Do you need insurance for an electric bike?

Best Overall: Markel

Markel

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Markel is a top-rated insurance carrier that offers ebike insurance for as little as $100 per year. Like other providers on our list, Markel only insures bikes with motors that are 750 watts or under, including pedal-assist ebikes with a top-assisted speed of 20 mph, throttle assist ebikes with a top-assisted speed of 20 mph, and pedal-assist ebikes with a top-assisted speed of 28 mph. 

Physical damage insurance is available with deductibles between approximately $200 and $500, which includes vandalism, crash damage, and collisions with another rider—with coverage options for racing, too. Additional protection is available at no additional cost, including spare parts and accessories protection (up to around $1,000 total per term), replacement cost coverage (at full value), theft protection, and transit protection (within the U.S. and Canada). Worldwide physical damage is also available.

Markel also provides the following coverage: Bicycle liability protection with limits available from about $25,000 to $100,000; vehicle contact protection that covers damage if you’re hit by another driver; medical payments with limits from roughly $1,000 to $10,000; roadside assistance for about $12 per year, per bicycle.

What’s more, Markel offers rental reimbursement if your bike is damaged and competitive event fee reimbursement for competitive cyclists if you’re unable to compete in a race. Claims are typically paid within seven to 10 business days of receiving the necessary documentation. 

Why it's a fit for Treehugger: Markel is our top choice for ebike insurance because of the wide range of coverage options that can be customized for everyone from commuters to competitive cyclists.

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What Are Some E-Bike Laws to Be Aware of?

This is more of a generalization because of the differences from state to state and municipality to municipality. Generally speaking, most states do not require the use of a license to operate and some don’t even have a minimum age required for operation.

Having said that, however, there are a few states that require licensing and will even specify the class designation of that license. As it stands, 32 of the 50 states require no licensing at all. Even in a couple of those states, there is some grey area on the subject because some of those states don’t view electric bikes as a “motor-driven cycle.”

Also, the general minimum age for operation is between 14 and 16. There are class specifications in some states, but it is a safe rule of thumb to assume that if you are at least 17 years old, you can operate an e-bike in most states.

If the whole process wasn’t confusing enough, each state has a maximum power when it comes to motor or engine size that is permitted for e-bikes. Even then, your local jurisdiction may have yet another standard for definition.

There are also helmet rules to be aware of in some states. In exactly half of the states, there are either no defined or no required rules when it comes to wearing a helmet while operating or riding an e-bike. In the other 25 states, it typically comes down to age (usually anyone 16 or under has to wear one) though there are a few states that are class-dependent.

It cannot be stressed enough that the laws and regulations for e-bike ownership and operation are very much dependent on the state that you reside in. Before making a purchase of an e-bike, be certain to check into your local jurisdiction’s rules and regulations on the matter.

Owning and operating one is legal everywhere, but there are specific rules on just where it can be operated and by whom. Without clarification, you could be setting yourself up for a fine that could be avoided otherwise.

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How much does it cost to insure an ebike?

It’s difficult to say how much you’ll have to pay for ebike insurance because the insurance premium calculation will be based on a wide range of different risk variables, including:

  • Your postcode
  • The crime rate in your local area
  • The type of electric bike you own
  • Your ebike’s current market value
  • Whether or not you use your ebike to compete in competitive cycling races

If you’re keen to know how much ebike insurance might cost you, the best way is to use our ebike insurance comparison service to compare quotes from a range of providers.

You’re under no obligation to take out a policy, and it could end up costing less than you think.

You could pay less than £43 for bicycles valued up to £1,500* Use our insurance comparison tool to get a quote now. *51% of customers with a bicycle valued up to £1,500 who obtained a quote for Bicycle Insurance through this service provided by Seopa Ltd between September and November 2021 were quoted less than £43.94. Using the same calculation for bicycles valued between £1,501 and £3,000 gave a figure of £107.34 and for bicycles valued over £3,000 gave a figure of £214.34. The quote price you could achieve is dependent on your individual circumstances.

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Final Thoughts on E-Bike Insurance

Even though e-bike insurance isn’t required for cyclists, being informed on why people may consider purchasing a policy is important. If you decide that it is something you want, be sure to perform thorough research before you buy a policy. Read reviews from customers to ensure you’re working with a reputable company that knows how to handle claims efficiently. You want to make sure that you get the best e-bike insurance policy for you. You will thank yourself in the future because while insurance can be a pricey purchase to make, it will be well worth it can also be beneficial in the event you need it.

 

How do you get insurance for your e-bike?

This leaves the next question in the process: how does one insure their e-bike? Surely you would want some sort of protection against things such as damage or theft, especially given the investment made into the electric bike itself.

This can sometimes be done through homeowner or renter’s insurance for basic coverage. Even then, you may have a difficult time finding an insurance company to cover it. It can vary greatly from company to company and requires a more detailed inquiry with your current provider.

Before purchasing your e-bike, take the proper steps to talk to your home or renter’s insurance first. Not every insurance company is the same and some may offer coverage while others do not. The last thing you want to do is make an expensive e-bike purchase only to find out that you cannot protect it against theft or damage.

In any event, it is not required that you have e-bike insurance before operating it and that much is clear across all 50 states. The rest of the rules and regulations can get quite dicey, so let’s get into the other things that you want to consider.

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If you have a good record as the driver of a car, it doesn’t matter when you go to get a motorcycle insurance policy. When you get your motorcycle licence, you will be viewed as a new rider, which means your rates will be higher than a more experienced rider. 

If you have a bad record as the driver of a car though (i.e. speeding tickets, accidents, etc.), this will be taken into consideration and could mean higher rates for your motorcycle insurance. 

Here’s a money-saving tip: If you take a rider training course, many insurance providers will view you as having an extra year’s worth of riding experience and give you a reduced rate on the insurance policy for your motorized scooter.

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Is an EBike Considered a Motorized Vehicle?

In the U.S., the classification of ebikes as a motorized vehicle varies by state. For example, in Alabama and Alaska, electric bikes are considered motorcycles. However, this is more the exception than the rule, and most states classify ebikes as bicycles or electric-assisted bicycles, meaning they often don’t require a license or impose a minimum driving age. Because of these differences, though, you should always check your state’s requirements when considering an ebike.

Do I Need Electric Bike Rental Insurance?

If you rent an e-bike, you’ll still be held liable for damage to the bike or injury to others. Therefore, when riding a rental, you should strongly consider insuring it, even if it’s just for the day. That’s because damage to a rental bike might not be covered by the renter and it could lead to you paying for repairs out of pocket.

Some bike insurance companies will offer protection for rentals in limited circumstances. For example, Veloinsurance will provide some coverage but only if you’re riding in an “organized or competitive event more than 50 miles away from home.”

The best option is to inquire about rental coverage directly with the company you are renting from. Bike shops often rent out bikes as well as offer insurance for the day. But, it’s a good idea to check this out before you arrive at your travel destination.

Buying insurance will increase the cost of your e-bike rental substantially, but peace of mind may make it worth it in the end.

Can You Ride An Electric Bike Witho… x To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Can You Ride An Electric Bike Without A License

Conclusion: Do I Need Insurance for an Electric Bike?

If for no other reason than for your peace of mind, you need some type of insurance coverage on your electric bike (unless it’s a really inexpensive model). Do your research and find out what types of coverage are available in the area you live, as that tends to determine insurance costs.

Or, if you’re not riding very often and only go short distances (and you’ve secured your e-bike at home), then insurance may not be necessary at all.

Just remind yourself why you purchased an electric bike in the first place. You might’ve bought one specifically because it can go faster and a longer distance than traditional bikes. Both speed and distance increase your risk.

So, you may wish to add on extra liability protection from your homeowners or renters insurance provider, if offered.

Or, to be sure you’re fully covered for your priceless electric bike, consider purchasing specialized bike insurance. This will protect you from any accidents or theft outside of your home.

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Do You Need E-Bike Insurance?

Electric bike laws vary by state. Many states have established classification systems for e-bikes to differentiate between similar types of vehicles, like electric scooters and mopeds. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 26 states have adopted a three-tier electric bike classification system:

  • Class 1: E-bikes with motors that provide pedaling assistance up to 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 2: E-bikes with motors that can provide pedaling assistance or propel the bike without pedaling up to 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 3: E-bikes equipped with motors that provide pedaling assistance up to 28 miles per hour and with speedometers.

States use these classifications to establish laws that govern many aspects of electric bike ownership, including driver age limits and requirements for helmets, licenses, and registration. Some states have also used e-bike classification to clarify insurance requirements. For example, in New Jersey, e-bike owners aren’t required to carry insurance, have a license, or register class 1 or 2 electric bicycles—but riders or passengers aged 17 or younger must wear helmets. If you’re unsure about your state’s e-bike insurance requirements, check with your state department of insurance or your insurance agent.

Avoid needing to claim

So how can you avoid having your e-bike stolen in the first place? As Taupitz explains, the best place to start is to invest in a really good lock. 

“We see people buying a really expensive bike and then buying a £10 cable binder – and that doesn’t stack up,” he says. “Even if you have an entry-level bike, treat yourself to a higher end lock.”

But how can you tell if a lock is good? Sold Secure is an independent organization that tests and certifies bike locks to make it easier for cyclists to compare their security levels. Companies submit a lock for testing, and after attacking them with a variety of tools (cable cutters, saws, angle grinders and more), Sold Secure will give it a rating – Gold, Silver or Bronze – depending on how long it took to break.

A flimsy cable lock is no good for securing an electric bike (Image credit: Shutterstock)

To find out whether you should entrust your bike to a particular lock, simply look it up in Sold Secure’s database. For an expensive electric bike, you should definitely be looking for a Gold rated lock, which will take some serious work to break.

Locking your bike somewhere covered by CCTV is also a good idea, as is applying general common sense when choosing where to leave it. “You wouldn’t believe sometimes when people leave their £5,000 bike in a dark alley and wonder why it has been stolen,” says Taupitz.

In some ways, e-bikes are harder to steal – partly because they’re heavier and more difficult to carry away, and partly because they’re often fitted with GPS, which shows their exact location. However, Taupitz explains that there are some highly organized gangs that can steal them more easily than an opportunistic thief, but not many. A bigger problem is vandalism.

Vandals often target e-bikes, forcing the battery off the frame or smashing it (Image credit: Shutterstock)

“We’ve seen very few e-bike thefts, but we’ve seen a lot of battery thefts,” he says. “People use brute force to get hold of it, or they use a screwdriver of some sort to just smash it. I’m not sure how you’d sell it on, but that doesn’t seem to be a big concern.”

You can also help avoid a claim by making sure your e-bike is properly maintained. “A lot of damages occur because you haven’t seen a bike shop for half a year and your brake pads don’t work properly anymore, greasy chains, and things that can be avoided easily,” says Taupitz. “Treat your bike with respect.”

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