Are E-Bikes Covered Under My Homeowners Insurance?

What Damage Could My E-Bike Possibly Cause?

Lithium powered bikes are becoming increasingly popular, and sales are up year over year for retailers. With the cost of some E-bikes skyrocketing over $15,000, it is imperative that you find out whether your homeowner’s coverage would cover a potential loss. 

If you have been watching the news, you may have noticed E-Bikes exploding or catching fire due to malfunctioning lithium-ion batteries. IMAGINE, for a moment, it was YOUR teenager who innocently plugged in their E-bike in the basement of their apartment or house and the bike exploded due to a malfunctioning lithium-ion battery, AND 38 people were injured AND the apartment building caught on fire. AND now you call your insurance agent only to find there is NO coverage for the bike, the damage to the apartment house, AND the injuries to the tenants and passer-byes.  

What is most frightening is that these powerful rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can be found in everything from cellphones and laptops to electric vehicles.  Consumer Reports noted that in the county of Queens, NY alone there were over 104 fires stemming from batteries from electric bikes or electric scooters in 2021. Specific data on the brands causing these fires aren’t available, but fire experts say they suspect that low-quality batteries from fringe players are often to blame. Some of the reported reasons for the explosion include manufacturing errors, design defects, user errors, and poor-quality chargers and components.  The bottom line is – when the vehicles are plugged in “everyone and everything” is at risk. 

Now for the BIG question … Is there any insurance coverage for the E-Bike itself for the damage to property that is caused by the e-bike exploding or catching on fire, and for the loss of life?  Remember, all the innocent bike rider did was plug it in, and then the loss occurred.  There is NO straightforward answer to this question. Please consider the following points:
E-bikes fall into a gap between bicycles and motor vehicles. Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates E-Bikes, it must comply with safety standards set forth for conventional bicycles. Additionally, because they are considered bicycles, they are not regulated under motor vehicle standards.

Homeowners Coverage:For first-party physical damage, most homeowners/tenant policy carriers classify E-Bikes as motorized vehicles which are “EXCLUDED” on the policy for direct and indirect coverage. 

AutoCoverage:Auto policies do not consider an E-Bike an “auto” and therefore do not provide coverage.Manufacturer’s Product Liability PolicyA viable AND complex solution, but one being sought out more and more as these losses increase.

Consider Purchasing an E-Bike Policy 
A safer solution would be to purchase an E-Bike policy.  Some insurance companies allow you to purchase a policy like a motorcycle policy.  You can purchase liability coverage, uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage, medical payments, and physical damage coverage.  You can also purchase collision and comprehensive coverage with some insurers.  
In summary, E-Bike losses can lead to a significant issue most often NOT covered by insurance.  To learn how to best protect yourself, contact The Insurance Center to learn more.