How to know if you have electric bike and scooter insurance

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Electric scooters and e-bikes are relatively new and increasingly popular means of transport. The best models of electric scooters like Segway Ninebot F40 Scooter can go for around $700. A high-end e-bike like the Aventon Level can cost close to $2,000.

If you’re considering renting or buying one, be aware that they fall a bit into the insurance gray area. Due to the assist motors, they are not considered bicycles, which are usually covered by home insurance. Yet they don’t have the horsepower to be considered in the same category as motorcycles, which have their own insurance policies. None of the major insurers, such as progressive or Allstate, still offer coverage for e-scooters or e-bikes.

But you may still be able to use the insurance coverage you already have — or add to your existing policy — to protect yourself. Note that insurance rules vary by state and policies vary widely, so you’ll want to check your individual policy details to see what’s covered. Here are the four ways you would typically be covered.

1. Autonomous policy

You can get specific policies that will cover you for e-bike liability, but most don’t extend to e-scooters yet. Velosurance, for its part, offers policies that cover e-bikes for theft and damage and there are additional policies for liability and bodily injury ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 in coverage. Policies vary in cost and are available in 43 states and Washington, D.C. For a $1,200 bike in New York State, primary coverage would cost around $100 per year with a $200 deductible, according to Dave Williams. , co-founder and CEO of Velosurance.

Electric scooter coverage could be on the horizon. voom Insurance, an insurance technology company that offers policies for motorcycles, is working on developing a standalone insurance policy for electric scooters. Until then, the only protection Voom CEO Tomer Kashi has when riding his electric scooter to work is a helmet and his health insurance. “I have good health insurance, but it’s even more important to be safe,” says Kashi.

2. Purchase Protection

Your credit card or home insurance could come into play if your e-scooter or e-bike is damaged or stolen shortly after purchase. If you use a credit card like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which has purchase protection, you can file a claim if something happens to the equipment. Just be aware that credit card protections come with a lot of caveats, like a typical time frame of 90 days from the date of purchase.

You might also be able to file a claim through your homeowners or renters policy for damaged or stolen personal property, but the usefulness of this will depend on your deductible and how it might affect future costs. of your policy. If your deductible is $1,000 and the device only costs $700, it wouldn’t be worth it.

3. Supplementary insurance

It’s possible that your owner’s or renter’s policy covers accidents where you damage property or injure someone, but that depends on how your policy defines a bicycle. Many policies are written to cover two-wheeled pedal devices only, and anything with an electric motor would be excluded. You will want to call your insurance company or agent and ask specifically, as it might be difficult to find the information in your policy.

Another type of policy that could possibly help you is a bodily injury insurance policy, which is usually associated with auto insurance. You will also need to check with an insurance company or insurance agency to see if such a policy would cover you for e-scooters or e-bikes where you are, as each policy will be different.

In the event of property damage, you may need to hire a lawyer, as coverage is questionable, says Michael Barryspokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group. Generally, damage or liability that is not directly covered may be covered by personal umbrella insurance. This is a type of supplemental policy for people who want to insure property beyond what their home, rental or car insurance covers.

“Coverage could cost several hundred dollars a year, but it could save you thousands or more in liability,” says Barry.

But since umbrella policies are essentially on top of an underlying policy (like an umbrella), if that underlying policy doesn’t cover e-scooters and e-bikes, it’s not clear if the umbrella policy would. too. “Insurance companies haven’t caught up with their time,” says Alicia Bryce, insurance agent at King Insurance in Ocala, Florida.

4. Rental insurance

If you rent an e-scooter or e-bike, your coverage will vary depending on your location and the rental company, as the services you use will be subject to local laws. Some cities, such as San Francisco, require scooter rental companies to obtain a city license and provide proof of insurance before they can legally operate. If your scooter malfunctions, for example if the brakes don’t work, the company can pay any liability you have in addition to your own injuries.

Bird, one of the largest scooter rental operators in the United States, says it submitted an insurance claim for less than 1% of rides in 2022. Its user rental agreement in the United States sets out numerous insurance and coverage scenarios, one of which notes in capital letters that “your auto insurance policies may not cover accidents involving or causing damage to this vehicle”, and urges you to contact your insurance company insurance or your agent to see what would be covered in the event of an accident.

This is also Barry’s advice: “Before you rent or buy a scooter, ask your insurance professional if you are covered in the event of an accident you cause”, in order to know your risks and your coverage. potential.

Any advice, recommendations, or rankings expressed in this article are those of the WSJ’s Buy Side Editorial Team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our business partners.

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