attached to the lock. Not properly locking (or forgetting to lock the lock) the lock, or attaching it to an unremovable post, or removing it in a way not violating or breaking the lock is not covered. Lockpicking and using a key or bump key is not covered. So basically, physically break the lock (I think guns are included). Nice thing is that New Yorkers get a real 1500 dollar insurance instead of a flimsy guaranteed by Masterlock.

          [www.masterlockcycle.com]

          The OP lock company pretty much discludes everything, and I’m figuring they will just say that any lock that was bumped or lockpicked was just improperly lock or left unlocked, without specifically mentioning it.

        • lordargent says:

          @veronykah:

          Shaped Charges

        • mariospants says:

          @veronykah: In which case they’d deny you for “operator error”.

        • TexasP says:

          @veronykah: Two methods:
          1) freeze the lock and whack it with a hammer;
          2) use a car jack to pry it apart.

    • silver-bolt says:

      @rockasocky: Hell, all retail business insurances do not cover events that include lockpicking or keybumping or lost keys.

      • bigroblee says:

        @silver-bolt: @rockasocky: My neighbor lost the key to his. I cut through it with my Dremel tool in less than three minutes. Did someone else’s Kryptonite lock once in even less time. Dremel for the win!

    • mizike says:

      @rockasocky: TexasP is right, the most common way that u-locks are broken is through use of a “mini-jack”, which can force one open in a few seconds. This is why those commercials you see that say things like “takes 2 hours to cut through with a hacksaw” are plain misdirection; the lock companies know what methods will break their locks, they make you think some nonsense method that would never actually work is a tangiable threat that they’ll insure you against, while praying you don’t do any research to find out what the actual threats you should be worrying about are (which they conveniently won’t cover).

    • DeborahJackal says:

      @rockasocky: @rockasocky:

      I had an OnGuard lock while I was in boston, the key broke off inside the lock. They sent a locksmith out, he pulled out a 6 inch grind disc they use for autobody work. He went through the lock in about 45 seconds – 1 minute.

      They aren’t just vulnerable to picking…. any grinding tool will eat through the metal quickly. It will be loud, sure, but most people in boston would just look the other way if it were an actual theft.

  3. Anonymous says:

    aside from paying for it, and the void in New York or if power tools are used, this is pretty standard. My Kryptonite lock came with a similar offer and similar restrictions. If you don’t have a receipt for/appraisal of your bike, and proof that the lock failed (i.e. the broken lock to send in), what’s to stop someone from buying a $50 lock and then turning around and saying it failed and their $1500 lock was stolen?

  4. rpm773 says:

    Dear thief, if you are stealing my bike..
    – Please don’t cut the chain
    – Please don’t use torches, battery operated tools or power tools to open the lock
    – Please leave the shattered remains of the lock on the ground nearby where I may find them.

    This will facilitate my dealing with the bike lock company when I ask them to process my “anti-theft” claim, whatever it means by that.

    Signed,
    Victim.

    • Chols says:

      @rpm773:

      Reminds me of cardboard in people’s busted out windows that read “Please don’t steal my stuff”.

    • Radi0logy says:

      @rpm773: Reminds me of an old kids in the hall sketch, where Bruce McCullough is reading an “Open letter to the guy that stole my bicycle wheel”

      Well, don’t you think I need that wheel? Well, well, what were you thinking? JERK!

  5. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    The restrictions make it too difficult to file a claim. I’m not a bike thief, but it would seem the easiest way to break any lock is with a torch or power tool.

    I would get a good home owners or renters policy that covers bicycles. Or as I did in college, own a separate cheap bicycle for commuting that I didn’t care if it got ripped off.

    • Nytmare says:

      @Bluth_Cornballer: Or cutting the chain, especially.

    • subtlefrog says:

      @Bluth_Cornballer: Low end, high end, doesn’t matter what we use for commuting – our problem is a ring of bike thieves running through the neighborhood. My low-end Trek was taken from my locked garage, where it was stored locked down (as were many of the neighbors’ bikes in the area of varying values). I filed a police report, but no insurance claim because it ends up below my insurance deductible, and so why go through the hassle for no pay off? In general, unless you have a very high end bike, or very low deductible this is likely to be the case…They’ve hit my garage more than once already – we don’t feel like providing a steady stream of bikes to the thieves, so we’ve stopped biking in…

      Of course, if you have a very high end bike, I’d think it worthwhile to insure the crap out of it. But I live in LA where everything gets ripped off.

      • heltoupee says:

        @subtlefrog: Spend a few nights in the garage with a 12-guage shotgun loaded with rock salt. Guarantee you that if those thieves stop by then, they won’t stop by again.

        • subtlefrog says:

          @heltoupee: While I do like the way you think, ideas like this are exactly why (rock salt or no) I shouldn’t own a gun. Well, this and my occasional case of road rage. But, again, I live in LA.

          • anduin says:

            @subtlefrog:
            yea good idea not owning a gun, helts idea is full of holes. Had a friend do that once to a would be thief and then like a week later the nut returned with his own gun ready to start a war in the yard, cops arrived, he surrendered, wasn’t a pretty site.

        • Firethorn says:

          @heltoupee: Never load with rock salt. If you’re justified to shoot them with rock salt, you’re justified to shoot them with lead(or other dense metal of choice).

          Subtlefrog – As far as I’m concerned, every adult who’s not otherwise disqualified should own a gun.

          I’d consider a screecher alarm though. It sounds like it wouldn’t take 2-3 days to get intruders, more like a couple months.

      • gttim says:

        @subtlefrog: Bikes do not belong in a garage. They belong in the dinning room or spare bedroom, in a climate controlled home. If I travel and leave bikes at home, I lock them together. When I travel with my bike to races, it gets locked to hotel furniture. One may get stolen, but the f%ckers will work for it.

  6. IndyJaws says:

    Did this pop into anyone else’s head?…

    Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball.

    Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

    Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which if exposed due to rupture should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

    Do not use Happy Fun Ball on concrete.

    Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs:

    * Itching

    * Vertigo

    * Dizziness

    * Tingling in extremities

    * Loss of balance or coordination

    * Slurred speech

    * Temporary blindness

    * Profuse Sweating

    or

    * Heart palpitations

    If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.

    Happy Fun Ball may stick to certain types of skin.

    When not in use, Happy Fun Ball should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration.

    Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Ball, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability.

    Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

    Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is also being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

    Happy Fun Ball comes with a lifetime guarantee.

  7. Chols says:

    I love how it comes with a cable but if the cable is broken ($15 pair of bolt cutters from Lowe’s would do the trick) the “guarantee” is void.

    I hope you were able to get a refund on that if you don’t agree on the multitude of terms.

  8. SetDipSwitchesTo_GitEmSteveDave says:

    If you really want to be afraid, try picking the lock on a “security key” lock. I did and they are all pretty easy, and sometimes your heart drops. I think the old saying that locks only stop the curious rings very true.

  9. Tim says:

    Well, remember how insurance works. It’s like Vegas: the house always wins.

    So the company most likely did a big cost-benefit analysis, which included factors such as:

    - The amount of money they would earn from people buying the coverage
    - The increased sales of the locks because people think “oo insurance!”
    - The number of people who would actually do everything required to get the coverage
    - The number of thefts that would happen to bikes that actually have the coverage
    - Etc.

    Keep in mind that there’s a good chance it works like some health insurance companies: If you did something wrong when you signed up (e.g. pre-existing conditions that you didn’t tell them about), they don’t tell you immediately, they tell you AFTER you’ve paid for everything and you actually need the coverage.

    So remember: the house always wins.

    • SetDipSwitchesTo_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @TCama: You’re right. And here I am cold-decking Teen Beat cover boys.

    • calquist says:

      @TCama: Exactly. People look at the offer and think “wow! in order for them to offer that kind of insurance, this lock has to be pretty f-ing awesome or they would lose a lot of money!” then they buy it never really intending to get the insurance.

    • XTC46 says:

      @TCama: actually, with healthcare, if they determine they will not treat you due to a known pre exisiting condition, they usually have to refund you the money that you have paid. The cant not provide a service and keep the money.

    • wagnerism says:

      @TCama:

      That sounds like narrarator’s/Rupert’s accident-to-recall calculation in Fight Club.

  10. shepd says:

    The subscription prices remind me of an old riddle:

    A builder built a new set of houses for people. But he forgot an important item for the first three of the houses and, of course, the people buying the houses demanded he fix it! The pricing was as such:

    Five – $1
    Fifty – $2
    Five Thousand – $4

    The builder bought the items for the customers missing them. His total cost for everything was $3.

    What did the builder buy?

  11. sharkzfanz says:

    Where does it say FREE insurance? Or Where on the package does it promise that the lock came with insurance? All I see is “Anti Thief Protection Offer” What that means to me is there is a offer for protection inside which is what it came with….

    Am I off base? Was it somewhere else on the package..?

  12. AI says:

    This is exactly the way it is with ‘The Club’ as well. When I had someone steal my vehicle, I went to purchase a club. There were 3 models, a black one, a red one, and a silver one, all the same brand of ‘The Club’. Other than the colour, they seemed to be identical, except for the ‘deductible’ guarantee they came with. In the event your vehicle was stolen, they would pay your deductible, the $35 black one up to $250, the $50 red one up to $500, and the $65 silver one up to $1000. However when I researched the specifics, they had this exact same bullshit for conditions. I had to have a certified letter from my insurance company, I had to keep the receipt, I had to have a police report, I had to register the club, it wasn’t valid in Quebec, etc etc etc etc. Since my deductible was only $250 anyways, I didn’t feel like doing $250 worth of labour running around and mailing stuff to get it covered under their coverage. I’d rather just go to my normal job. I ended up buying the red one because it was red and more visible as a deterrent.

    • LastError says:

      @AirIntake: The Club is useless. You got duped. How? Why? When a pro wants to steal a car with a Club in it, they merely cut a gap in the steering wheel (usually just plastic) and pop the Club right off. It is incredibly quick and easy to do, takes only seconds and never fails to work. No matter what color it is, a Club is NO deterrent to a car thief or airbag thief. It just makes them laugh at the silly attempt to protect the car.

      In some cases the device can be removed without cutting. Either way it’s not hard.

      A law enforcement expert once told me, the only thing the Club IS good for is using it to beat the snot out of the car thief if you are lucky enough catch them in the act, and even then, you are better off with a baseball ball or a brick.

  13. LiC says:

    That’s sooo stupid. Most of the scenes of aftermaths of bike theft that I’ve seen are because the person who locked up the bike was stupid and only put the chain/lock through the front tire. Or just the rear tire, depending on the bike.

    Hey hey, does the warranty cover if your bike seat is stolen? that’s a popular option too.

    • CaffiendCA says:

      @LiC: Some motherfucker stole my Cannodale moutain bike, and the only thing I found was the seat. It was tossed in bush down the street. And it was just the stupid stock seat, so it isn’t like I’d be able to ID it from the seat!

    • Tankueray says:

      @LiC: I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked through downtown Austin and seen just front wheels locked to the bike racks. Who needs to carry around a cutting tool when you can just slip a wrench in your pocket.

      I’ve also seen bikes locked up with the front wheel removed, presumably by the owner, to deter theft. If the guys that leave the tire behind are willing to carry a bike missing a wheel, wouldn’t the thieves that break the lock on the tireless bike be willing to do the same?

      • anduin says:

        @Tankueray:
        Ive seen the wheels but around here people actually tend to lock the wheel and take the frame inside sometimes…doesnt make sense, why not take the wheels too!

  14. Skin Art Squared says:

    Ultra thick logging chain. Worked for my motorcycle. Although, the chain will probably weigh three times the bicycle.

    • SetDipSwitchesTo_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @BZMedia: What grade? Even 70 will fail to a bolt cutter. Especially if it is round. You need square or hex to really fight cutters.

  15. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    It’s void in New York because New York state has some of the strictest laws regarding insurance. While the instructions claim it shouldn’t be regarded as insurance, under their law (and, well, common freakin’ sense), it IS insurance.

    The other pitfalls would never fly by anything governed by any state’s department of insurance for actual insurance carriers… it’s just that NY’s law makes it clear that if you’re offering insurance, even while shaking your head with a smile and saying it isn’t insurance, then you’re an insurer and are subject to, you know, law.

  16. wickedpixel says:

    1. purchase coverage from onGuard
    2. bike gets stolen in such a way that the terms are invalidated (broken chain, use of power tools, thief takes the lock with him, etc)
    3. buy new onGuard lock
    4. beat the shit out of it with a hammer until it breaks
    5. profit?

  17. I Love New Jersey says:

    Void in New York? Makes it worthless.

  18. holocron says:

    This illustrates a problem with the type of insurance available in the US. Given the expansion of bicycle riding, it needs to be addressed. I have yet to find a specific insurance program that will cover a bicycle under anything but the home/renter/personal property insurance. And I have yet that will allow a specific rider for the bicycle.

    What is need, which they have is many other countries, is bicycle insurance that is akin to an auto policy.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @holocron: Why? How expensive is your bike? Most people aren’t riding bikes that cost more than a couple thousand dollars, tops. It’s hardly worth insuring something like that. I don’t carry theft insurance on my car for the same reason; its blue book value is only about $1500, so before long I’d have paid in more in premiums than I’d get if the insurance company totaled it. Since bikes are even easier to steal than cars, I suspect the premiums would be even more out of proportion to the payoff.

      • eddieck says:

        @David Brodbeck: I think the major point of a bike insurance policy is not only the bike itself, but rather for hospital bills for yourself, or if you run over a pedestrian on your bike, or even if you dent up a car.

  19. kepler11 says:

    Well of course the company is going to have some sort of restriction on claims against its effectiveness. Otherwise people would be mailing in claims with situations where no lock would have ever helped — and this policy is to bolster their claims that their particular brand of lock is better — not that it is infallible.

    So of course, if you leave your bike out in the open, unmonitored and unprotected for 2 weeks, and someone has the time and effort to attack it with a blowtorch, jaws of life, etc, then the company is not going to buy you a new bike. No lock would have prevented that.

    And if the lock is gone with the bike, then there’s no proof that the lock failed and that was the reason your bike was stolen.

    Many of the remaining requirements are to verify that you have “standing” to receive the coverage — i.e. you own the lock and the bike, and it was your bike that was stolen from you. Any insurance has that requirement (although “this is not to be construed as an insurance policy”).

    In the end, the trouble you have to go to in order to be covered practically by this policy is a reminder that the safety of your bike is not really something that can be guaranteed or left to a lock to ensure.

    • Tim says:

      @kepler11: the safety of your bike is not really something that can be guaranteed or left to a lock to ensure.

      Then what’s the purpose of a lock?

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @TCama: You don’t have to guarantee your bike can’t be stolen, just make it harder to steal than the next bike over.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @TCama: As said above, to keep honest people honest.

      • Alessar says:

        @TCama: Locking up your bike with a basic chain will keep someone from walking up, hopping on, and riding off. If someone really wants to steal your bike they will drive up with a pickup truck and an accomplice in back with bolt cutters or better, snip the chain and throw it in the truck and drive off taking only a minute to do so.

        In my opinion, a cheap $6 cable+lock is adequate for locking up your bike while you stop at the cafe to relax. At home, bring the bike inside.

  20. kepler11 says:

    another thing companies could do to pre-empt stories like this is to put simple explanations after each line, which would make their policy if not more justified, at least understandable:

    1. To make a claim, you must have original bike lock receipt. (we have to know that you actually bought this lock)

    9. You must file a police report within 72 hours (we need to have proof that the bike was stolen).

    11. Must send in your broken lock (we have to be able to see that it was the lock that failed and was the cause of your bike being stolen).

    etc.

    • LastError says:

      @kepler11: How are you supposed to send in the lock if the thief takes the lock too?

      My bike was stolen. The thief took the bike, the chain, the lock, everything. There was nothing left.

      • kepler11 says:

        @LastError: The only way the company can operate is to require proof that the lock failed.

        If the thief made off with the bike+lock, how is anyone to know whether you just didn’t lock the bike to something? How can the lock company protect against people who lose their bikes because they only lock the bike to itself? That’s not the lock’s failure, is it? All of those people could claim the lock didn’t work if this were allowed.

        The point is that anyone, even you or I, who made such a product and warranted it against failure, would be careful to extend coverage only to when it could be shown that the lock failed under reasonable circumstances, with proof. How else could you do business?

  21. GuidedByLemons says:

    8. The coverage is void if “Torches, battery operated tools or power tools were used to open the lock.”

    As far as I can tell the other conditions are a smokescreen, because this one alone makes the coverage completely worthless. I wouldn’t pay a dollar for coverage under condition 8 even without all the other restrictions.

  22. RobertBaron says:

    The headline should read: “Bike Protection Offer doesn’t Protect All Bikes” since no where is it implied the service is a free service.

  23. Michael Breese says:

    I bought an onguard lock, one of the main reasons why is because it came with a warranty, I assumed they really believed in their product if they were willing to back it up, I feel a little ripped off after reading this.

  24. KingPsyz says:

    Not like it takes a power tool to break these locks… the design is so flawed it amazes me that people still buy them…

    I had a kryptonite key jam on me and in frustration tossed a stray brick at the lock… it opened wider than Lohan on a coke bender.

    Can’t do that to a regular master lock…

  25. SacraBos says:

    All bicycles weigh 50 lbs.

    A 20 lb. bike needs a 30 lb. chain.
    A 35 lb. bike needs a 15 lb. chain.
    A 50 lb. bike doesn’t need a chain.

  26. NumberFourtyThree says:

    Honestly with those conditions I’d be very surprised if they ever had to pay out on even one policy.

  27. vastrightwing says:

    Insurance? bahhh! Locks? Too expensive! I buy bikes no one wants to steal. That’s my insurance & if someone does steal it, I buy another cheap bike.

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @vastrightwing: I had an old Schwinn LeTour stolen off my patio, once. I couldn’t believe it; it really didn’t look like anything worth taking. I was only out $50 but I was sad to lose that bike.

  28. jpdanzig says:

    I think this “anti-theft protection offer” is useless, given all the restrictions.

    Yet another game of corporate flim-flam…

  29. chrisdag says:

    I’m a fan of onguard – I use their heavy duty hex chain (supposed to be harder to wedge a cutting tool into a link) as well as one of their high end ulocks for a vespa scooter.

    I’m also a realist – the chain and the lock are basically just deterrents designed to send the thief looking for a slightly easier target. At the end of the day it is tough to protect against someone who is skilled and determined.

  30. WraithSama says:

    Seeing as how the protection coverage offer is a key selling point for the product, I find it highly questionable that the myriad limitations and exclusions are not readily available before paying for the product.

    You should be able to get your money back in full, if you so choose, after learning of these exclusions. I seem to recall someone winning a lawsuit because a software company wouldn’t let someone return a product that was opened because the terms and conditions you have to accept to use the software weren’t disclosed prior to purchase. So apparently, at least some courts agree.

  31. nybiker says:

    I am going to make a couple of suggestions:

    1. The best lock is your set of eyes. If you can’t see it, then don’t leave it there (locked or not). As others have said, a lock will just slow somebody down, which is good, but not perfect. Make the thief go to the next bike. Just like The Club folks said when their stuff came out years ago.

    2. If you want to take your bike with you into a place, you can’t show up with a regular road bike. Get a folding bike. Bike Friday is one brand. There are others. If you go to [www.galfromdownunder.com] you can read about her adventures with the Bike Friday bike she has. She goes everywhere with it (even Cuba).

    I realize that my comments may not apply to everyone. I’m just offering them. And, I do not work for Bike Friday. But I do know the Gal From Down Under.

    • redkamel says:

      people buy locks for expensive bikes? I keep mine in sight, on site, and with a mini lock. If you have an expensive bike, you should never lock it outside, unless you absolutely must. But if you are a commuter I guess you have to…

      I would like to agree and add one thing to nybikers advice

      3. The safest place to put your bike is next to a nicer bike, or one of somewhat equal value, preferably with a worse lock.@nybiker:

  32. Shel Tozer-Kilts says:

    Then you have an idiot for an insurance agent. Such an endorsement does indeed exist, and I know that it does because the company I work for offers such an endorsement. And my company is a dinky local company.

  33. geoffhazel says:

    I had a bike stolen that was locked with a standard Master lock, locked to a pole with a department store chain. They cut the lock, not the chain. With bolt cutters. I wrote to Master Lock and they said “Sorry, but them’s the breaks. If a thief wants a bike he will cut what he needs to, including the bike.” (c’mon, how dumb is that!)

    I don’t even recall getting a new lock out of the deal.

  34. pollyannacowgirl says:

    What do bicycle thieves do with the bikes they steal? Chop ‘em up for parts? Re-sell them?

    Is there a market for hot bikes?

  35. Amy Alkon000 says:

    When I lived in NYC, I painted my 10-speed bike hot pink with hot orange leopard spots, and attached a bunch of hot pink plastic flowers to it. And then locked it with a Kryptonite lock. I’m convinced, though, that the way it looked had a whole lot to do with the fact that for about 10 years I wrote it everywhere, and never had it stolen.

  36. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Years ago I bought a new CCM bike in Canada and it came with (free) $200 theft insurance. The bike was stolen a week later and CCM only needed a police report before they processed a replacement bike. Canadians are so trusting.

  37. NinjaPoo says:

    From what I remeber these schemes are not proper insurance for the theft of your bike but rather compensenation for lock failure. They are sure that their locking mechanism technology is sound and are putting money where their mouth is so to speak.
    Which is why they need to have the lock to see where it broke.
    This is also why they have the clause regarding the chain being cut. Its hardly fair that they pay for your bike if a really cheap chain was used and the bike stolen through no fault of the lock itself.
    I think the “void in New York” clause is also due to state laws as when you sign up for Kryptonites offer its actually a real insurance policy and other companies may not want to set this up.

    When I bought my bike and lock this was explained to me (passion trails is a great place to get a bike) and I think it should have been done so better in this case too.

    I don’t think there was anything inherently dishonest here just be aware that you are paying for a scheme which protects not against your bike being stolen but the lock failing. And given that there are much easier ways to still a bike than busting the lock makes these schemes pretty useless.

  38. eXo says:

    so unless the thief leaves your busted up lock behind, your screwed. in the event the bike and lock are stolen, you can claim nothing.

    ridiculous.

  39. italianscallion33 says:

    I think the restrictions are kind of necessary on the company’s part. If they’re willing to replace up to a $1501 bike without all that proof, then tons of people would be getting their bike “stolen” and asking for a really expensive replacement bike they didn’t own.

    But there should have been a giant asterisk, and all the terms, somewhere on the outside of the package or online where it would be purchased.

  40. MarginalMeaning says:

    OnGuard locks are horrible, they jam all the frigging time. I had a Onguard lock/chain for my moped to lock up, it cost about 80 dollars, and after 3 months of use it became useless because the locking mechanism would jam up and it would take me close to 10 minutes to open it. It finally jammed up completely and I ended up just buying a cheaper U lock that hasn’t jammed in the year or so I’ve had it. So there’s 80 dollars down the drain.