Electric bikes or ebikes, sometimes spelled e-bikes, are more popular than ever. It’s no surprise, since they’re an eco-friendly option for commuters. Ebikes can be expensive, so getting ebike insurance is wise, especially if you plan to make your ebike your primary mode of transportation.
The best ebike insurance covers liability, loss, and crash damage. But if you can even find ebike insurance, it’s not always clear what it covers. You should know what your ebike insurance coverage is like before you need to use it. The last thing you want is to call your insurer about a stolen bike, only to find out that your policy doesn’t cover theft!
Ebike insurance doesn’t have to be confusing. Read on for important information so you can get back to cycling with more peace of mind.
What is an ebike?
Ebikes are just one of several types of electric, two-wheeled vehicles. You won’t mistake a Segway or a hoverboard for an ebike, but you should know the difference between ebikes, mopeds, and electric motorcycles.
An ebike is a bicycle with an electric motor that helps propel it. There are two main types:
- Pedal-assist or “pedelec” ebikes add power when you’re pedaling
- Throttle ebikes have the moped-like option to propel themselves without you pedaling.
Not all ebike insurance policies cover both types of ebikes.
Electric mopeds have a step-through frame and no pedals. Electric motorcycles have a frame you straddle and no pedals. Depending on your state, legal operation of a motorcycle or some types of moped requires a motorcycle license, registration, and insurance. Moped and motorcycle insurance plans don’t cover ebikes, so don’t plan to substitute one for the other.
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Am I required to have insurance for an ebike?
Unlike with a motorcycle, you usually don’t need insurance to legally ride your ebike. You probably still want to insure your ebike, though.
Without insurance, you’re liable for any damage or injuries you cause by hitting someone with your ebike. And, if your ebike is uninsured and someone steals it, you’ll have to replace it yourself.
Does my renters’ or car insurance cover my ebike?
Your car insurance does not cover damage to your ebike. It also won’t cover your financial responsibility if you cause a crash that injures someone else or damages their belongings.
However, if you’re hit by a car while you’re riding your ebike, if you have under- or uninsured motorist coverage, these will cover your injuries and damage to your bike if the driver is unidentified or insufficiently insured. If you don’t own a car, you can get a non-owned auto insurance policy with under- or uninsured motorist coverage to cover injuries or ebike damage if a driver hits you and covers your liability when you occasionally borrow or rent a car.
Renters’, homeowners’, and condo insurance plans will sometimes cover your financial responsibility if you are riding your ebike and are at fault for an accident that injures someone else or damages their property. Make sure to check with your agent to be sure.
However, coverage for your ebike itself is usually a lot more limited. Renters’, homeowners’, and condo insurance often won’t pay more than $500 or $1,000 for a single item. That’s not enough coverage for most ebikes, which can cost more than $4,000. You’ll also need to meet your renters’ insurance deductible before the policy covers damage to or theft of your ebike. You may be able to add additional ebike coverage to one of these policies, but you need to make sure you ask for it, and you will pay an additional fee.
Ebike insurance vs regular bike insurance
When comparing regular bike insurance to ebike insurance, it depends on the company and the policy particulars. Many insurance companies that cover non-powered bikes also have coverage options for ebikes.
What does a good ebike insurance policy cover?
You should feel like your ebike insurance provider has your back. Like we mentioned before, shopping for ebike insurance means looking for loss, liability, and crash damage coverage. But what do those terms actually mean?
- Crash damage coverage means your policy will help pay to repair or replace your ebike if an accident damages it. Crash damage can come from collisions with other vehicles (cars, trucks, other bikes and so on), accidents just involving you (like cyling into a brick wall or phone pole – ouch) and accidents where your ebike is parked (like a hit-and-run). It’s important to note that if an accident is someone else’s fault, their auto or bike insurance might cover the cost of the damage to your ebike and you.
- Liability coverage can apply to injuries and property damage that you are legally responsible for causing with your ebike. For example, if you hit a pedestrian with your ebike and break her arm, liability coverage may help pay for her medical bills. Similarly, liability coverage could help pay to repair someone’s car or storefront if you crash into either.
- Loss refers to more than literally losing your bike. Loss coverage can also include things which reduce the value or utility of your ebike. So, in addition to theft and loss in transit, your plan’s loss coverage might pay to repair vandalism to your ebike.
The best ebike insurance plans will also cover your riding gear, like your helmet, gloves and bike shorts. Since ebikes often move faster than a traditional bike, you will likely need more (and more expensive) safety equipment for your ebike. And, since these items are separate from your bike, they may be more easily lost or stolen. Lose a helmet or two in a year without coverage and it can add up.
What an ebike policy doesn’t cover
Ebike insurance covers liability and theft, but not wear and tear. Ebike insurance doesn’t pay for regular maintenance and repair like:
- Paying a bike shop to change your shifter cables
- Buying a gel saddle because your current seat hurts your butt
- Replacing worn brake pads/discs
- Painting your bike electric blue to cover faded old paint
Basically, ebike insurance won’t cover anything that’s part of your bike’s natural aging process. If you want coverage for that, see if your ebike’s manufacturer offers an extended warranty.
How much does ebike insurance cost?
Ebike insurance costs vary depending on how much coverage you choose and how much your bike is worth. Expect to pay at least $100 per year.
Where to buy ebike insurance
As ebikes hit the mainstream, big insurance companies like Progressive are starting to offer ebike insurance. If you already have a policy from one of these big companies, you might be able to add ebike insurance at a discount.
You can also buy a policy from a specialist ebike insurance company like Velosurance, Markel, and Spoke. This is a great option if you want a standalone policy or want to work with agents who have in-depth knowledge of ebikes.
Should I get insurance for my ebike?
Yes! Nobody likes thinking about getting “doored”, running over someone’s foot or losing their beloved ebike to thieves, but the reality is sometimes these things happen. When they happen, they’re a lot less painful when your insurance helps you foot the bill for a replacement ebike or covers damages. With a good ebike insurance plan, you can zoom to your next destination with the comfort of knowing you’re covered.