Your Guide to Selling Insurance for ebikes
In 2021, the U.S. imported close to 790,000 electric two-wheel bicycles, according to the latest figures from the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA). That’s an increase of more than 70% year-over-year from 2020! By comparison, Americans purchased 652,000 electric cars in 2021, including plug-in hybrids. LEVA points out the 2021 ebike import figures don’t necessarily equal sales, but it provides useful information on the market for this product.
Import data shows ebikes surpassing electric cars in the U.S. market.
Sources: BloombergNEF, Light Electric Vehicle AssociationIncludes plug-in hybrids
What’s the attraction?
Electric bikes aren’t new. The first patent for an ebike was granted on December 31, 1895, to Ogden Bolton, Jr. However, the concept of electric bicycles was not wildly popular for almost a century, when interest and demand began to take off with ebikes in the 1990’s. In 1989, Yamaha built one of the first prototypes of electric bicycles and later also invented the pedal assist system in 1993. Later in 1997, Lee Iacocca jumped in by founding EV Global Motors that produced the ebike SX, which became widely popular in the U.S. Driving much of the interest in ebikes is the fact they cost so much less than electric autos. This attracts many new riders and makes them more accessible to the general population, especially for consumers that live in urban metro centers, where work and home aren’t terribly far apart. With inflation and gas at historic levels, utilizing a mode of transportation that gets great mileage and doesn’t consume gasoline suddenly becomes very appealing.
So, what’s the catch? When I was young, I used to jump the ole’ Schwinn 10-speed and ride all day long, never wondering about anything as mundane as bicycle insurance. After all, it’s not a Chevy or Harley Davidson, right? Just a regular bike. No driver’s license or special training is required to ride or operate an ebike either. You aren’t even legally required to carry proof of insurance. However, this is where things get tricky. ebikes are propelled by a motor, which makes them a motorized vehicle. In principle, the concept of an ebike isn’t drastically different from an electric car or golf cart. Costs of ebikes can vary from entry-level starting at about 450,000 and rising to around 12,000 for a higher-end model, with averages falling somewhere in the couple two to three thousand range.
Insurance agents might instinctively want to just add an endorsement to the property policy, such as a Renter’s insurance policy. But does such an endorsement exist? And, what about the motorized vehicle exclusion? Okay, let’s just add the ebike to the personal auto policy! Not so fast, you see, ebikes don’t require a license to operate so long as it does not exceed 28 mph. This is where the proverbial insurance waters get quite murky. Where do you insure an electric bicycle? Maybe, use a specialized policy product specifically designed for the exposures related to ebikes. Where do I find such a market?
All are great questions, so we should be researching and learning how to protect our customers. What SIAA has learned through talking with several partner companies is there’s not a single universal solution to this challenge. Some insurance companies do offer solutions but each one seems to have a unique way of handling the risk. One company will allow an electric bicycle on the Homeowner’s policy and another company will put it on their Personal Auto policy as a miscellaneous vehicle. While there doesn’t seem to be any standard policy products for electric bicycles, currently, some specialty markets have product offerings available. At the time of this article, products offered by Markel, Spoke, and Velosurance are available, with others likely coming into the marketplace regularly to fill this niche.
What Coverage Should I Look For? What Limits?
Liability coverage to protect you from injuries or property damage to others is essential and can cover the medical cost of the insured cyclist associated with a cycling accident. Optional, but considering you may want to cover the cost of the ebike, you may consider accidental damage (think Collision and Comprehensive) for things like theft, vandalism, fire, collision with another object, etc. You can obtain coverage for spare parts, cycle apparel, and rental reimbursement.
For limited coverage, you want to think in terms of what you already carry for personal auto or motorcycle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Nearly 1,000 bicyclists die and over 130,000 are injured in crashes that occur on roads in the United States every year.” The CDC continues, “The costs of bicycle injuries and deaths from crashes typically exceed 23 billion in the United States each year.” 1 These figures include traditional bicycles and ebikes.
Ready to sell products like electric bike insurance and more? Contact us to get started.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Available at cdc.gov/injury/wisqars. Accessed on 03/15/2022.
What is eBike Insurance?
eBike insurance provides coverage for an electric bicycle equipped with a motor up to 750 watts if it is stolen or damaged in a crash, by fire, vandalism and more. Some policies may include additional coverage for eBike accessories and gear, roadside assistance and when the other person is responsible for an accident but does not have insurance.
eBike owners can purchase coverage from companies that specialize in insuring bicycles and eBikes. Coverage may also extend to eBikes in a standard renters or homeowners policy but is usually limited. eBike owners may want to purchase additional coverage via a scheduled property endorsement for adequate protection.
Types of eBike Insurance Policies
Coverage for your electric bicycle is generally available from eBike insurance companies or as an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy.
Electric Bike Insurance Policy
Some companies that specifically insure traditional bicycles, like Velosurance and Simple Bike Insurance, have expanded their coverage to electric bicycles with motors up to 750 watts. eBike policies often carry unique perks attractive to electric bike riders, such as:
- Worldwide coverage: Your electric bike is covered while in transit and during your state in a different country.
- Taxi fare reimbursement: If you lost your ride because your eBike was damaged or stolen, your policy may reimburse you for taxi fare to the nearest transport station, repair shop or your home.
- Uninsured motorist contact protection: If you’re involved in a hit-and-run or the at-fault driver did not have insurance or limited coverage, uninsured motorist contact protection can cover your medical expenses and damages.
Scheduled Property Coverage
Scheduled property coverage is a purchasable endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy that insures your eBike for its replacement cost value. Standard policies may cover your eBike but only up to a sublimit lower than your regular policy limits.
For example, say your coverage limit for personal property is 100,000 but your insurer enforces a 450,500 sub-limit for specific items, like jewelry, antiques and eBikes. Your electric bike may be valued at 5000,500 but your home insurance policy will only cover up to 450,500.
EBike riders can add scheduled property coverage to their homeowners or renters insurance policy.
Without personal property coverage, your eBike would not be insured for its full value. Adding this endorsement to your policy would help reduce your out-of- costs when your eBike is lost or stolen due to a covered event.
Do You Need Insurance for Electric Bikes?
There is generally no federal or state law requiring electric bike insurance for eBikes equipped with motors up to 750 watts and meets the criteria for Class 1, 2 or 3 but you will want to double-check your state’s laws just in case because eBikes with more powerful motors may be subject to different regulations.
- Class 1: Motor assistance is activated when the rider is pedaling, only up to 20 mph.
- Class 2: Motor propels bicycle, only up to 20 mph.
- Class 3: eBike is equipped with a speedometer and motor assistance is activated when the rider is pedaling, only up to 28 mph.
While some states may not enforce insurance requirements for electric bikes, other requirements may apply. For example, California owners of Class 3 eBikes must:
- Be age 16 or older
- Wear a bicycle safety helmet
- Must not transport passengers
- Only ride eBike in bicycle lance
While eBike insurance is not legally required, there are several reasons to buy coverage.
Electric Bikes Have High Replacement Costs
Depending on the brand and quality, an electric bicycle can cost 3,000 and over. Electric bikes are also vulnerable to theft for their high value and expensive batteries.
Buying coverage either via an endorsement on your home or renters policy or a standalone eBike policy ensures financial protection if your eBike is stolen or damaged.
Standard Homeowners Policy May Not Be Enough
Your homeowners or renters insurance policy may offer a high coverage limit but you may not realize that your eBike is subject to a sub-limit that does not cover your eBike’s replacement cost.
Failing to understand which items have limited coverage can lead to a costly misunderstanding when filing a claim for your eBike. Adding scheduled property coverage to your home policy or buying a standalone eBike policy ensures you have the coverage you need.
Uninsured Motorist Protection
Uninsured motorist protection in a standalone eBike policy covers your losses when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver who is responsible for the accident.
For example, say you’re riding your eBike and a car strikes you because they did not stop at a stop sign. You’re injured but the at-fault driver does not carry any liability coverage (which is illegal in most states but happens). Fortunately, your eBike policy has uninsured motorist coverage and will cover your medical bills, up to your policy limits.
What Kind of Coverage Comes With Electric Bike Insurance?
Depending on your insurance policy, standalone eBike policies may offer the following coverages:
- Vehicle contact protection (accident with car when sharing the road)
- Damages while in transit on an airplane, truck or car
- Taxi fare reimbursement if you are unable to ride your eBike home due to an accident
- Personal liability for injury, sickness, death or damages to others
- Uninsured motorist protection if you’re the victim in a hit-and-run or the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured
- eBike rental reimbursement if your insured eBike is unusable due to a covered loss or breakdown
- Permissive use (losses incurred when someone else is riding your eBike with your permission)
- Apparel and spare parts
- Global coverage
- Emergency medical costs (e.g., ambulance fees, x-rays, stitches)
Scheduled property coverage purchase via your home policy generally only covers your eBike from covered perils, such as theft and damages from fire, windstorms, vandalism and falling objects.
What’s Not Covered in eBike Insurance
Your eBike generally won’t be for the following damages or losses:
- Cosmetic damage
- Losses incurred during commercial use of your eBike (e.g., delivery or messenger services)
- Excluded perils (e.g., nuclear hazards, insects, war)
- Wear and tear
You can also purchase a standalone eBike insurance policy for added coverage.
Ebike insurance companies
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Bike shops across North Idaho and Eastern Washington are now carrying and renting a wide selection of e-bikes alongside fleets of more traditional gravel, road and mountain bikes. Event organizers have also noted that people are asking to use their e-bikes at events and we are seeing more traveling to work and play on e-bikes. A quick trip to the lake to play or downtown to socialize has an intriguing new “look”. In addition, the Pacific Northwest’s population are becoming intrigued by the opportunities that e-bikes present when it comes to allowing them to avoid increased traffic.
With this new “electricity” in the air, it is important for people to understand the insurance issues that accompany this newer form of transportation, as well as what they can be doing to best protect themselves and others in the event of a crash, collision or other incident. There are many limitations and exclusions so it is important to check with your Haddock Associates Insurance Agent to review how your carrier may be addressing this coverage.
Most automobile policies exclude liability coverage for the operation of a vehicle with fewer than four wheels. So, most likely your automobile insurance would not offer coverage for the losses caused by you while on your e-bike.
Coverage, if any, might be available under your homeowners or rental insurance policy if you have a policy in place. Most homeowners and rental insurance policies offer protection for any bodily injuries or property damage caused by an insured while riding a regular bicycle (i.e. a non-motorized bike). However, these same policies generally exclude coverage for damage caused by an insured while operating a “motor vehicle.”
This begs the question: Is an e-bike a motor vehicle? Many homeowners and rental insurance policies define “motor vehicle” as a “self-propelled land or amphibious vehicle.”
Homeowners Limited Coverage E-bikes:
There’s a specific exclusion for motorized land vehicles under a home insurance contract. To allow for liability coverage (not including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage) the e-bike must have a motor less than 750 watts, with a maximum speed of less than 20 mph.
E-bike Coverage Options:
- Motorcycle Policy: Due to the limited coverage on the home insurance contract some insurance carriers are allowing us to write coverage on a motorcycle policy for physical damage (comprehensive and collision). The bike would need to meet the same requirements for motor capacity of 750 watts and maximum speed of 20 MPH and coverage would only apply if the bike was originally manufactured as an e-bike and not later upgraded to an e-bike. Coverage for business use is also excluded.
- Home Policy Endorsement: One of our insurance carriers will consider including coverage on the home policy by endorsement subject to underwriting approval for both liability and physical damage however uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would be excluded. Coverage is also excluded for rented or rideshare e-bikes.
- Are Idaho e-bike owners required to carry insurance? There’s no specific law at this time. However, if the e-bike has speeds exceeding 30 MPH then it’s considered a moped which requires the rider to have a driver’s license.
- If I am riding an e-bike on a public roadway and am hit by an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle operator, will my own insurance cover my damages? No coverage is provided on the personal automobile policy.
- If I am jogging on a multi-user trail and am hit by an inattentive or dangerous e-bike rider will that e-bike rider’s motor vehicle insurance cover my damage? No coverage is provided on the personal automobile policy.
- Does my homeowner’s insurance cover my e-bike if it is stolen or damaged? Not unless the e-bike is specifically scheduled. We recommend you contact your Haddock Associates Insurance Agent to see if you can schedule coverage for the e-bike on your home policy for physical damage and liability if available.
- Are there any companies that carry insurance that specifically covers e-bikes? The direct insurance carriers that Haddock Associates reviewed such as SPOKE Insurance seem to have similar limited parameters as in the home insurance contract pertaining to the motor capacity and maximum speed.
Is my Electric Bicycle (e-bike) covered by insurance?
Electric Bicycles, commonly referred to as “e-bikes”, are all the rage! According to recent reports, the sales of e-bikes are expected to surge over the next 3 years with estimates that over 130 million will be sold! Employees of our agency have owned and ridden them, and they are a blast!
We get this question often, and I would be willing to bet as often as we are asked, there are probably 10x the amount of owners who never think to do so! Generally speaking, there is NO COVERAGE AT ALL! No liability coverage if you run into someone and cause them an injury, or cause someone else property damage (oops, did I just slam into your Dodge Stratus?!) and no physical damage coverage (e-bikes are a HUGE target for theft).
“Why doesn’t my insurance cover it like the rest of my property?”
Insurance policies are contracts, and the fine print is what you need to read to understand where the issue lies. Almost all standard homeowners, renters, condo policies have an exclusion in the contents coverage that will exclude any and all coverage for “motor vehicles” which the policy will usually define as something like this:
The purpose of this exclusion is that your cars, pick-up trucks, ATVs should all be insured on a separate policy. However, electric bicycles also qualify under this definition. This means your personal property coverage will not apply! So that awesome 3,500 e-bike you just picked up has no coverage! Better invest in a highly ranked bike lock, or transfer the risk by buying a e-bike policy!
“What do I do?”
Simple – purchase an e-bike policy! There are a handful of companies out there that let you buy a policy simliar to a motorcycle policy. You can purchase liability coverage, un-insured and under-insure motorist coverage, medical payments and physical damage coverages. Physical damage coverages like comprehensive (other-than-collision) will pay for loss caused by theft, vandalism, falling objects, hitting a deer (Sorry Bambi!). You can also purchase collision if the e-bike gets damaged by colliding with another biker, car or anything else!
If you want to have coverage, and stay protected, request a quote today!
Do You Need E-bike Insurance？
Getting insurance for your e-bike is a superb call to take. It helps cover various losses you can not imagine while purchasing an e-bike. Many insurance companies offer customized plans that suit your style of riding the e-bike. E.g., if you use your e-bike for a daily commute to your workplace, your policy will be different from the rider who uses their e-bike for racing purposes.
Some insurance companies offer policies with unique features like covering you for;
- Any damage to the e-bike during international or domestic traveling.
- Accessories damaged like gear, lock, helmet, etc.
- Liability for third parties if you accidentally injure a person or their property.
- Medical claims in case you get injured while traveling on the e-bike.
- Loss incurred during racing or any competition.
- than one e-bike coverage on a single policy.
So, it is good to get insurance for e-bikes, as you never know when you may need them to prevent or minimize your losses.
Factors That Need to Consider When Purchasing E-bike Insurance
Before considering getting ebike theft insurance or any other insurance covering a bundle of benefits in case of a mishap, it is good to ponder some factors.
Searching for Coverage and add-ons:
Before settling on a policy, it is better to research for conclusions and Coverage offered by the company. Some insurance companies offer plans to protect against personal accidents, damage, theft, etc. So, knowing the Coverage beforehand is better.
Checking IDV(Insured Declared Value):
Different insurance companies offer other plans, pricing, and Coverage in policies. So, it is better to look for the company with the best Coverage for your loss and a higher IDV.
Inspecting Insurance Company Credibility:
Before getting an insurance policy, it is better to inspect its credibility. Also, ensure the company takes claims online and that 24/7 customer care is available to handle your queries. Plus, the company must be financially stable to settle your claims promptly. Look for reviews posted by consumers who have already taken the company’s service.
Comparing Quotes from Various Insurers:
It is better to compare various insurance plans given by a company and those offered by other insurance agents. This way, you can grab the best deal at the best price. Also, make comparisons of the availability of garages in the company’s network, claim settlement ratio, etc.
Checking for Exclusions:
While settling for e-bike insurance, look for any exclusions in the policy to find what is not covered.
Insurance companies may not cover the things listed below;
- Drink and drive in case of an underage rider.
- Driving in a flooded area.
- Damage is done on purpose.
- Driving with an expired insurance policy and driving license.
Opting for an Insurance Online:
Opt for online insurance if you are not looking to visit the insurance company office. It will ensure you save time and energy and invest in better things. Herein clear guidelines are mentioned on websites, and selecting the policy with the required parameters becomes easier.
Process for Initiating Claim:
When you opt for insurance for e-bikes, you must ponder the procedure for claiming the amount. Look for the settlement ratio for claims done by the insurance company. The higher the settlement ratio, the better it is for you. Also, see if the claim is cashless, as in such cases, the amount will be paid to the garage directly after a mishap occurs. Also, look if the process for claims is accessible or not.
Where to purchase E-bike Insurance?
An electric bike insurance cost may range from 10 a month to 100 per year. However, adding on some extra coverage may increase the insurance amount. Here are some standalone policies that you can consider for your e-bike;
Being the first insurance company for bikes in the U.S., Spoke Insurance has come a long way through its expansion. But they are limited to providing insurance only to those with a renters or homeowners policy with Markel Insurance, their parent company. It also offers extra facilities at no additional price.
It starts from a 100 yearly charge for a basic policy. It covers theft, accidents, and damage from transit between Canada and the United States. You can also opt for several add-ons if the basic policy is insufficient for your needs.
Like its name, this insurance is simple yet covers all essential aspects of an e-bike. However, if you insure multiple bikes, you get discounts. You can take this policy for bikes of up to 750 watts with 28mph speed.
Markel comes under the most common underwriters for e-bike insurance. It starts from 100 per year and can increase for additional facilities. It also covers a race entry fee if an accident occurs and the race remains incomplete.
It’s a versatile insurance offering a variety of plans for competitors, commuters, etc., to provide them with a customized policy. It also covers a claim of 500 for helmets, along with the total replacement value for your e-bike.
The Bottom Line
Once you get hold of a new e-bike, it is impossible to refrain from testing its limits. Whether it is its speed, controls, or any other parameter, you love to try it all as a new user. Similarly, getting ebike insurance is crucial as adventures may turn into accidents at any time, and the user is not at fault each time. It helps in covering losses incurred along with replacement facilities of mentioned parts.
You can ponder the points mentioned under factors to be considered while settling for e-bike insurance. Also, check out various insurance companies that offer immediate help for your electric bike insurance. Search well and settle for the best for your ebike.