Long before I caught the eBike bug, I worked in insurance agencies for two national insurers.
I still write insurance content for online publications, including MotorTrend. But few broad-market publications address the coverage needs specific to the growing electric bike community.
Many eBike riders may not be aware of the financial risks or situations in which they might not be covered. While inexpensive eBikes can cost as little as $500, higher-end electric bikes can cost $1,000 or even several thousand dollars.
There’s a lot to protect. Here’s what you need to know about eBike insurance.
Insurance Needs Vary for Each Household
In some situations, your homeowners policy or renters insurance policy may be sufficient to protect your eBike. However, you might need to purchase a separate policy or a policy add-on in other situations.
This may be the case if you use your eBike for business, if your eBike has a throttle, or if your bike is expensive. A separate policy might also be the correct answer if you ride competitively.
However, liability is often the biggest risk in insurance matters. Liability refers to our financial responsibility to others, such as injuries or property damage we might cause. There can also be some questions about how a home insurance policy addresses injury or property damage liability due to riding a bike with a motor.
We’ll discuss each of these topics and why your home insurance may not offer enough protection.
Insurance needs vary case by case, so you’ll want to discuss your coverage needs with your agent. The goal today is just to give you some basic information you’ll need to protect your eBike and insure against liability risk. With a bit of focused knowledge, you’ll have the tools you need to make an informed decision when you discuss your insurance needs with your insurance agent.
eBike Insurance: Can Your Home Policy Protect Your Electric Bike?
Your home or renters policy can offer limited protection in some situations. If that previous sentence sounds iffy, it’s because the coverage is iffy. Like many things in life, it depends.
To put it more accurately, your home policy provides certain coverages but also comes with some limitations and even a few exclusions. An exclusion is a loss the insurer won’t cover.
Home insurance comes in three basic policy types:
- Homeowners Insurance
- Condo or Co-op Insurance
- Renters Insurance
There’s also landlord insurance and a few other types, but most people have one of the three listed above. In case you’re curious, landlord insurance won’t cover your personal eBike. Instead, landlord insurance protects the building, landlord liability, and personal property the landlord keeps on-site for maintenance purposes, such as tools or supplies.
Now, let’s revisit the first three insurance policy types because they’re each quite similar in how they can protect your eBike. But you should also be aware that none of the above may be the right choice. More on that as you read on.
Homeowners, renters, and condo insurance policies all offer two types of coverage that can protect your eBike.
- Personal property coverage
- Personal liability coverage
Notice how neither of those says “business.” Personal insurance doesn’t cover business-related risks. More on that later too.
Home Insurance Personal Property Coverage
Standard homeowners, renters, and condo insurance policies all provide coverage for your personal property.
Personal property refers to your belongings. Most people have lots of furniture and televisions and clothes and other things in their homes. Personal property coverage protects your belongings both at home and away from home, but usually only against certain risks.
For example, home insurance protects your belongings against risks like fire, theft, and vandalism (malicious damage).
However, some risks aren’t covered, such as damage caused by crashing your electric bike. Similarly, if you drop your new big-screen TV while mounting it on the wall, a standard home insurance policy can’t help.
Standard property coverage only applies to certain risks, called named perils. Generally, “whoopsies” types of damage claims aren’t covered.
Insurance companies usually use 16 named perils.
Here are some of the more common risks covered for personal property:
- Some types of water damage
Less common risks (that are still covered) include damage caused by aircraft or volcanic eruptions. Hey, anything’s possible.
But because anything is possible, you may need better protection. Most insurers offer a way to specifically insure valuable items, called scheduled coverage.
As another consideration, most personal property is covered using actual cash value.
While actual cash value sounds amazing, it’s not always as great as it sounds. It is, however, fair.
Most types of belongings depreciate over time, reducing their value. Your three-year-old probably eBike isn’t worth what you paid for it, even if you shine it up every Sunday.
With standard coverage, expect your policy to cover (up to) the current value of your bike in a covered claim. For insurance purposes, it’s a used bike. While disappointing if you have a claim, this structure is fair because it covers your actual financial loss.
Coverage Limits and Sublimits
Most homeowners insurance policies set the coverage limit for personal property at 50% of your home’s rebuild value. For renters and condo owners, personal property coverage limits usually start in the tens of thousands of dollars. That’s more than enough to cover your eBike. No worries, there.
However, your policy probably uses sublimits as well. For example, in the policy fine print, you might (will) find a section that says the insurer will only cover losses for certain types of property up to a defined limit. Maybe they specify a coverage sublimit of $2,500 for electronics. If your insurer decides your electric bike fits the electronics category, your coverage is capped at $2,500. This still holds true even if you have $150,000 for an overall coverage limit.
You may be able to extend these sublimits with some home policies.
Scheduled Coverage Options
Insurers use sublimits to help keep coverage more affordable. But this cost-saving move can cost you money if you don’t have the right coverage options to protect expensive items. As a possible solution, you can add scheduled coverage to your policy for specific items.
Some insurers also offer a standalone policy, called a personal articles policy or a personal articles floater. This policy can protect your eBike or other valuables to their full replacement value but does not cover liability.
For a while, personal articles policies were a popular choice for insuring drones against crash damage. However, from an insurer’s perspective, the claims ratio was likely prohibitive for drones. Who among drone owners hasn’t crashed their drone into a lake, tree, or power line? Chances are good that insurers have plugged that hole by now or will soon.
Standalone policies can be preferable to insuring your bike through your home policy because the claim doesn’t hit your home insurance policy if you have a covered loss.
You’ll also get protection against additional risks. Instead of limiting your coverage to 16 named perils, scheduled coverage protects against nearly everything. Yes, this includes crash damage, within reason. Racing crashes are probably out, however.
However, there are limits to scheduled coverage as well. For example, you may have some trouble with a claim for mysterious disappearance. In a mysterious disappearance, there’s no evidence of theft. That said, scheduled coverage still offers much more protection for your eBike compared to standard personal property coverage.
Scheduled coverage is not subject to a deductible. We’ll discuss deductibles in a later section. It also provides replacement value coverage, which insures your bike for full replacement cost.
eBike Insurance: Exclusions for Business Use
With so many gig workers using their bikes and eBikes for deliveries, it’s worth discussing business use. Personal insurance policies don’t cover business-related risks. Riding to work is fine. Riding on your lunch break is fine too. Delivering food or products or carrying passengers for a fare is where insurers draw a line in the sand.
If this sounds like you, reach out to your agent to discuss your insurance options for your eBike. You may need a separate policy or a policy rider that provides some coverage for business risks. A rider is just a fancy name for a policy add-on. Some insurers also refer to a rider as an endorsement.
I reached out to Simple Bike Insurance in February of 2022 to ask about coverage for business use. They don’t cover business risks (yet) but hope to offer a solution in the future. It’s fair to expect a similar response from other bike insurance providers as the industry continues to evolve regarding ebike coverage.
Then again, by the time you read this, some insurers might recognize the growing opportunity and offer a neatly packaged solution. In the interim, you may need a business insurance policy.
Named Insurance Exclusions That Affect eBike Insurance Coverage
Home insurance policies use named exclusions that prevent coverage for certain risks. Among these exclusions, you’ll find things like intentional damage and illegal activity. While eBike owners aren’t likely to intentionally damage their bikes, some other exclusions can affect anyone.
- Floods: Bad floods can happen to good people. For home insurance purposes, a flood is water that touches the ground before entering your home. A standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover floods.
- Earthquakes and sinkholes: A standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover ground movement. If floods or earthquakes are a concern where you live, you may want to shop for separate coverage for these risks.
- Wear and tear: Sorry, riders. Your home insurance policy won’t buy you a new bike when yours wears out.
- Government action: Your home insurance policy also can’t help if the authorities impound your eBike. Watch those speeds in school zones.
There may be other exclusions that affect your coverage as well. Pull out your home insurance policy and give it a good read when you have time.
A Few Words on Deductibles
Standard home insurance policies also use deductibles to keep coverage costs affordable. The deductible is the part of the claim the policyholder pays. If you have a covered claim, the insurer “deducts” the deductible amount from your claim payout. In some cases, this can mean there’s no payout at all.
For example, let’s say someone steals your eBike from outside the local quickie-mart. A home insurance policy includes coverage for theft of personal property. But the claim may not pay what you expect.
The deductible plays a big role. If your eBike is worth $1,000 and your deductible is $1,000, the insurer won’t pay the claim. If your bike is worth $2,000 with the same $1,000 deductible, the claim pays $1,000.
Discuss your deductible options with your home insurance company or eBike policy provider if you go that route. However, most home insurers set the minimum deductible at $1,000 for personal property losses.
Home Insurance Liability Coverage for eBikes
Personal liability insurance pays for accidental injuries caused to others as well as accidental damage caused to the property of others. Accidents happen. And with the heavier weight and higher speeds of electric bicycles compared to regular bikes, those accidents can do more damage.
How much damage might an 85-pound electric mountain bike carrying a 170-pound rider at 28 miles per hour do to a parked car? Let’s not even talk about pedestrian injuries from eBike mishaps.
Your liability insurance on your home insurance policy can protect against some common liability risks, but you may also find some exclusions. Some insurers exclude coverage for throttle-equipped eBikes, and personal insurance policies exclude coverage for business-related claims. In other cases, insurers may simply deny coverage because the bike has an electric motor, making it a motorized vehicle.
Again, this underscores the importance of discussing your coverage with your agent. You may not be protected in some cases. As an alternative, you can purchase a dedicated insurance policy for your eBike. You’ll find a list of established insurance providers at the end of this article.
For many electric bike owners, a dedicated policy offers a safer way to insure an eBike because the policy coverage has fewer gaps and may even include some extras you won’t see with a home insurance policy.
eBike Classes and Your Home Insurance Coverage
eBikes generally fall into one of three types, called eBike classes.
For example, a class 1 eBike features pedal assist up to 20 MPH but does not have a throttle. In most situations, your home insurance can cover risks associated with riding a class 1 eBike. In effect, a class 1 electric bike is just a regular bicycle that gives the rider a helping hand.
However, if your eBike has a throttle, it becomes a class 2 eBike (or throttle-equipped class 3). Insurers may not use the term class 2 but may instead base coverage on the presence of a throttle or lack thereof.
A throttle-equipped eBike can be operated much like a moped. It’s fair to say a throttle-equipped eBike becomes vehicle-ish, blurring the lines between bike and vehicle. However, insuring an electric bicycle with a moped policy might be tricky (read: impossible) because an eBike doesn’t have a vehicle identification number (VIN).
You can see where coverage might get murky. Home insurance policies don’t cover vehicle-related risks.
Class 3 eBikes may or may not have a throttle but have a higher assisted speed of up to 28 MPH. A class 3 electric bike without a throttle may be covered by home insurance policies, but your state might also have specific insurance requirements. For instance, a class 3 eBike is considered a motorized bicycle in New Jersey and may have additional requirements.
Whether your bike comes equipped with a throttle can affect your coverage in some cases. In essence, insurers lean toward providing coverage for people-powered eBikes. For example, Lemonade now offers limited home insurance coverage for class 1 and class 3 eBikes without a throttle.
However, insurers may exclude business-related losses from excluded coverage on a personal policy. Don’t expect coverage in every situation.
Are Injuries Covered?
Home insurance policies don’t provide coverage for injuries to you or others covered by your policy. Instead, injuries that need medical attention would normally fall under your existing health insurance policy.
There may be some possible exceptions to the expected course of coverage, however.
- You’re injured by an automobile: If you have an auto policy and live in a no-fault auto insurance state, such as New Jersey, your auto policy likely provides coverage for injuries caused by an automobile, regardless of who is at fault.
- Medical payments to others: This coverage, also called coverage F, on your home or renters policy provides no hassle protection for minor injuries to others if you are at fault. While medical payments to others can pay medical costs, similar to your liability insurance, coverage F comes with a lower coverage limit and is designed for medical expenses due to minor injuries rather than cases that go to court. This coverage does not pay for your injuries, however.
Some standalone eBike policies also offer medical coverage for bike-related injuries for you, the rider, or for others on your electric bike policy
How Much Does eBike Insurance Cost?
Adding an eBike to your existing home insurance policy using scheduled coverage is often more affordable than choosing a specialty bike policy. However, that comes with some big caveats. The first of these revolves around whether your insurer considers your electric bike to be a bike (probably covered) or a vehicle (probably not covered).
But there are other considerations as well. For example, if you have a claim, the claim is against your home insurance policy. Most people probably want to avoid that situation to protect their home insurance rates in the future and to reduce the risk of policy non-renewal for repeat claims.
Rates vary, but in many cases, you’ll pay about $100 per year for $10,000 in scheduled coverage. So, insuring a $5,000 eBike might cost about $50 per year. However, rates can vary based on several factors, so discuss your coverage options with your agent. Be sure to ask about liability coverage as well. If your policy doesn’t provide liability protection for electric bikes, you have a potentially costly gap in coverage.
By comparison, a dedicated electric bike insurance policy can start at about $100 per year, although it’s fair to expect premiums to come in higher after you add some well-chosen options. As with insuring through a home policy, premiums vary based on the insured value of the electric bike.
While a dedicated eBike insurance policy might cost a bit more, you’ll typically enjoy some additional benefits from these specialized policies as well, including:
- Medical coverage
- Coverage for races and events
- Liability coverage
- Roadside assistance
Some policies also offer collision coverage for riding mishaps or rental reimbursement if your bike is out of commission following a covered claim.
Until the home insurance market adapts to the rising prevalence of bikes, it may be wiser for many riders to choose a dedicated electric bike insurance policy that brings fewer questions about when or if coverage applies.
eBike Insurance Companies to Consider
The list below isn’t an endorsement of any insurance provider, nor is it a “best of” roundup.
Instead, it’s a resource to help you get started if you choose to protect your eBike and financial liability risks with a dedicated eBike policy. As we discover more insurers that offer a standalone eBike insurance policy or bicycle insurance, we may add them to this list.
Most insurers listed below offer comprehensive coverage options ranging from medical coverage to physical damage coverage to liability coverage.
- Markel Insurance
- McClain Insurance
- Sundays Insurance
- Simple Bike Insurance
- Balance (bike injury coverage)
- Oyster (new)
Even among specialty insurers, you may find some limitations. For example, some only cover eBikes up to 750 watts. Others may not cover throttle-equipped bikes with an assisted speed above 20 MPH. As with all things, take the time to read the fine print before buying eBike insurance.
And remember, if you use your eBike for food delivery, product deliveries, or other business use, discuss your coverage options with your agent. Business use of your eBike without business coverage on your policy can affect claim eligibility.
Choosing the Right Electric Bike Insurance
The right eBike insurance is probably out there, but you may need to hunt it down if you have specific coverage needs. Electric bikes have been with us for a while. However, the insurance market for electric bikes is still relatively new.
Rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft faced similar insurance challenges in the early days. For a while, there was a massive gap in coverage while logged into the rideshare app (but not yet carrying a passenger), during which neither a standard personal auto insurance policy nor the rideshare company’s coverage applied.
Now, coverage for rideshare drivers has gone mainstream, with many major insurers offering an add-on for auto policies to provide protection during that gap.
Following the lead set by rideshare insurance, expect the number of choices and customization options for eBike insurance to increase over time as the insurance industry builds its solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get insurance on an electric bike?
Several companies now offer electric bike insurance, including Simple Bike Insurance, Markel, and Velosurance. These eBike insurance policies are separate from your home insurance policy and offer coverage options not available through a home policy.
Costs for electric bike policies start at about $100 annually but vary based on coverage options, the electric bike’s insured value, and other factors.
Do I need to insure my electric bike?
Electric bike owners face three primary types of risk: bike theft, physical damage, and liability. If you have a home insurance policy, your policy may offer limited coverage for these risks in some cases.
However, many electric bike owners choose to insure their electric bikes with a dedicated electric bike insurance policy that offers better protection as well as additional coverage options.
Are electric bikes covered by home insurance?
Some home insurance policies provide basic coverage for the theft of electric bikes. However, physical damage due to crashes and wear and tear risks aren’t covered by a standard home insurance policy.
Additionally, liability coverage can be a concern because some home insurance companies define an electric bike as a vehicle rather than just a bike and may not cover liability claims. To enjoy the most protection, you can consider a dedicated electric bike policy.