Electric scooters and bikes are popping up all over cities across the country. They have been popular in Europe for years. We are at the beginning of this new form of personal transportation, which creates a few questions regarding risk, liability, and insurance coverage.
How Can You Secure Insurance Coverage That Includes Physical Damage And Personal Liability For An Owned E-Bike Or E-Scooter?
Personal liability from homeowners or renter’s policy is unlikely to cover the use of an e-bike because of the exclusion for motor vehicles. A motorcycle policy covering an owned motorcycle or scooter might extend liability to a non-owned e-scooter. In most cases you do not have any insurance coverage unless owned and properly insured.
Are You Covered If You Rent An E-Scooter Or E-Bike?
Most cities don’t have regulations or rules because they don’t qualify as a motor vehicle. Some cities require a driver’s license and helmet, but these are mostly on the honor system. Users can rent the scooter then leave it anywhere they want (in your front yard or in front of your business).
Insurance companies are busy trying to figure out who is liable in the event a scooter injured someone. What if the scooter rider injures someone while on the job, will the injuries be covered under workers’ compensation and any liability be the responsibility of the employer insurer? Business insurance policies may not address scooters specifically. Depending on the circumstances, some electric scooter-related injuries may be covered while others may not.
Many scooter companies have strict waivers that are included in the rental agreement limiting any liability to the rental companies. One company offers a $1,000,000 liability policy, but all claims would be subject to extensive investigations.
Most legal experts agree that rider will bear the legal liability arising from accidents because of the terms to which the rider agrees to when downloading the app. The laws, the courts, and the insurance industry are often slow to respond to new technology, and this may be the case with electric scooters. Relatively few laws specific to e-scooters have been passed.
Any insurance solutions will most likely be using an auto type of coverage and there are likely territorial limitations imbedded in the policy, therefore traveling abroad and renting these in different urban areas may leave a coverage gap in those specialty policies.
There are a few carriers that offer specialty type electric scooter insurance for these types of devices. The cost varies depending on usage. We recommend you contact your insurance agent to discuss if your personal insurance provides any coverage or if you need to add coverage to your program.