E-bike Insurance (Or Lack Thereof)

April 08, 2024

E-bike Insurance (or Lack Thereof)

Electric bicycles, commonly known as “e-bikes,” have taken the world by storm. Reports from Precedence Research indicate that e-bike sales are poised to surge over the next decade, with estimates suggesting that sales will more than double.

Insurance Coverage for Your New Electric Bike

The question often arises: “I just purchased a new electric bike for $3,500. Will my home/renters or auto insurance policy cover it?” Unfortunately, the answer is not as optimistic as the e-bike’s zippy acceleration. In most cases, there is no coverage at all.

  1. Liability Coverage: Imagine accidentally colliding with someone and causing injury (running into a pedestrian), damaging another party’s property (perhaps even their beloved Bimmer), or worse – both (causing a multi-vehicle accident with both injury and property damage. Your standard insurance most likely won’t provide liability coverage for such incidents involving e-bikes.
  2. Physical Damage Coverage: E-bikes are prime targets for theft. Yet, your policy won’t extend physical damage coverage to these valuable two-wheelers whether stolen or damaged.

Why the Exclusion?

Insurance policies are intricate contracts, and the devil is in the details. Nearly all standard homeowners, renters, and condo policies contain an exclusion within their contents and liability coverage. This exclusion specifically denies coverage for “motorized vehicles.” But wait, isn’t an e-bike just a fancy bicycle? Well, yes and no.

E-bikes fall under the same definition of “motorized vehicles” in insurance terms. Consequently, your personal property coverage nor your liability will apply to that shiny $3,500 e-bike you recently acquired.

Your auto insurance policy is for cars and trucks. Consequently, your Personal Injury Protection, Medical Payments, nor Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists coverage will apply.

The Unforeseen Consequences

But what if you accidentally collide with someone while riding your e-bike? Brace yourself for more bad news. Standard insurance policies also exclude injury or property damage arising from the use of a “motorized vehicle.” So, whether you’re pedaling a conventional bicycle or zipping around on an e-bike, the coverage gap remains.

Insurance Considerations for Rental E-Bikes

For individuals who regularly utilize rental e-bikes, it is crucial to grasp the insurance implications. While certain rental agreements may incorporate insurance coverage, riders must carefully examine the terms and conditions to guarantee sufficient protection throughout the rental duration.

It’s time to consider alternatives:

  • Invest in Security: A highly rated bike lock can deter thieves and protect your investment from the physical loss of theft.
  • E-Bike Insurance: Talk to your agent to see if coverage can be added onto your home/renters, auto, motorcycle or umbrella policy for an additional premium and, if you can’t, they should advise that you purchase a specialized e-bike insurance policy. This way, you’ll have peace of mind whether you’re cruising through suburban streets or exploring rural areas.

In summary, e-bikes offer an exciting alternative to automobility, empowering a diverse range of riders across social groups and spatial contexts. However, navigating insurance waters requires vigilance. Consider your options wisely, secure your e-bike, maintain your bike, ride responsibly, but make sure you also talk to your insurance agent about your e-bike and the financial exposures it would create.

Note that e-bikes fall under the category of Motorized Micromobility Device (MMD). Other MMDs include scooters, golf carts, Segways®, motorized skateboards, motorized dirt bikes, and hoverboards, just to name a few. If you currently own or plan to acquire any of these devices, it’s essential to discuss them with your insurance agent.

Please ride safely and always wear a helmet.

*Coverage may vary by state, actual coverage is subject to the policy as written.