The ownership of e-bikes is increasing and expected to be double by the year 2030 according to Precedence Research. Why are they so popular? Environmental awareness, avoiding traffic, accessible parking and plain ‘ol fun are just a few of the many reasons.
With this newer form of transportation, it is important for people to understand the insurance issues that accompany e-bikes as well as understand what they should be doing to protect themselves and others in the event of a crash, collision, or other incident that could result in property damage or bodily injury.
Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself AND your insurance agent if you choose to own an e-bike:
Am I required to have insurance for my e-bike? Owners and riders of e-bikes are encouraged to contact their local governments regarding the legalities and rules for e-bike registration, licensing, and insurance requirements. Here is a great link to review state by state e-bike laws, however as e-bike usage is increasing, laws are changing, so also contact your local government directly for more information.
Does my homeowners insurance cover my e-bike if it is damaged or stolen? Most homeowners and renter insurance policies exclude coverage for damage to “motor vehicles.” They define a motor vehicle as a self-propelled land or amphibious vehicle. Even though e-bikes can be self-propelled they are also motorized and may be excluded under your homeowners insurance policy. With those carriers, that means no coverage if the e-bike is damaged or stolen.
If I cause bodily image or property damage will the personal liability under my homeowners insurance policy respond? Carriers that exclude “motor vehicles” for property coverage standardly exclude “motor vehicles” for liability, as well.
If my homeowners policy doesn’t cover my e-bike ownership or usage then my auto insurance will, right? Usually, no. Most auto insurance policies exclude vehicles that have fewer than four wheels.
If my homeowners insurance doesn’t cover my e-bike and my auto insurance doesn’t cover my e-bike, my personal umbrella policy will, won’t it? Umbrella policies do not provide property coverage so your umbrella policy will not cover your loss if the bike is damaged or stolen. Umbrella policies usually provide excess liability above your homeowners, rental or auto insurance policies limits. But that means if you don’t have coverage for your e-bike under those policies, your umbrella policy will not apply either. However, if you have included Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM) coverage on your personal umbrella policy, depending on how that coverage form treats e-bikes, you MAY have UM coverage on your umbrella policy.
If I don’t have coverage under my home, renters, automobile, or umbrella policy, where do I obtain coverage? All insurance companies, homeowners, renters, automobile, and umbrella policies are NOT created equal. Your independent insurance agent may be able to come to your rescue. Because an independent agent represents multiple insurance companies (as opposed to a captive agent who only represents one insurance company) they may be able to offer an insurance company that can endorse your homeowners or renters policy to insure your e-bike or they may have a company that has a policy specifically for e-bike owners.
Most important to know is that even if your state, county, city, or park does not require that you have insurance for your e-bike, that doesn’t mean you are not responsible for bodily injury or property damage resulting from your ownership and/or use of an e-bike.