Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Bike?

Liv Amiti E+4
2020 Liv Amiti E+4

Electric bikes are more popular than ever in the United States, making them a target of thieves and a topic of lawmakers. While insurance is not yet required for electric bikes it’s still a good idea to protect your investment, and possible mishaps that you may be liable for.

Bicycle theft continues to rise yearly in the United States as cycling becomes more popular. Just last year, according to a CBS news report New York City reported a 28% increase in bike thefts. Between March 1 – Sep 1 2020 4,477 complaints had been filed for stolen bikes. That’s up from 3,507 thefts for the same time period the year before.

Food deliverers are also being targeted, since they tend to prefer electric powered bikes according to an article in the New York Times. Thieves have discovered it’s more profitable to steal the bike instead of cash a food deliverer may be carrying.

And it’s not just big cities. Bike thefts occur everywhere.

Electric bikes are typically not covered under homeowner insurance, especially if the bike is stolen away from home.

It’s not just thefts to consider either. While car and bicycle accidents do happen, it’s more likely that an accident involving a bicycle will occur between bicyclists or between a bike and pedestrian. In those cases, if you’re at fault, even simply for being there, you may be liable for property damage and medical expenses.

One scenario I’ve worried about in particular is hauling my ebike on the back of my car. What if I’m rear ended and there goes my $2600 bike to a non-insured motorist? Will my car owners insurance cover it? Not likely. What about homeowners insurance? That would likely be a big nope too.

Am I okay with potentially losing $2600 into thin air? Not really. Do I want to get sued and have to pay medical expenses out of my own pocket if I were to cause an accident? Definitely not.

So, I got a few quotes for my 2020 Liv Amiti E+4 electric bike. It is a Class 1 electric bike which means it can reach 20 mph with pedal assistance. It does not have a throttle. Class 2 ebikes would be those with a throttle that can go up to 20 mph, and Class 3 ebikes are those that can go up to 28 mph with pedal assistance.

If you have an electric bike that exceeds those speed limits, it will not be covered under typical electric bike insurance.

Also, bikes with motors exceeding 750 watts are also not eligible. Once you get a motor that’s higher than 750 watts you’re into a moped classification, or a very gray area that may be difficult to find coverage for.

So, below are the quotes I received from three insurance companies that offer electric bike coverage. These are Markel Insurance, Velosurance, and Spoke Insurance. You’ll notice that Markel and Spoke provide the same exact quotes which makes me wonder if they’re the same company. A quick Google search didn’t provide an answer.

CompanyBike Value$500 Deductible / No LiabilityWith $200 Deductible/No Liability$200 Deductible/ With $25,000 Liability
Markel Insurance$2700$149$173$229
Velosurance$2700$149$199$229
Spoke$2700$149$173$229

So, as you can see the prices are very similar between all three companies.  With a $500 deductible and no liability coverage it would be $149/year at the time I’m writing this article.  With a $200 deductible and no liability the premium for Markel and Spoke are exactly the same, while Velourance comes in at the highest.

For the coverage I would want, a $200 deductible with $25,000 liability all three come in at the same exact yearly cost.  

Again, this is coverage for $2700 and a Class 1 ebike.  Out of curiosity I also calculated the costs of covering the very popular RadMini Step Thru from Rad Power Bikes.  The yearly costs for a $200 deductible with $25000 liability coverage for the RadMini is $168.  

While the RadMini is a Class 2 ebike it’s value is $1495 compared to the $2700 of the Liv Amiti.  I added a $100 for a bike computer I have installed on my bike to come up to $2700.

Quotes will likely vary depending upon your location, your age, gender, whether you’re a homeowner, etc.

So, is it worth getting insurance?  While I don’t like paying for insurance, any kind of insurance, I greatly miss it when I don’t have it.  Am I willing to risk losing the value of my bike?  Maybe but liability is a concern.  I don’t have $25,000 lying around to hand to some snooty road biker who hates ebikers, if I were to happen to run one off the road.  Not that I would do that.

I would also recommend checking your homeowners insurance.  They may have a policy that you can purchase cheaper than separate ebike insurance from another company.  

Shop around, read the fine print, and get some peace of mind.

 



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