Is Electric Bike Insurance Mandatory?

Jul 31, 2022 | 0 comments

Electric bikes have been accepted and have become a part of everyday life. For years they gradually gathered steam in the background but never accomplished popular adoption until technology, urban planning and cultural admission joined. E-bike sales increased. Right now, many models are so popular that they are difficult to get and there’s no sign of the demand decreasing anytime soon. All this increase has taken a new group of riders into the fold. Along with the growth of new riders, the cry for needed electric bike insurance hasn’t disappeared. There’s also uncertainty about the requirements of insurance for electric bikes. The question of how electric bikes are different from their non-powered brethren, alongside whether they require insurance, is a big one.

Do you actually need electric bike insurance?

In fact, insurance is not obligatory for your electric bike. Or, perhaps more precisely stated, you are not lawfully obliged to carry insurance. In Europe, as long as the assisted top speed is 25km/hr and the motor is no bigger than 250 watts and pedalling is needed, then you’ve got a bike. Despite the requests for it over the years, bikes don’t require insurance.

In the U.S., things are a little more easygoing. Electric bikes in the US have been categorized under both federal and state definitions. The federal government manages the production and first sale. From there, the operation falls under state jurisdiction. An easy way to think about it is that the first definition of an electric bike gets managed federally while what you do with it is at the state level. That first definition lets for motors up to 750 watts and those motors can be the sole power of the bike up to 20mph.

You will see that the federal definition does not determine a maximum speed when propelled by a blending of human and motor power. The important point so far is that if your electric bike stays under 20mph when utilizing a throttle only, then it is a bike and does not need a license or insurance.

In terms of what the states determine, it’s a patchwork of 50 various sets of laws. An agreement has begun to emerge though. 26 states at this point adopt the three-tiered definition referred to as e-bike classes.

For the aim of comprehending what determines electric bikes as bikes, and by expanding the need for insurance, it’s class III bikes that still need to be discussed. Class III bikes can travel faster than 20mph, as authorized in the federal law, but max out at 28mph. Speeds between 20mph and 28mph need the rider to be pedalling. There’s also a needed speedometer.

You can notice that even a very short overview of how to define an electric bike in the US is a time-consuming process. In most cases, there is no need to be anxious about it because respected producers have figured it out for you. Purchase from a reliable one and you are going to be getting a lawful electric bike. You may need to scrutinize local laws to understand where you can ride it, but it won’t need insurance.

Why should you get insurance anyway?

Now you figure out that in most cases there is no need to have insurance, let’s discuss why you should get it anyway. When it comes to the reasons to get insurance, there are two main ways to examine it. First, electric bikes are still bikes, but they are pretty expensive. You could begin there and look at the insurance through the lens of an expensive item you’d rather have protected. 

The clearest reason to get insurance anyway is that bikes are easily robbed. There is always the risk that your new electric bike might get stolen. Even if you never leave it anywhere it might get lost in your home. Garages aren’t all that safe and bikes getting robbed out of a garage are common. Even if you keep it inside, home burglaries happen and it might go missing.

If that were to occur with a bike you’d look to count on your home insurance. This is the part where you should inspect the terms and conditions of your policy. If you look at the electric bike as a bike, you are required to check to see what the policy limits are for individual items, what your deductible is, and whether bikes are defined individually. The first problem you may face is deductible. If you’ve bought a bike from the best electric bikes under $1,000 or the best electric bikes under $2,000 guides, you might not have coverage. If your bike costs $1,000 and your deductible is $1,000, you are out of luck.

Many insurance policies determine a maximum coverage per item. $2,000 isn’t unheard of and that would leave you not covered by insurance for a lot of e-bikes.

What does electric bike insurance include?

The policy features on electric bike insurance can differ from one provider to the next, as can the range of clauses and exclusions, but most policies will protect you against:

  • Robbery and malignant damage – reimburse you if your e-bike is stolen or damaged
  • Accidental damage – can help compensate for the cost of fixing or replacing your e-bike if you are involved in an accident.

There are also some policy features that some providers might include as standard, while others might let you add to your policy as a non-obligatory extra. These include:

  • Third-party liability cover – created to help cover legal costs and compensation claims if your e-bike injures someone or harms their property and the courts hold you liable.
  • Personal injury cover – can assist cover your medical expenses if you’re involved in an accident, and may even help to cover lost earnings if you’re hospitalized.
  • Accessories cover – compensate for replacement helmets, clothing and e-bike extras like a GPS
  • Hire bike cover – covers the expense of a temporary replacement if your electric bike is being fixed.
  • Riding overseas cover – covers you if you utilize your e-bike outside of the U.K.

Of course, you may not need all of these various add-ons and extras, but it’s worth giving each one some thought in order to make sure your policy meets your requirements.

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