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How to insure bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters

By: Michelle Bates on March 8, 2024
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With e-bikes and e-scooters gaining popularity, there are more ways to get where we’re going faster. But with more horsepower comes more potential for e-bike collisions. Before you hop on an e-bike or e-scooter, it’s worth considering your insurance options to protect your physical and financial safety.  

Home and tenant insurance can cover bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters 

While a traditional bicycle certainly doesn’t require insurance, your property insurance policy protects it against damage and theft — even outside the home —  as long as your coverage limit accounts for it.   

Insurance isn’t mandatory for e-bikes either. Similar to a standard bicycle, an e-bike that stays under 32 kilometres per hour is typically covered by your home or tenant insurance policy, but you may need to increase your contents coverage limit. Keep in mind, that is only true for e-bikes with pedals. Removing the pedals subjects the e-bike to insurance and licence requirements, just like a moped or any other motor vehicle.  

Your home insurance can also extend to physical injury if you get into a collision with another bike, e-bike, or pedestrian. However, any injuries involving a motor vehicle will have to involve the driver’s accident benefits under their auto insurance.  

Meanwhile, insurance requirements regarding e-scooters depend on the province and municipality you live in. Each is responsible for enacting its own bylaws on where you can ride and whether things like permits and licences are mandatory.  

Read more: What kind of insurance do you need as a cyclist? 

Risks of riding without sufficient insurance 

If you ride without enough insurance coverage or haven’t included your e-bike or scooter under your home insurance or tenant policy at all, you’ll have no protection against damage. For example, if your battery were to spontaneously combust — which happens more than you’d think — not only will you not be reimbursed for your e-bike, but the explosion could cause damage to your home if it’s kept in storage and jeopardize your physical safety.  

On top of a lack of property damage protection, you could find yourself without enough liability coverage in the event of an accident with a pedestrian or cyclist. It’s important to determine whether the wording of your policy would allow it to respond to this type of event in the first place. If not, it’s worth adding the proper coverage, as the consequences can pile up for an under-insured rider. 

“If they get into an at-fault collision with a pedestrian or other third party, they may become personally liable for damages claimed arising from the collision,” says Jeff Weidman, partner at Calgary law firm, Clyde & Co. “In the event the injured party commences litigation for their damages, the owner may not only be responsible for the damages, but also for the injured party’s legal expenses.”  

And if the owner resists these expenses, the financial consequences can be dire. 

“Personal liability such as this could result in the injured party obtaining a legal judgment against the owner, which, if not paid, could result in certain steps being taken to enforce the judgment, including seizure of bank accounts, personal property and employment wages,” says Weidman. 

That’s why it’s best to talk to your home or tenant insurance provider and make sure you declare your e-bike or scooter so your coverage can accommodate it.  

If this increases your premium, you can compare home insurance rates to ensure you’re still getting the best value for your protection. 

Related: What is personal liability insurance in home insurance? 

What insurance do you need if you drive an e-bike or e-scooter for work? 

Not all food delivery apps in Canada are created equal when it comes to insurance. For example, Uber Eats clearly outlines its accident insurance coverage limits for e-bikes and e-scooters. This policy includes personal injury protection like rehabilitation coverage and accidental medical reimbursement. Meanwhile, other delivery apps like Skip the Dishes require the courier to find their own insurance that meets their provincial standards.  

Similar to car delivery, it’s best to tell your insurer if you’re using an e-bike or scooter for business use. That way you can be sure there are no gaps in your coverage. 

“If the e-bike is used for business purposes, then it must be insured as Business Property,” says Chris Bayly, senior vice president and CFO of Square One Insurance.  That signals to your insurer than your e-bike is considered a piece of equipment you rely on for work as someone who’s self-employed — similar to a computer, or business inventory. 

This extended coverage is different from insuring an e-bike or scooter for personal use, he says, which may fall under Bicycles, Sporting Equipment, and Watercraft coverage, or something similar depending on your provider. Without business property insurance, your insurance company could refuse a claim related to your e-bike later.  

Do public e-bike or e-scooter companies offer insurance? 

If you try out a public e-bike or e-scooter like those offered by Bixi and Bike Share Toronto, just know that neither company provides protection against injury of one’s self or a third party. It’s up to the rider to operate the e-bike or e-scooter with caution. Currently, the only insurance in place for public e-scooters in North America related to injury is exclusively for injuries that occur due to negligence from the company itself, rather than the rider. That is, if the e-scooter isn’t properly maintained.  

With this in mind, it’s crucial to be sure of the coverage you have before relying on an e-bike or e-scooter to get around. While both offer a zero-emissions solution to getting from point A to point B, arriving at your destination safely is the top priority.  

Read next: How car share vehicles are insured in Canada 

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