E-bike insurance: Everything you need to know and why it’s important
As the number of e-bikes out in the world continues to grow, we delve into the types of cover available for riders
E-bikes have arguably been one of the biggest revolutions in cycling in recent years, as more and more people are turning to pedal-assisted power – here is everything you need to know about insuring your e-bike.
In the last few years, the number of e-bikes on the roads has risen massively since 2018, as the price of electric powered bicycles began to tumble.
According to Deloitte, more than 130 million e-bikes are expected to be sold globally between 2020 and 2023.
European countries like Germany and the Netherlands have the strongest appetite for e-bikes, as almost a million were sold in Germany in the first half of 2019, while in the Netherlands more than half of all adult bikes sold were battery powered.
In the UK, only 70,000 e-bikes were sold in 2018 (two per cent of all bikes) while in the US sale are also a relatively small proportion of the bicycle market.
But as the demand for e-bikes continues to grow, so will the demand to keep bikes and people covered by bike insurance.
Here you’ll find loads of advice on how to choose the right insurance policy for you. Or to make life easier, we’ve partnered with Protect Your Family on an insurance comparison engine so you can sit back and let the bots do the searching.
Here is everything you need to know about insuring your e-bike:
How much does e-bike insurance cost?
The biggest question for anyone considering taking out e-bike insurance is the cost.
While like any insurance policy, the money involved will vary greatly depending on the cost of the bike, the cover provided and the insurer themselves.
But as a guide, insurance for a £2,000 bike can start from as little as £9 a month, including cover for theft, vandalism and accidental damage.
Do you legally need to insure your e-bike?
On the question of whether your e-bike legally needs insurance, first we have to differentiate between the two types of electric bike available – the pedelec and the s-pedelec.
The first of these, the pedalec, is an electrically assisted pedal cycle, the kind that most bike shops will sell.
These machines assist the rider up to a speed of 15.5mph/25km/h and have a maximum power output of 250w, and do not require any kind of insurance, licence, tax or helmet by law.
However the s-pedalec, or an e-bike with a twist-and-go function, may be subject to the Road Traffic Act and would then need liability insurance, a number plate, plus tax and an MOT.
David George, CEO of specialist cycling insure Bikmo, said: “However, given the average value of an e-bike is significantly higher than that of a regular bike and there is more complexity in the motor, gearbox, battery and electrics, we do recommend insuring e-bikes to protect against financial loss, should the bike be damaged or stolen. After all, you want to keep riding, and we want you too.”
Why should people consider insuring their e-bike?
There are a number of ways you can cover your e-bike, in the same ways you can cover your regular bicycle.
While you can opt to add your bike to your home insurance cover, this often comes with increased costs if your bike is worth more than £500 and you may have to fork out a hefty excess if something does happen to your bike.
According to Bikmo, you’re far more likely to claim for your bikes than your home, so you may need to consider the costs if something does happen to your bike.
Bikmo’s research has also said that their claims data and e-bike research has found you’re up to three times more likely to claim for accidental damage than theft, so bike insurance won’t only cover you in case of a crime, but also just in case anything goes wrong.
George said: “The primary function of any insurance is to protect against the risk of financial loss and, in the case of cycle insurance, the main risk is directly linked to the value of the bike. The average price of an e-bike in the UK is in excess of £1,800, compared to approx £400 for a non-electric bike and the first question to ask yourself is ‘if this got stolen or damaged tomorrow, can I afford to replace it?’”
But there are also a few other things to consider with your e-bike insurance – some policies will also cover the cost of your clothing, GPS, lights, and any other cycling items that you may not want to lose, damage, or have stolen.
There is also third-party liability and legal expenses cover too, which should form part of your policy, and will cover you if you cause damage any while riding your e-bike, like crashing into the back of a car or injuring someone in a crash.
Legal expenses will then protect you if someone crashes into you and means you’ll be covered if you suffered any losses due to injury.
How does e-bike insurance differ from regular bike insurance?
You might be wondering if there is any notable difference between insuring your e-bike and any insurance you may already have for your road bikes.
The straightforward answer is the electrical element.
George said: “The key difference between an e-bike and regular non-assisted bike is the ‘e’ or electrical element, namely the motor, battery, gearbox, interface and control system, that gives you that lovely boost out on the roads or trails.
“As such, anyone choosing an insurance policy for their e-bike must make sure the policy covers these elements, so you’re not left high and dry when you need to make a claim.”
Interestingly, Bikmo has undertaken a survey of 3,000 cyclists in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria and found that e-bike riders made 38 per cent fewer claims than traditional riders.
For that reason, the company offers a 25 per cent discount for e-bikes.
Bikmo puts the difference in claims down to a number of factors, including the fact that most e-bike riders use their machines to get to work, and that e-bike riders are more risk averse.