Electric bikes are a great way to get around your community.
E-bikes are also growing in popularity. The increasing number of electric bikes on the roads is leading to new laws regulating their use.
Some states are even requiring e-bike riders to carry vehicle registration and have a valid driver’s license. But what about insurance?
Do electric bikes need insurance?
Laws regarding electric bikes and insurance vary by state. The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) currently lists 26 states as having e-bike laws.
These laws can cover everything from a helmet and driving permit requirements to whether you need to carry e-bike insurance.
So, do you need e-bike insurance to ride on the street? It often depends on what category your electric bike falls into.
States with laws governing e-bikes use a classification system similar to the one used for gas-powered vehicles. The system breaks electric bikes down into three categories.
- Class 1: These electric bikes combine pedaling with a small motor capable of reaching speeds up to 20 miles per hour.
- Class 2: E-bikes rated as Class 2 have motors that work with or without pedaling and can maintain speeds up to 20 miles per hour.
- Class 3: Electric bikes in this class have speedometers and can reach speeds up to 28 miles per hour with pedaling assistance.
E-bike classifications determine most legal aspects of where you can ride, age limits and if you need insurance. If you are unsure if your state requires e-bike insurance, your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can answer your questions.
In most states, you aren’t going to need insurance on your e-bike but it’s always a good idea to double-check.
Homeowners’ insurance policies cover more than the structure. The policies often include personal possessions like jewelry and electronics. It can include an electric bike, but it isn’t always the ideal solution.
Most insurance policies will cover damage to your e-bike on the property. Some insurance carriers also payout if the electric bicycle is damaged during transport in your vehicle.
Home insurance policies set caps on the amount of the payout. It’s usually less than the e-bike’s cost. These policies typically do not cover accident damage.
If you’re in a collision, you’ll be paying out-of-pocket for the e-bike’s replacement.
If the accident is your fault or results in property damage, you’re financially responsible for repairs. Most home insurance policies don’t cover damage that results from an at-fault accident.
Insurance policies vary by carrier, so check with yours before relying on it to cover your electric bike.
Most auto insurance policies don’t cover electric bikes for a few reasons. Even though the bikes come with motors, they’re limited on where you can ride them.
Not all states require e-bike riders to have valid drivers’ licenses. It’s another reason auto insurance companies don’t cover electric bicycles.
Some carriers may allow you to add an e-bike but check the rates and coverage.
You don’t need e-bike insurance, but having it is a good idea. The bicycles aren’t cheap, ranging in price from around $2,000 to over $10,000. An electric bike is an investment you want to protect.
Electric bicycles also come with complicated systems that often involve computers, along with other mechanical components.
These systems can break down, and repairs can be expensive. If you have e-bike insurance, you pay less for any necessary repairs.
Potential theft is another reason you should consider getting e-bike insurance.
It doesn’t matter if you cause an accident on a standard or e-bike. You’re responsible for taking care of any damage.
Since electric bikes are significantly heavier than traditional models, they can do more property damage. Personal injuries can also be more severe.
Without insurance, you’re financially liable, and it can be expensive.
Buying e-bike insurance is the same as getting coverage for your home or vehicle.
You should compare rates and find the policy that gives you the coverage you need.
Your health or medical insurance typically covers any injuries you sustain in an e-bike accident, but what about the bicycle?
If it’s a solo accident, meaning you’re the only one involved, you don’t have to worry about another driver. You should be concerned about the damage to your e-bike.
Without personal accident coverage, you are paying for the repairs. Even your home insurance policy isn’t going to absorb these costs.
Riders can easily transport e-bikes in most vehicles. They’re also relatively easy to pick up. It makes electric bikes prime targets for thieves, especially with the bicycles’ growing popularity.
Adding anti-theft protection is worth the added cost. Your monthly premiums only slightly increase, and your e-bike is covered in the effect of theft.
Third-party liability is worth considering. It covers any damage the e-bike may cause in an accident. Some states consider e-bikes motorized vehicles, even though the top speed is under 30 mph.
It means you may need to carry third-party liability insurance to legally ride on public streets.
Liability insurance ensures you’re not financially responsible for any damages to the other involved party.
If you are sure your state requires liability, the DMV office can help.
E-bike accidents are common, and vandalism can be a problem. Thieves can deflate tires, scratch paint, and cause other types of damage.
It’s particularly frustrating paying for malicious damage. It can also be expensive without damage insurance.
This type of e-bike insurance covers both accidental damage and vandalism.
You’re limited on where you can ride an e-bike—typically only on neighborhood streets and public lands. For safety, most cities restrict electric bikes to roads with speed limits similar to what an e-bike can reach.
It can make it difficult to get the e-bike across town if necessary. To avoid illegally riding an e-bike on highways, you need another vehicle.
Your automobile insurance policy may not cover any damage to the e-bike if the vehicle is involved in an accident. It applies whether the wreck is your fault or the other driver’s.
Travel insurance for an e-bike covers any damage to the vehicle. It’s something to consider if you frequently pack your e-bike in your car or truck.
Most e-bike riders don’t need to worry about insuring their e-bike overseas.
Anyone racing internationally or travels frequently across country borders may want to add the coverage to their policy.
International insurance works the same as your coverage in the states. Your electric bike is covered if it gets damaged or stolen overseas.
It’s normal for riders to feel concerned about e-bike insurance costs. Home and vehicle insurance policies can be expensive, depending on the type of coverage.
Thankfully, it doesn’t apply to e-bike insurance.
Insurance costs vary by company. The type and amount of coverage you choose also affect the cost to insure your electric bike, along with the deductibles.
A few other factors go into determining insurance costs.
- Your address, specifically your postal code, affects insurance rates. It’s something companies look at when they are calculating their risk. For example, neighborhoods with a high crime rate typically mean higher insurance costs. Your e-bike is more likely to be damaged or stolen than one in a lower-crime neighborhood.
- The type or classification of the e-bike is another factor affecting insurance rates. It’s usually cheaper to insure a Class 1 e-bike than one categorized as Class-3. A Class-3 e-bike comes with more advanced systems that are usually more expensive to repair.
- Less expensive e-bikes are cheaper to insure than higher-priced models. The reason for this is simple. If your high-end electric bike is stolen or damaged, the insurance company is paying out more. It’s something to consider when you are initially shopping for an electric bike.
- Where you ride your e-bike is something else insurance companies consider. Neighborhood streets are usually considered safer than riding an e-bike downtown. If you participate in competitive e-bike races, you can expect to pay more for insurance.
The expense is worth the cost, and you know your electric bike is protected.
E-bike insurance isn’t necessary, but it’s a good idea. Your auto and home policies aren’t going to give you complete coverage if something happens to your e-bike.
Your e-bike is an investment that you’ll want to protect, regardless of what class it’s in.
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