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Despite concerns surrounding their legality, more and more people are turning to electric scooters as a new and sustainable mode of transport. Reaching substantial speeds and conveniently compact, e-scooters make the ultimate vehicle for commuters and thrill seekers alike across the world.
However, partly due to their legal status in the UK, some riders may find themselves confused as to whether their electric scooter requires insurance.
Owning an electric scooter is not against the law. However, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter on the public highway, i.e. publicly owned roads and pavements.
There have been reports in the media which suggest e-scooter riders who have been apprehended by the police for breaking the law have also been reprimanded for not having insurance. According to The Telegraph, London’s Metropolitan Police force insists electric scooters do require the same insurance as any other road vehicles – despite it being illegal to ride an e-scooter on the road. Officers have cited the Road Traffic Act as grounds for this action. Under the RTA, individuals can be charged for not having insurance, a licence, a number plate, a helmet or valid MOT for their vehicle.
Technically, an electric scooter does not require vehicle insurance. Due to their classification as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), they cannot be ridden in public at all, meaning insurance is not necessary.
It is, however, perfectly legal for an electric scooter to be ridden on private property, such as at your home or in your garden. When riding your e-scooter in private you do not need insurance.
The confusion surrounding the legality and restrictions surrounding electric scooter use can result in people breaking the law by accident. Essentially, riding an electric scooter is illegal in public – but if, in theory, you were to ride on the roads, you would need cover equivalent to that of car or motorised bike insurance.
If you ride in private (as the law dictates you must), vehicle insurance is not a legal requirement.
With a rise in e-scooter confiscations seemingly due to lack of insurance, its no surprise that riders have begun to investigate the purchase of appropriate cover. However, in the UK, this type of insurance does not appear to exist. Given that it is illegal to ride an e-scooter in public, insurance companies are naturally not interested in providing a suitable product.
It’s unlikely that the position will become clearer soon. Authorities have announced that the laws surrounding electric scooters are being re-considered, which means they could eventually be legalised. If this were to happen, given the lack of a precedent in the UK, it could take insurers a while to come up with a standardised offering.
For an idea of how the issue of e-scooter insurance could evolve, were circumstances to change in the UK, it’s worth looking at parts of the world where e-scooters are legal for public use.
Over in the US, rental scooters are becoming increasingly popular. However, the issue of insurance becomes trickier when it relates to a rented vehicle. E-scooter rental companies, such as Bird and Lime, provide ‘limited liability’ insurance. However, all customers must sign a rental agreement which essentially strips the company of all responsibility in the event of an accident: liability is therefore transferred to the customer.
Although personal insurance is not required by law in America, it is widely recommended. If someone were to damage another person’s property or cause accidental physical harm while using a scooter, they may find themselves liable for covering the resultant costs incurred by the affected party.
Many Americans rely on standard home or healthcare cover. However, some policies explicitly note that they will not cover any damage or injury caused by motorised scooters and bikes. Consequently, it’s common for e-scooter riders to take out ‘umbrella liability’ as an add-on to their standard home policy.
There’s no denying that the premium electric scooter models are not cheap. If you do make an investment into a top-of-the-range e-scooter to ride on private property, you’d be wise to insure it against potential theft or damage.
One of the best, and most cost effective, ways to cover your e-scooter is by adding it to your home contents insurance, rather than taking out specific insurance. Although all policies differ, this should protect your vehicle against both theft and damage.
Looking for more information about e-scooters? Check out other articles in our blog for in-depth knowledge, reviews of the latest models and technical tips.
We also sell a full range of e-scooters to cater for varying experience levels and budgets: from premium brands to entry-level options.