Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

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Ketawa
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Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

I'm trying to gauge whether it would be worthwhile to purchase liability insurance for an electric bike. Opinions welcome.

I recently purchased a RadRover 6 Plus High Step bike. I will be using it regularly to commute about 5-8 miles round trip when I go to work, depending on what I'm doing at lunch time. Much of the trip is on bike paths. Besides commuting, I will use it sporadically to get around the city. Drivers are terrible in DC; people are constantly blowing through red lights, making illegal U-turns, stopping in bike lanes, etc.

The total replacement cost is around $2300. Physical damage coverage also includes theft. With a maximum deductible of $500, the cost for physical damage coverage is $150. The bike will be in my apartment overnight. At work, it is on a secure facility. I don't expect to leave it in a bike room or outside for long periods of time. My condo policy will not cover it for theft because it is considered a motor vehicle. I still don't plan to purchase the physical damage coverage since my cumulative risk of theft is low and while spending $2-3K to replace it would be annoying, it wouldn't cause me any major hardship. I'm going to buy a lock that will provide theft coverage for one to several years.

I have no need for medical coverage due to my employer's coverage.

I'm having more trouble gauging whether to purchase liability coverage. My condo policy will not cover it. It isn't possible to get it included in my umbrella policy, even if I purchase primary bike insurance. GEICO refers to a company called Markel, and the other major insurer is Velosurance; there aren't any major differences in their policies. Markel has a minimum premium of $100 regardless of coverage, so the only relevant quotes are for the following limits:
$100K: $100
$300K: $144 (maximum limit)

Would you purchase liability coverage for riding an e-bike?
ernest3
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by ernest3 »

Have you read the umbrella policy? I’d be curious if the terms actually exclude liability coverage or if the person you spoke to just doesn’t have a way to explicitly have the terms say it’s covered.

My policy with RLI excludes “mopeds” and “motorcycles” but makes no mention of e-bikes.
mgensler
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by mgensler »

I would think that unless it's excluded in the policy you should be covered. Ebike is similar to a regular bike in weight and speed. You're more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else.

I've ridden my ebike 5,000 miles and have never come close to hitting a person walking. Get a good bell and use it whenever you are passing someone. It's the law here so probably the same in your area.
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Ketawa
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

ernest3 wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 9:47 pm Have you read the umbrella policy? I’d be curious if the terms actually exclude liability coverage or if the person you spoke to just doesn’t have a way to explicitly have the terms say it’s covered.

My policy with RLI excludes “mopeds” and “motorcycles” but makes no mention of e-bikes.
Good idea, here are the results of my investigation. My umbrella policy (in DC) specifically excludes any motor vehicles that are not listed on the declarations page. It does not distinguish between classes of motor vehicles like mopeds or motorcycles.

A Class 2 electric bike (unassisted throttle and pedal assist up to 20 mph) is considered by DC to be a type of non-traditional motor vehicle, specifically, a "motorized bicycle." Link to PDF: Synopsis of Non-Traditional Motor Vehicles, Other Vehicles and DC Law
. DC does not require me to have insurance.

Based on this, I think the agent was correct. She was quite sure when I first asked, then put me on hold for a few minutes to get a definitive answer.
Last edited by Ketawa on Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ketawa
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

mgensler wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 7:26 am I would think that unless it's excluded in the policy you should be covered. Ebike is similar to a regular bike in weight and speed. You're more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else.

I've ridden my ebike 5,000 miles and have never come close to hitting a person walking. Get a good bell and use it whenever you are passing someone. It's the law here so probably the same in your area.
I am fairly confident that liability from an accident while I'm riding my electric bike would be excluded by my umbrella policy. I outlined the rationale in my previous post.

I have a bell and might install a louder combination horn & alarm device.

I've never come close to causing any kind of accident on my regular bike or when renting an e-bike in the city, but I'm still thinking about purchasing the separate liability coverage.
homebuyer6426
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by homebuyer6426 »

I would not purchase insurance for an ebike. I would purchase a very strong locking system for it. I used to bike all around DC in the 90s with my father, as our primary transportation. We rode old secondhand bikes and did a lot of miles on them. Bike theft was definitely common there, it didn't happen to us because we took the precautions. Be able to see your locked bike from the window if possible, lock through frame and both wheels, use thick enough lock/chain, don't lock to inappropriate objects, etc.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:20 am I would not purchase insurance for an ebike. I would purchase a very strong locking system for it. I used to bike all around DC in the 90s with my father, as our primary transportation. We rode old secondhand bikes and did a lot of miles on them. Bike theft was definitely common there, it didn't happen to us because we took the precautions. Be able to see your locked bike from the window if possible, lock through frame and both wheels, use thick enough lock/chain, don't lock to inappropriate objects, etc.
I have already decided I won't purchase insurance for physical damage or theft. This thread is about liability insurance.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by crefwatch »

With the recent surge in e-bike battery fires, I would expect insurers to reduce the availability of any insurance for e-bikes. It takes a lot of money to repair a high-rise apartment fire, even if no one dies.

(Note that this statement has no connection to electric automobile fires. Gasoline and diesel vehicles burn up more often (per mile driven) than electric cars.)
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by homebuyer6426 »

Ketawa wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:24 am
homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:20 am I would not purchase insurance for an ebike. I would purchase a very strong locking system for it. I used to bike all around DC in the 90s with my father, as our primary transportation. We rode old secondhand bikes and did a lot of miles on them. Bike theft was definitely common there, it didn't happen to us because we took the precautions. Be able to see your locked bike from the window if possible, lock through frame and both wheels, use thick enough lock/chain, don't lock to inappropriate objects, etc.
I have already decided I won't purchase insurance for physical damage or theft. This thread is about liability insurance.
What sort of liability are you thinking about as a potential risk? It's pretty difficult to hit a pedestrian on a bike if you aren't reckless, and even if you do the damage is going to be minor. If you hit a car, or a car hits you, it's you who is going to take most of the damage. I would not purchase liability insurance.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:35 am What sort of liability are you thinking about as a potential risk? It's pretty difficult to hit a pedestrian on a bike if you aren't reckless, and even if you do the damage is going to be minor. If you hit a car, or a car hits you, it's you who is going to take most of the damage. I would not purchase liability insurance.
Theoretically, I could be found at fault in an accident with a car, but I'm not sure whether it ever happens.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by DesertGator »

If it were me I’d buy liability insurance, even if only the $100k level, as It should cover defense. Even if you hit a car or pedestrian, and the damage is relatively minor they may still make a claim, which may or may not be legit. It could be to their own insurance policy, which could subrogate and demand reimbursement from you.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by DesertGator »

If it were me I’d buy liability insurance, even if only the $100k level, as It should cover defense. Even if you hit a car or pedestrian, and the damage is relatively minor they may still make a claim, which may or may not be legit. It could be to their own insurance policy, which could subrogate and demand reimbursement from you.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by DebiT »

Ketawa wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:36 am
homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:35 am What sort of liability are you thinking about as a potential risk? It's pretty difficult to hit a pedestrian on a bike if you aren't reckless, and even if you do the damage is going to be minor. If you hit a car, or a car hits you, it's you who is going to take most of the damage. I would not purchase liability insurance.
Theoretically, I could be found at fault in an accident with a car, but I'm not sure whether it ever happens.
Interesting question. I would imagine a reckless e-bike rider could be at fault for causing an auto accident with injuries.
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DebiT
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by DebiT »

Ketawa wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:36 am
homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:35 am What sort of liability are you thinking about as a potential risk? It's pretty difficult to hit a pedestrian on a bike if you aren't reckless, and even if you do the damage is going to be minor. If you hit a car, or a car hits you, it's you who is going to take most of the damage. I would not purchase liability insurance.
Theoretically, I could be found at fault in an accident with a car, but I'm not sure whether it ever happens.
Interesting question. I would imagine a reckless e-bike rider could be at fault for causing an auto accident with injuries. I’d buy it, and I’d buy the $300k for sure.
Age 65, life turned upside down 3/2/19, thanking God for what I've learned from this group.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by ernest3 »

I would buy the liability coverage if it makes you sleep better and be more confident riding.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ron »

crefwatch wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:25 am With the recent surge in e-bike battery fires, I would expect insurers to reduce the availability of any insurance for e-bikes. It takes a lot of money to repair a high-rise apartment fire, even if no one dies.
Like what happened in NYC this past Saturday?

Even though it was due to a person doing maintenance on an ebike in his apartment (illegally), the question of what insurance would be liable for the situation.

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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by 123 »

A key value in the purchase of liability insurance is the legal defense provided by the insurance company in the event you become a target of litigation. The value of the legal defense, and the reputation of the insurance company that provides it is often the main thing that discourages litigation. If you get involved in some kind of minor incident (without insurance) it can end up being cheaper for you to pay $10K - $25K without insurance than to pay for your legal defense (especially if you are not at fault). Each of us has to decide what risks we are willing to bear.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

You may want to try a different home insurer. I just checked with mine, Travelers, and they confirmed they cover liability - no special endorsement required.

P.S., I too have a “Geico” condo policy from Travelers. So I think you may not have gotten the right answer?
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

furwut wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 7:29 pm You may want to try a different home insurer. I just checked with mine, Travelers, and they confirmed they cover liability - no special endorsement required.

P.S., I too have a “Geico” condo policy from Travelers. So I think you may not have gotten the right answer?
I also have GEICO for auto and umbrella, and Travelers for condo (through GEICO). It's possible that there are different regulations depending on the state/jurisdiction. The agent I talked to with Travelers was very specific that my condo insurance didn't cover motor vehicles, and it seems like electric bikes are considered a motor vehicle in DC.

My insurance with GEICO was very cheap when I last got a lot of quotes a few years ago, and the cost hasn't changed much. I'll probably still come out ahead by purchasing the separate liability coverage vs shifting everything to another insurer. Right now, I'm leaning towards buying the coverage.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

Ketawa wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 8:37 pm
furwut wrote: Fri Nov 11, 2022 7:29 pm You may want to try a different home insurer. I just checked with mine, Travelers, and they confirmed they cover liability - no special endorsement required.

P.S., I too have a “Geico” condo policy from Travelers. So I think you may not have gotten the right answer?
I also have GEICO for auto and umbrella, and Travelers for condo (through GEICO). It's possible that there are different regulations depending on the state/jurisdiction. The agent I talked to with Travelers was very specific that my condo insurance didn't cover motor vehicles, and it seems like electric bikes are considered a motor vehicle in DC.
Yeah, I’m in DC as well. I’m interested in possibly getting a class 1 bike next year.

I think you’ll have to press them and report others are getting different answers. And if you do get a “yes” get it in writing.

FWIW - my policy defines a motor vehicle as self-propelled. So my take is a pedal assisted eBike in not a motor vehicle under that definition.

This may be helpful as well:
https://ebikeanswers.com/are-electric-b ... ington-dc/
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Harry Livermore »

I think it's an interesting and astute question.
What if you were riding your e-bike in the right-hand bike lane, and while passing a line of stopped cars in your direction, carelessly crossed a driveway on your right without looking to your left to see if any oncoming traffic was turning in? What if an oncoming car was indeed turning, perhaps a little too fast, and swerved to avoid you, hitting one of the stopped cars in the process? I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me the rider of the e-bike precipitated the accident... and might be at fault.
Better to find out now, and purchase the correct coverage.
Cheers
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Nate79 »

I can imagine many scenarios possible where damage, both physical and medical could be caused by an ebike to others. Slam into someone who falls and cracks their head open, takes an ambulance to the ER and spends overnight, testing, etc. I want liability insurance to cover such high dollar issues.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

Harry Livermore wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:26 am I think it's an interesting and astute question.
What if you were riding your e-bike in the right-hand bike lane, and while passing a line of stopped cars in your direction, carelessly crossed a driveway on your right without looking to your left to see if any oncoming traffic was turning in? What if an oncoming car was indeed turning, perhaps a little too fast, and swerved to avoid you, hitting one of the stopped cars in the process? I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me the rider of the e-bike precipitated the accident... and might be at fault.
Better to find out now, and purchase the correct coverage.
Cheers
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by bob60014 »

So based on these scenarios, the millions of us that ride pedal only Schwinns and get into a crash should have liability insurance too? Being that in most jurisdictions electric bicycles (class I, II, III) are not subject to the registration, licensing, or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles, why is liability insurance being considered?
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Harry Livermore »

furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:51 am
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
Sigh.
I'm sure I'll never come up with en example that will correctly illustrate how an e-bike causing an accident that might land its owner in civil court, but that the simple point I was trying to make.
Cheers
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:51 am
Harry Livermore wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:26 am I think it's an interesting and astute question.
What if you were riding your e-bike in the right-hand bike lane, and while passing a line of stopped cars in your direction, carelessly crossed a driveway on your right without looking to your left to see if any oncoming traffic was turning in? What if an oncoming car was indeed turning, perhaps a little too fast, and swerved to avoid you, hitting one of the stopped cars in the process? I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me the rider of the e-bike precipitated the accident... and might be at fault.
Better to find out now, and purchase the correct coverage.
Cheers
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
So just ride your bike carefully and you'll never be liable? That doesn't sound like a great plan to me. For a start, you can be sued even if you are not truly liable. Also, I can think of many ways in which an ebike rider could be found liable for injury to the occupant of a car or a pedestrian.

I don't have an e bike but this thread will make me think twice about getting one without knowing I have liability coverage.
furwut
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

Harry Livermore wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:12 am
furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:51 am
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
Sigh.
I'm sure I'll never come up with en example that will correctly illustrate how an e-bike causing an accident that might land its owner in civil court, but that the simple point I was trying to make.
Cheers
Oh that’s easy (as mentioned up thread) - cyclist knocks down pedestrian. :happy
furwut
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

So just ride your bike carefully and you'll never be liable? That doesn't sound like a great plan to me. For a start, you can be sued even if you are not truly liable. Also, I can think of many ways in which an ebike rider could be found liable for injury to the occupant of a car or a pedestrian.
Right, no one is saying an eBike rider can never be at fault and held liable because obviously they can. Probably just not germane to this discussion to construct hypothetical examples.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by FellsGuy »

I just was speaking with a friend who saw a neighbor kid go by very fast on an ebike, he is in the insurance business in high net worth personal lines on the underwriting side. I understood from his comment that they are seeing a lot of chunky claims and that people are finding out that ebikes have to be added by endorsement or there is no or limited cover otherwise. This friend is with a premium carrier that has very broad policy forms v the cheapest possible coverage so I found that comment a bit unsettling considering how many of those are on the streets these days.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by stoptothink »

Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:40 am
furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:51 am
Harry Livermore wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:26 am I think it's an interesting and astute question.
What if you were riding your e-bike in the right-hand bike lane, and while passing a line of stopped cars in your direction, carelessly crossed a driveway on your right without looking to your left to see if any oncoming traffic was turning in? What if an oncoming car was indeed turning, perhaps a little too fast, and swerved to avoid you, hitting one of the stopped cars in the process? I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me the rider of the e-bike precipitated the accident... and might be at fault.
Better to find out now, and purchase the correct coverage.
Cheers
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
So just ride your bike carefully and you'll never be liable? That doesn't sound like a great plan to me. For a start, you can be sued even if you are not truly liable. I can think of many ways in which an ebike rider could be found liable for injury to the occupant of a car or a pedestrian.

I don't have an e bike but this thread will make me think twice about getting one without knowing I have liability coverage.
The chances of getting into an accident on an e-bike and being liable for injury to someone (or something) else is exceedingly small; as in, I'd be curious if anybody can find a single instance of it actually happening. I certainly have never heard of it and I have been a member of the cycling community for over 20yrs. I have insurance for things that have a decent chance of occurring and/or would be catastrophic if they did occur, this doesn't logically meet either criteria and I ride my e-bike probably 3x more miles than I drive (and have probably cycled more miles as an adult than I've driven). I'd consider insurance because e-bikes are stolen at an alarming rate, but not separate liability insurance.
furwut
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

bob60014 wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:10 am So based on these scenarios, the millions of us that ride pedal only Schwinns and get into a crash should have liability insurance too? Being that in most jurisdictions electric bicycles (class I, II, III) are not subject to the registration, licensing, or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles, why is liability insurance being considered?
One probably should have general liability insurance to cover you for a whole host of activities. That’s what Homeowners/Rental coverage provides. It covers your liability for most things outside the home as well as in. It covers pedal bikes.

It doesn’t, however, provide coverage for liability arising out of operating a motor vehicle. For that there are more specific insurances. The question is does one’s homeowners see an eBike as an (excluded) motor vehicle?
furwut
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

FellsGuy wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:51 am I just was speaking with a friend who saw a neighbor kid go by very fast on an ebike, he is in the insurance business in high net worth personal lines on the underwriting side. I understood from his comment that they are seeing a lot of chunky claims and that people are finding out that ebikes have to be added by endorsement or there is no or limited cover otherwise. This friend is with a premium carrier that has very broad policy forms v the cheapest possible coverage so I found that comment a bit unsettling considering how many of those are on the streets these days.
Interesting! Things change and insurance has to adapt. I remember laptops, when they first came out, were covered just like other household goods. But being expensive and easily stolen insurers soon required add-on endorsements for coverage.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:52 am
Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:40 am
furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:51 am
Harry Livermore wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:26 am I think it's an interesting and astute question.
What if you were riding your e-bike in the right-hand bike lane, and while passing a line of stopped cars in your direction, carelessly crossed a driveway on your right without looking to your left to see if any oncoming traffic was turning in? What if an oncoming car was indeed turning, perhaps a little too fast, and swerved to avoid you, hitting one of the stopped cars in the process? I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me the rider of the e-bike precipitated the accident... and might be at fault.
Better to find out now, and purchase the correct coverage.
Cheers
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
So just ride your bike carefully and you'll never be liable? That doesn't sound like a great plan to me. For a start, you can be sued even if you are not truly liable. I can think of many ways in which an ebike rider could be found liable for injury to the occupant of a car or a pedestrian.

I don't have an e bike but this thread will make me think twice about getting one without knowing I have liability coverage.
The chances of getting into an accident on an e-bike and being liable for injury to someone (or something) else is exceedingly small; as in, I'd be curious if anybody can find a single instance of it actually happening. I certainly have never heard of it and I have been a member of the cycling community for over 20yrs. I have insurance for things that have a decent chance of occurring and/or would be catastrophic if they did occur, this doesn't logically meet either criteria and I ride my e-bike probably 3x more miles than I drive (and have probably cycled more miles as an adult than I've driven). I'd consider insurance because e-bikes are stolen at an alarming rate, but not separate liability insurance.
Here's a discussion of this issue in an insurance trade site that indicates to me that liability risk as an e-bike rider is a new but significant concern:

https://www.propertycasualty360.com/202 ... ke-market/

The author:

Louie Castoria is a partner in Kaufman, Dolowich &Voluck, LLP, a national law firm, chairman emeritus of the Insurance Educational Association and an adjunct professor of law at Golden Gate University.

Relevant excerpts:

Liability coverage for e-bikes may be essential but is not yet mandated. As with automobiles, it is hard to know how high your liability insurance limits should be. The standard “15-30” auto policy can be woefully inadequate in a major injury accident. The same is true for e-bikes.

E-bike riders are more than three times more likely to have a collision with a pedestrian than either scooters or traditional bikes. Injuries arising from electric bike collisions may be more serious due to the weight and speed of the e-bike at impact; as opposed to impact from a conventional bike. (Credit: Michael Marciano/ALM)
stoptothink
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by stoptothink »

Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 11:29 am
stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:52 am
Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:40 am
furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:51 am
Harry Livermore wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:26 am I think it's an interesting and astute question.
What if you were riding your e-bike in the right-hand bike lane, and while passing a line of stopped cars in your direction, carelessly crossed a driveway on your right without looking to your left to see if any oncoming traffic was turning in? What if an oncoming car was indeed turning, perhaps a little too fast, and swerved to avoid you, hitting one of the stopped cars in the process? I am not a lawyer but it would seem to me the rider of the e-bike precipitated the accident... and might be at fault.
Better to find out now, and purchase the correct coverage.
Cheers
Turning vehicles are required to yield to oncoming vehicles that have the right of way. The hypothetical case that one of them is a bicycle changes nothing.

If turning vehicle A can’t see oncoming vehicle B then the opposite is also true, B can’t see A. Caution all around is called for but the legal requirement still rests on A not to turn until they are sure there is no approaching traffic.
So just ride your bike carefully and you'll never be liable? That doesn't sound like a great plan to me. For a start, you can be sued even if you are not truly liable. I can think of many ways in which an ebike rider could be found liable for injury to the occupant of a car or a pedestrian.

I don't have an e bike but this thread will make me think twice about getting one without knowing I have liability coverage.
The chances of getting into an accident on an e-bike and being liable for injury to someone (or something) else is exceedingly small; as in, I'd be curious if anybody can find a single instance of it actually happening. I certainly have never heard of it and I have been a member of the cycling community for over 20yrs. I have insurance for things that have a decent chance of occurring and/or would be catastrophic if they did occur, this doesn't logically meet either criteria and I ride my e-bike probably 3x more miles than I drive (and have probably cycled more miles as an adult than I've driven). I'd consider insurance because e-bikes are stolen at an alarming rate, but not separate liability insurance.
Here's a discussion of this issue in an insurance trade site that convinces me that liability risk as an e-bike rider is a new but significant concern:

https://www.propertycasualty360.com/202 ... ke-market/

The author:

Louie Castoria is a partner in Kaufman, Dolowich &Voluck, LLP, a national law firm, chairman emeritus of the Insurance Educational Association and an adjunct professor of law at Golden Gate University.

Relevant excerpts:

Liability coverage for e-bikes may be essential but is not yet mandated. As with automobiles, it is hard to know how high your liability insurance limits should be. The standard “15-30” auto policy can be woefully inadequate in a major injury accident. The same is true for e-bikes.

E-bike riders are more than three times more likely to have a collision with a pedestrian than either scooters or traditional bikes. Injuries arising from electric bike collisions may be more serious due to the weight and speed of the e-bike at impact; as opposed to impact from a conventional bike. (Credit: Michael Marciano/ALM)
I would love to know how it was determined that e-bike riders are more than 3x more likely to get in a collision with a pedestrian than a scooter or traditional bike. That doesn't pass the smell test, at all. It would seem logical that e-scooters (which are throttle only, very often ridden on sidewalks, and often have a lot more power than any legal e-bike) would pose the biggest risk.

Also, OP's bike is class 2; it is limited to 20mph. Any decent cyclist can exceed 20mph for A LONG time on a road bike, will be in a worse riding position to see and respond to everything around them, and usually has clipless pedals as an added complication.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Lee_WSP »

If you are judgment proof, don't bother. If you have significant assets, it'd be kind of risky to just say that, oh, this motorized vehicle doesn't weigh all that much and it's impossible to cause significant injuries to someone or something (small pet).

So unless it costs as much as car insurance it's worth it for peace of mind.

There's also the question of the battery exploding. Is that covered as property under home owners? I doubt it, but that's the first liability that came to my mind, not hitting someone. Killing or crippling a dog would be number 2.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 11:40 am
I would love to know how it was determined that e-bike riders are more than 3x more likely to get in a collision with a pedestrian than a scooter or traditional bike. That doesn't pass the smell test, at all.
You're in luck, I found the original source of the quote, BMJ journals:

https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/26/6/524

Methods:
Descriptive and comparative analysis of injury patterns and trends associated with E-bikes, powered scooters and pedal bicycles from 2000 to 2017 using the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Results
.......E-bike-related injuries were also more than three times more likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian than either pedal bicycles (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.5 to 23.6) or powered scooters (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.3 to 32.9)........


In the end, I'm going to go with the attorney's risk analysis over yours. It comes down to faith and risk tolerance. Admittedly, I'm a bit on the skittish side. :beer
Last edited by Luckywon on Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lee_WSP
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Lee_WSP »

It's because idiots keep riding e bikes on sidewalks. Don't bike on the sidewalk, and you are just as likely as scooters.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

I’m going to guess the study is heavily weighted with data from NYC where many of the delivery drivers are using motorized cycles - hard to really call them eBikes as we’re coming to define them.

It’s been a point of contention in the city.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:18 pm I’m going to guess the study is heavily weighted with data from NYC where many of the delivery drivers are using motorized cycles - hard to really call them eBikes as we’re coming to define them.

It’s been a point of contention in the city.
That would be an interesting confounding factor but it appears to me it was based on national data:

Methods:
Descriptive and comparative analysis of injury patterns and trends associated with E-bikes, powered scooters and pedal bicycles from 2000 to 2017 using the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:14 pm It's because idiots keep riding e bikes on sidewalks. Don't bike on the sidewalk, and you are just as likely as scooters.
Yes, that sounds like a very plausible explanation for this surprising statistic.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by stoptothink »

Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:11 pm
stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 11:40 am
I would love to know how it was determined that e-bike riders are more than 3x more likely to get in a collision with a pedestrian than a scooter or traditional bike. That doesn't pass the smell test, at all.
You're in luck, I found the original source of the quote, BMJ journals:

https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/26/6/524

Methods:
Descriptive and comparative analysis of injury patterns and trends associated with E-bikes, powered scooters and pedal bicycles from 2000 to 2017 using the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Results
.......E-bike-related injuries were also more than three times more likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian than either pedal bicycles (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.5 to 23.6) or powered scooters (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.3 to 32.9)........


In the end, I'm going to go with the attorney's risk analysis over yours. It comes down to faith and risk tolerance. Admittedly, I'm a bit on the skittish side. :beer
That data is from the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, '00-'17. Not only do we have no idea how that data was collected (I can't find full-text), but electric assisted e-bikes and e-scooters were very rare (and unregulated) as of 5yrs ago, so I'm not sure how relevant it would be today or to OP's specific situation.

You have to examine your own situation. OP is not on a Sur-Ron (for those not familiar, very popular 5k+ watt "e-bike" - really e-motorcycle) and doesn't sound like they will be doing a ton of riding on a sidewalk. If they wouldn't get a separate policy for riding their normal bike, why would they for an upright bike that can't exceed 20mph?
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by RetiredAL »

Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:09 pm If you are judgment proof, don't bother. If you have significant assets, it'd be kind of risky to just say that, oh, this motorized vehicle doesn't weigh all that much and it's impossible to cause significant injuries to someone or something (small pet).

So unless it costs as much as car insurance it's worth it for peace of mind.

There's also the question of the battery exploding. Is that covered as property under home owners? I doubt it, but that's the first liability that came to my mind, not hitting someone. Killing or crippling a dog would be number 2.
Amazing how many on this thread are making their stance the same as the fictionalized ostrich's cartoon stance of head burying - what it can't see won't hurt it!
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by furwut »

Getting back to the topic.

OP & I both live in DC and both have a Condo Owner's insurance policy from Traveler's. He has called them and been told they would not cover liability from operation of his eBike. I too have called them (last night) and was told they would! :oops:

Homeowner's/Condo does not cover motor vehicles. This is how my (our?) policy defines a motor vehicle:
A self-propelled land or amphibious vehicle
In the American market eBikes being sold are categorized into three classes, Class-1, Class-2, and Class-3.
Class-1 eBikes will assist pedaling up to 20 MPH
Class-3 eBikes will assist pedaling up to 28 MPH

Neither Class-1 or Class-3 bikes are what I would call self-propelled.

Op would like to insure a Class-2 eBike.
Class-2 eBikes have a throttle and are self-propelled up to 20 MPH.

So whether Traveler's or another insurer will cover your eBike may depend on its Class.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:28 pm
If they wouldn't get a separate policy for riding their normal bike, why would they for an upright bike that can't exceed 20mph?
I think the issue was that a normal bike would be covered under their homeowner/umbrella policy, whereas the e-bike may not.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Luckywon »

stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:28 pm
That data is from the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, '00-'17. Not only do we have no idea how that data was collected....
To give you an idea, here is how the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System collects data (It is operated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Division which is an independent agency of the U.S Government):

Welcome to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System

For more than 45 years, the CPSC has operated a statistically valid injury surveillance and follow-back system known as the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The primary purpose of NEISS is to collect data on consumer product-related injuries occurring in the United States. CPSC uses these data to produce nationwide estimates of product-related injuries.

NEISS is based on a nationally representative probability sample of hospitals in the U.S. and its territories. Each participating NEISS hospital reports patient information for every emergency department visit associated with a consumer product or a poisoning to a child younger than five years of age. The total number of product-related hospital emergency department visits nationwide can be estimated from the sample of cases reported in the NEISS.

NEISS has become an important public health research tool, not just for CPSC, but also for researchers and consumers throughout the United States and around the world. In 2000, CPSC expanded NEISS to collect data on all injuries for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through an interagency agreement...


https://www.cpsc.gov/Research--Statisti ... njury-Data
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by mgensler »

It would be helpful to have the full text of the paper. This really doesn't tell us the # of crashes, severity of injuries, and deaths. Also who was injured? The person riding or someone else? I've crashed on my ebike three times and only injured myself.

I'm involved in transportation and engineers liability is focused on what happens to people inside cars. If you're not in a car, they don't see a liability risk. That is a major reason deaths of people walking and biking are rising at a faster rate than people inside cars.

There's no real answer here. The risk seems extremely low, close to but not zero. There would be more carriers offering this if it was a bigger concern.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by 3 putter »

mgensler wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 7:46 pm It would be helpful to have the full text of the paper. This really doesn't tell us the # of crashes, severity of injuries, and deaths. Also who was injured? The person riding or someone else? I've crashed on my ebike three times and only injured myself.

I'm involved in transportation and engineers liability is focused on what happens to people inside cars. If you're not in a car, they don't see a liability risk. That is a major reason deaths of people walking and biking are rising at a faster rate than people inside cars.

There's no real answer here. The risk seems extremely low, close to but not zero. There would be more carriers offering this if it was a bigger concern.
Maybe - this is also an emerging risk so carriers may be waiting for more accessible actuarial and underwriting info to release products.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:51 pm In the American market eBikes being sold are categorized into three classes, Class-1, Class-2, and Class-3.
Class-1 eBikes will assist pedaling up to 20 MPH
Class-3 eBikes will assist pedaling up to 28 MPH

Neither Class-1 or Class-3 bikes are what I would call self-propelled.

Op would like to insure a Class-2 eBike.
Class-2 eBikes have a throttle and are self-propelled up to 20 MPH.

So whether Traveler's or another insurer will cover your eBike may depend on its Class.
Minor correction, Class 3 e-bikes can definitely be self-propelled. For example, I think all the Ride1Up models are described as "Class 3 electric bike, with 28mph pedal assist and 20mph throttle."
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by Ketawa »

furwut wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:51 pm OP & I both live in DC and both have a Condo Owner's insurance policy from Traveler's. He has called them and been told they would not cover liability from operation of his eBike. I too have called them (last night) and was told they would! :oops:

Homeowner's/Condo does not cover motor vehicles. This is how my (our?) policy defines a motor vehicle:
A self-propelled land or amphibious vehicle
I called Travelers again and went through the sections of my policy that discuss property coverage for motor vehicles and motor vehicle liability. The agent and I both concluded that an e-bike is not covered.

On the definition of a motor vehicle, I think a Class 2 e-bike, and probably most Class 3 e-bikes, are self-propelled as defined by Travelers. Local regulations are not necessarily aligned with the e-bike classification criteria. DC categorizes all Class 1 and 2 e-bikes as a "motorized bicycle", and in the D.C. Code, motor vehicles are defined as vehicles propelled by an internal-combustion engine, electricity, or steam. I don't know which would take precedence for a Class 1 e-bike.

Specific language in the policy, under Personal Property:
4. Property Not Covered.
We do not cover:
[...]
c. “Motor vehicles”.
(1) This includes:
[accessories, equipment, parts are also not covered]
(2) We do cover “motor vehicles” not required to be registered for use on public roads or property which are:
(a) Used to service an “insured’s” residence; or
(b) Designed to assist the handicapped;
4.c.(2).(a) refers to a motor vehicle such as a tractor that is used exclusively on the residence, not a motor vehicle that is taken off the residence.

Under Liability - Exclusions:
14. “Bodily injury” or “property damage” arising out of “motor vehicle liability” if, at the time and place of an “occurrence”, the involved “motor vehicle” is:
a. Registered for use on public roads or property;
b. Not registered for use on public roads or property, but such registration is required by a law, or regulation issued by a government agency, for it to be lawfully used at the place of the “occurrence”; or
c. [list of other circumstances such as being used in a race, business purposes, etc.]
This section means it is impossible for a Class 3 e-bike to be covered in DC; it would be classified as a "motor-driven cycle" and required to be registered with the DMV. I had hope for my Class 2 e-bike, but continuing on:
If “motor vehicle liability” is not excluded under Liability - Exclusion 14.a-c. Liability Coverages E and F still do not apply to “motor vehicle liability” unless at the time of an “occurrence”, the involved “motor vehicle” is:
a. In dead storage on an “insured location”;
b. Used solely to service an “insured’s” residence;
c. Designed to assist the handicapped and [...]
d. Designed for recreational use off public roads and [...]
e. A motorized golf cart [...]
Based on this section, I might be covered if my bike's battery caught fire at my home or wherever I am temporarily residing since those are considered an "insured location", but not for any liability while riding. The battery issue might depend on the definition of "dead storage".

This time, the customer service representative said she could transfer me to a department that caters to e-bike insurance. Suprise, it was Markel, where I already have a quote.
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Re: Worthwhile to purchase separate liability insurance for an e-bike?

Post by CuriousTacos »

Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 12:11 pm
stoptothink wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 11:40 am
I would love to know how it was determined that e-bike riders are more than 3x more likely to get in a collision with a pedestrian than a scooter or traditional bike. That doesn't pass the smell test, at all.
You're in luck, I found the original source of the quote, BMJ journals:

https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/26/6/524

Methods:
Descriptive and comparative analysis of injury patterns and trends associated with E-bikes, powered scooters and pedal bicycles from 2000 to 2017 using the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Results
.......E-bike-related injuries were also more than three times more likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian than either pedal bicycles (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.5 to 23.6) or powered scooters (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.3 to 32.9)........
That quote from the results should not be interpreted to mean "e-bike riders are more than 3x more likely to get in a collision with a pedestrian than a scooter or traditional bike". Instead, it's more nuanced, and merely means that e-bike riders, when injured, are >3x more likely to have been injured in a collision with a pedestrian than when riders of pedal bikes and scooters were injured.

Perhaps those riding pedal bicycles and scooters don't get injured as often as e-bike riders when they collide with pedestrians, but they still collide with them just as frequently. Or those riding pedal bicycles and scooters get injured in lots of other ways (i.e. mountain biking or in collisions with cars) while still getting injured in collisions with pedestrians just as frequently as e-bike riders.

It also says nothing about the likelihood of causing injury to pedestrians. The research was solely based around injuries to the riders themselves.

I say all this as someone who feels less safe on local recreation paths due to the increase in e-bikes, so if anything I'm biased against them. But the research should still be interpreted accurately.
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