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How To Insure Your E-Bike

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  • How To Insure Your E-Bike

    Hi Everyone:

    Full Disclosure...I am a personal/commercial insurance broker by trade and own Integra Insurance Services in Los Gatos, CA.

    I recently converted (with the help of my local bike shop) my first two e-bikes (Motobecane Boris X7 with BBSHD from LunaCycle and a Electra Townie 7D with BBS02...both run with Luna 52 volt packs). This week I rode to my office two times. Today I was approached by my entire personal insurance team asking me how I was insuring my new, awesome electric fat bike. I knew I was in trouble...I have been so excited about building and riding this bike that I did not think about how I was going to cover myself when I accidentally injure someone or damage their property while riding my bike around town, bike gets stolen...as we all know these builds can get quite expensive, etc. I was told by my team that this type of bicycle is not covered if ridden off of my property (driveway) by most insurance carriers (including my own carrier Safeco). Our team is seeing more and more people buying and riding e-bikes...many of which are not insured properly or insured at all...leaving many in the e-bike community uninsured.

    I did some research today and got in touch with Markel Insurance Company (a carrier that our commercial team uses from time to time to help our valued clients...I had no idea they had a division that insured e-bikes). Here is a link to their site http://www.markelinsurance.com/bicycle/resources/electric-bikes I am working with a woman named Ashley and giving her all the details of my build. They have restrictions on the size of motor 750 watts, etc. that they will insure. I ran some online proposals but even though the Luna/Bafang motors are stamped 750 watts I did not want to have a claim denied as they will investigate and find out these motors will do way more than 750 watts.

    Bottom line is to check with your insurance agent/broker to see if you can add your e-bike to your policy...if not, check out Markel and some of the other carriers out there...or roll the dice and pay your claim out of pocket.

    Ryan Fenchel
    Los Gatos, CA

    2016 Motobecane Electric Fat Bike with LunaCycle/Bafang BBSHD and 52 Volt Battery (Ghetto Setup)

  • #2
    I just read the story about how Velosurance started over tacos...guess what...they use Markel Insurance Company paper so we are talking about the same insurance carrier. Good to know.
    It all started over tacos

    Velosurance is a national insurance program founded by two avid cyclists, Dave Williams and Denis Voitenko in response to the insurance needs of bicycle riders nationwide.
    One very rainy day at a local taco joint in Fort Lauderdale we started discussing how badly home and renters policies insured bicycles. We knew there had to be a better way so we set about finding out how we could take a traditional piece of insurance and make it better, much better. On that wet day over tacos, Velosurance was founded.
    We partnered with Markel American Insurance Company, an A.M. Best, A rated, US insurance company, and a leader in recreational insurance, to offer a multi-risk bicycle insurance policy providing protection to all types of cyclists, and with none of the silly restrictions that other insurance wants to place on riders.

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    • #3
      For those interested I just received confirmation that Markel (direct 1-800-236-2453 or online...not through Velosurance.com) will insure my 2016 Motobecane Boris X7 (with Bafang BBSHD, 52 Volt Battery, etc.) per the attached proposal. I worked with a Ashley Wilde at x233464...might save time to work with her as you will not be recreating the wheel with another customer service professional.

      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Thank you for those posts RBF. Very informative. Just curious, at that price I could buy a new bike ($450), motor and battery every 4-5 years.
        Did you find this policy feasible for you?

        Does anything in this policy (bicycle damage) cover theft?
        Excuse my ignorance but why does an ebike need liability? Bike vs Pedestrian collisions I assume?

        Comment


        • JPLabs
          JPLabs commented
          Editing a comment
          I pay about $300 a year to put liability, not comprehensive, on a motorcycle worth about $3-4 grand. So insuring an easier to steal, easier to run over ebike with comprehensive at this price does not seem unusually high to me. I'm in Michigan, though, high insurance in general. My motorcycle policy may be a lot cheaper elsewhere.

          For what it's worth.

      • #5
        Any electric motor can be powered with far more than the nameplate value. It is common for the small ebike motors to peak at double their nameplate power or even higher. The programming (or hardware limiting) in the controller determines the real limits in short term power, and in the long term the heat dissipation of the motor and efficiency, as well as ambient temperature and cooling airflow determine how much power can be produced without melt-down. The motor is a small factor in the overall insurance risk. Other factors that determine insurance costs might be weight of machine and rider, top speed, ease of theft, presence and use of safety equipment such as reflectors, lighting, turn signals, horn, brake cutoffs, body protection - helmet, gloves, boots, body armor, towing a trailer, size of the battery pack (size of a battery fire), battery chemistry, electrical build quality, current limiting/fusing, quality of BMS, UL listing of the charger, voltage of the system (shock hazard), smoke alarm, theft alarm, quality of locks chains, how the bike is used (where it is stored/parked), where it is charged, etc.

        Any bicycle can reach 40 or 50 miles per hour downhill, an ebike can reach higher average speeds than a bicycle but peak speeds are not different.

        On the one hand the damage an ebike can do is not much different from a regular bicycle (eg a 70 pound ebike with a 130 pound rider vs a 200 pound rider with an 18 pound pedal bike), so liability insurance should be far less than a 400 pound motorcycle. On the other hand the theft risk is much higher and there is likely a greater fire hazard especially when charging.
        Alan B

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        • #6
          I live in Maryland, In Maryland you can have a e-bike that goes 29mph @1150 watts(1.5hp) so long as it is registered (you have to get a VIN) Titled, and insured with liability insurance...you also have to wear a DOT motorcycle helmet. It will then be considered a Moped. E-Bikes have to be kept at 500 watts and 20mph to be a true "e-bike" that does not require these restrictions.

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          • #7
            I received a Ford Think Bike, Tourist ( heavy duty ) model that costs $275 a year to store. I'm in a wheelchair now, and have two more spinal surgeries to go. I'm in Arizona and would like to sell the bike to a decent owner who would take care of it. Any suggestions? Thanks

            Comment


            • JPLabs
              JPLabs commented
              Editing a comment
              Make a post in the classifieds, not here, and you may have some luck. And maybe an introduction post to explain the situation. I know you are new - the forum is segmented, and this section is only for reference info.

              Good luck with it, Mary, but you should start your own topic in the right section (introductions, or classifieds), instead of randomly posting on someone else's topic. That's how forums are usually run, and will work best for you.

              Hope that helps.

              (Mods, I didn't delete this since there were a few off topic posts, and I wanted to explain clearly why that's not ideal so folks could learn, feel free to remove later..)

          • #8
            For people wanting to go threw with the registration and license plate deal to make it a legal moped, you may want to check into your state laws to see if a bond would satisfy their liability requirements.

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            • #9
              Very good to know thank you!

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              • #10
                Does anyone offer theft insurance only?

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                • #11
                  Call me a cynic, but my experience has shown that insurance companies are really good at collecting money and really good at not it paying out. If I had a dime for every time I have seen an insurance company weasel out of a legitimate claim, I could hire someone to guard my bikes 24/7.

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                  • #12
                    Has anyone tried to license as moped? Crusher 3 meets Florida requirements, but Luna would have to register to sell. That is not a big deal except having to vin bikes and give legal service contact. I'm guessing moped insurance would be reasonable.
                    Or, listing under home insurance under valuables section. If the Mrs gets robbed of her diamonds, it's covered. Any info?

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                    • #13
                      Just got written response from my home owner insurance company. If my bike is "not street legal," then it is covered by my ho policy. Now, since my ludicrous mode Luna is not street legal...

                      Insurance company also said if legal, have to get recreational policy. Invoice very clear that ludicrous is not street legal.

                      Comment


                      • commuter ebikes
                        commuter ebikes commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Like I said, I am very cynical about insurance companies looking for any excuse to reject a claim, even after collecting premiums for a long while. Not being street legal is one of a multitude of reasons that an insurance can weasel out on a claim.

                        I would advise people to put money that they would have paid to an insurance policy towards multiple layers of physical security such as high quality padlocks and security chains, alarms and GPS devices.
                        Last edited by commuter ebikes; 4 days ago.
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