Electric bicycles may be the future of local transportation. They’re faster than non-motorized bikes and more environmentally friendly than cars, not to mention way cheaper and simpler to store.
But more powerful machines mean more potential danger, to you and to others on the road. That means — you guessed it — you’ll need insurance.
Fortunately, an e-bike is easy to insure, and for as little as $8 or $10 a month, you’ll get thousands of dollars in coverage if the unexpected happens.
What is e-bike insurance?
Electric bike insurance is specifically designed to protect your electric bicycle (or e-bike) and you, the rider. This type of coverage is relatively new in the United States, but as e-bikes get more popular, more providers are likely to hop on board.
For insurance purposes, these bikes occupy a tricky middle ground between old-fashioned bicycles and motorized vehicles like cars. Because e-bikes have pricey motor control systems and carry more risk, they need more specialized coverage than non-electric bikes.
But e-bike policies are much less expensive and complicated than policies insuring a car or motorcycle. And if you buy a standalone e-bike policy (one that isn’t “bundled” with or added to other policies from the same provider), your other insurance rates won’t be affected if you need to make a claim.
What does e-bike insurance cover?
Good e-bike insurance policies will cover the basics:
- Theft, attempted theft, or vandalism, at or away from your home.
- Accidental/crash damage.
- Vehicle contact or collision damage (including with uninsured motorists).
- Roadside assistance.
- Replacement parts (motor, batteries).
- Rental reimbursement if your e-bike isn’t rideable.
- Replacement coverage for the whole e-bike — either an equivalent model or one with the same market value.
Damage coverage will probably be one of your biggest priorities. Bikmo, an e-bike insurer in the United Kingdom (where e-bikes or “cycles” have been trendy for a while), reports their covered riders are three times more likely to make claims for accidental damage than they are for theft.
Most policies will also have some form of coverage for:
- Accessories (helmet, locks, gear).
- Third-party liability if your bike injures someone or their property.
- Damage during domestic or international travel.
- Racing or competition-related losses.
- Medical payments if you’re injured on the bike.
- Multiple e-bikes on one policy.
You can customize policies to suit your riding style, which is nice. If you just use your bike for commuting and fun, for instance, you won’t want to pay extra for racing coverage.
What doesn’t e-bike insurance cover?
As a rule, policies don’t cover:
- Normal wear and tear, or cosmetic damage.
- Removable parts/accessories stolen or damaged on their own (without damage to the bike itself).
- Claims to a bike you can’t prove you own.
- Damage when you’re influenced by alcohol/drugs.
Medical payment coverage is available as an add-on to most policies, but the amounts aren’t super high — usually a $10,000 max — so you’ll want to supplement with standard health insurance.
Who needs e-bike insurance?
Anyone who rides an e-bike
This may seem pretty obvious, but all e-bike owners or riders, even casual weekend riders, can benefit from e-bike insurance. E-bikes are fast, and accidents do happen. Plus, they’re an investment, with prices running into the thousands, so insuring the bike is a smart financial decision.
Those who live and ride where e-bikes are regulated
In most states, you’re not legally required to hold e-bike insurance the way you’re required to hold auto insurance. That’s because most state legislatures don’t consider e-bikes motorized vehicles (like mopeds and motorcycles).
This doesn’t mean e-bike use is totally unregulated — you may still be required to register your e-bike, wear a helmet, and/or be a minimum age before you can ride. So far, 26 states have their own classifications for e-bikes, and it’s useful to know which class yours is in, since some insurers only cover certain classes.
- Class 1 e-bikes have motors that provide pedaling assistance up to 20 miles per hour.
- Class 2 e-bikes have motors that can either provide pedaling assistance or propel the bike on their own, up to 20 miles per hour.
- Class 3 e-bikes have motors that provide pedaling assistance up to 28 miles per hour, and come with a speedometer.
A handful of states, including New Mexico and West Virginia, do require e-bikers to have insurance, and legislation is always changing.
It’s a good idea to look up local laws in your area, just in case.
Do homeowners or renters insurance policies cover e-bikes?
To some extent, yes, but not as much coverage as you’ll need.
Most homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policies provide some protection for e-bikes as part of their personal property coverage, but covered situations are often very limited.
However, homeowners and renters who get insurance through Lemonade — America’s top-rated insurance provider that donates leftover funds to worthy causes — can easily add e-bike insurance to their policy.
Lemonade automatically includes your belongings (including e-bikes) in its personal property coverage, which insures them against theft from your home or elsewhere.
Let Lemonade know you want to add an e-bike as “scheduled personal property” (aka Extra Coverage), and you’ll get protection for:
- Accidental damage (your fault or someone else’s), including crashes.
- Accidental loss.
- Some cosmetic damages.
The best part of Lemonade’s extra coverage for e-bikes, in my opinion, is that you won’t have a deductible. This can save you a ton of money if you need to file a claim.
They might not cover accidents or personal liability
The accident and personal liability coverage included in your homeowner’s policy, for instance, may not extend to e-bike accidents. In these cases (depending on local laws and policy fine print), e-bike collisions are generally classified as motorized vehicle damage, which most homeowners policies exclude.
They might not cover your e-bike if it is stolen
When it comes to theft, some policies will only pay your claim if the e-bike is stolen from your home, not any other location. And replacement cost payouts have low limits, so you’ll probably get a depreciated or cash value payout that’s much less than what you originally paid.
Standalone e-bike policies, on the other hand, tend to insure the bike’s full replacement cost.
You may be able to list e-bikes as “scheduled property”
One option is to add your e-bike to your homeowners or renters policy as “scheduled property” so the insurer knows you want the item covered. While this is better than nothing, it still comes with a replacement cost cap or “single item limit” that might be too low for your e-bike’s value.
Since e-bikes are in that weird legal space between bike and motor vehicle, the best way to protect them (and you) is with specialized coverage.
How much does e-bike insurance cost?
E-bike insurance starts at around $100/year, or less than $10/month, making it one of the cheapest kinds of insurance you can get. The more coverage “extras” you add to your policy, the higher your costs will be.
Most providers need to see specific info about your e-bike before they give you a quote. Costs depend on the type of e-bike you have, its value, and the deductible amount you choose. Deductibles aren’t huge — $200 to $500 is the typical range.
Your credit score and past insurance experiences may also affect pricing, but they aren’t major factors (unless you have a history of crashing every vehicle you own).
How to choose an e-bike insurance provider
The best choice for you depends on your riding habits and the amount of coverage you want. For example:
- If your ride is tricked out with a lot of accessories, look for a policy that offers accessory coverage.
- If you travel with your e-bike, some policies protect bikes that are damaged in transit.
- If you ride with a partner or as a family, find a policy that covers multiple e-bikes.
- If you compete in organized races, plenty of policies have specialized racing coverage.
You get the idea.
Where to get e-bike insurance: standalone policies
Velosurance e-bike insurance starts at $100/year for standard policies, which cover accidental damage, theft, and damage during transit anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
For a lot of riders, this basic protection will be all they need, but Velosurance has an impressive amount of add-ons to customize your policy.
- Roadside assistance (only $12/year and absolutely worth it if you ride long distances) comes with 35 miles of transportation up to five times a year.
- Personal liability for incidents you cause — $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 per occurrence.
- Medical coverage if you’re injured on the bike.
- Bicycle Physical Damage coverage for spare parts and apparel ($500/loss, $1,000/policy term).
- Worldwide coverage for international travel.
Velosurance’s “stated value-replacement cost” policy ensures your e-bike will be replaced at its full value, without a deduction for depreciation. This applies whether your bike is totaled, stolen, or only partially damaged.
Spoke was the first bicycle insurance company in the United States, and they’ve since expanded to e-bikes. Unfortunately, their e-bike coverage is only available to riders who also have a homeowners or renters policy with Markel Insurance, their parent underwriting company (Markel actually underwrites most e-bike insurance in the U.S.).
Their policies are still worth a look, however, because Spoke offers a pretty good value for money. Policies start at $100/year, and for no extra cost, you’ll get medical, liability, spare parts, and apparel coverage. And Spoke lists its coverage limits, which not all providers do.
- Medical coverage from $1,000 – $10,000.
- Apparel and spare parts up to $1,000.
- Liability if you cause an injury, from $25,000- $100,000.
- Replacement cost at full value.
- Vehicle contact protection.
- Roadside assistance ($12/year, 35 miles up to five times/year).
- Rental reimbursement.
- New bike coverage extension (up to 30 days after purchase).
Since many providers charge extra for this coverage level, Spoke is an unusually good deal.
Simple Bike Insurance
Available across the U.S. and Canada, Simple Bike Insurance keeps its e-bike coverage “simple” but with all the essential elements. It’s a good choice for an e-biking household; you get discounts for insuring multiple bikes, and you can add up to three insured co-owners for the same e-bike.
Bikes under 28 mph and 750 watts are eligible for coverage. Basic policies include transit coverage in the U.S. and Canada, roadside assistance, rental replacement, and more.
- Collision coverage goes up to $10,000.
- Liability maxes out at $100,000.
- Vehicle contact protection covers up to $25,000 if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
- Medical coverage is available, only up to $1,000.
- Spare parts are covered up to $1,000 ($500/claim).
Sundays Insurance is versatile. They have different suggested coverage limits for commuters, exercisers, and competitors, making it easy for e-bikers to customize a policy. And like Simple, they’ll give you discounts for insuring multiple bikes.
Standard policies cover helmets (up to $500/claim) and batteries for no extra charge. You can opt to cover your e-bike’s full replacement value, as long as you insure it for at least $1,000.
- Liability claims max out at $50,000.
- Medical coverage goes up to $10,000.
- Like many providers, Sundays lets you insure your bike for worldwide travel for an extra fee.
- Racers get reimbursed bike rentals if their bike experiences a covered loss when they’re traveling for an event.
The most common e-bike insurance underwriter, Markel, also sells policies on its own. The pricing is about the same as other providers on this list, starting at $100/year and increasing with add-ons.
Standard policies are comprehensive, including transit protection, full-value replacement cost, and $1,000/term in spare parts and accessories coverage.
- Liability coverage has high limits, from $25,000 – $100,000.
- Medical coverage ranges from $1,000-$10,000.
- Roadside assistance ($12/year) covers up to 35 miles of transit per breakdown.
- Markel will cover up to $500 in race entry fees if you’re unable to compete because of a covered accident.
Before you hit the road with your e-bike or sign up for a race, lock in a good electric bicycle insurance policy. Get quotes from a few providers and compare them, as you would with any other insurance type.
Soon, you’ll be riding with peace of mind.
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