Electric scooter insurance
E-scooters have been classed as motor vehicles in the UK. Find out what that means for you and whether you require insurance to drive one on public roads.
Debate around the legality and safety of electric scooters has intensified since they went on sale in the UK, and the coronavirus pandemic increased their attraction, as people are keen to avoid public transport. Privately owned e-scooters are banned on public roads – but rented ones are allowed. So where does that leave the insurance question? Here’s what you need to know.
What is an electric scooter?
Kick scooters – two-wheeled, stand up, human-powered vehicles – have been a popular way for both children and adults to get around for decades. More recently, an electric-powered version has been growing in popularity as it eliminates the need for the rider to propel the vehicle forward manually.
Many cities around the world introduced electric-scooter hire programmes in a bid to reduce traffic and pollution. People have also been buying e-scooters for their own private use.
Are e-scooters legal in the UK? What are they classed as?
Electric scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), meaning they’re treated as motor vehicles. This makes them subject to all the same legal requirements as a car, including an MOT, tax and licence plates, which presents a challenge for potential users.
As of 4 July 2020, it is legal to drive rental e-scooters in the road in the UK, but not privately owned ones. A rental scheme was introduced by the Department for Transport in several areas around the UK.
Do I need to take out e-scooter insurance?
According to the Department for Transport’s regulations, e-scooters in rental trials are required to be covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy, but it is the responsibility of the rental provider to arrange for this.
For privately owned e-scooters, you can only legally ride those on private land, which means you do not need insurance.
In short, if you drive your e-scooter legally (which we strongly recommend you do), you don’t need insurance.
There are currently no specialist e-scooter insurance policies available in the UK, but several insurers have recently informed us that they are seriously considering adding this type of insurance to the cover they offer.
“New popular modes of e-transport are more expensive and more vulnerable to theft, and so that is something we want to think about within our policies.”
– Mark Eastham, CEO, Avantia
Are electric scooters covered under home insurance?
While you don’t need insurance to ride your e-scooter on private land, you might still want to include it in your home insurance.
Some providers might set restrictions for insuring e-scooters while in use, but you should be able to insure your e-scooter against theft.
Note that insurance companies often set limits on how much any single item can be insured for, so, if your e-scooter is in the higher price range, make sure you check whether it can be included in your cover. The best way to guarantee there are no nasty surprises should you need to claim is to contact your insurance company directly for answers.
Will it be the same as bicycle insurance?
As bikes can be ridden legally on public roads, most insurers have specific provisions for including them in home insurance policies.
Many insurance companies do set some restrictions when it comes to bicycle cover, and some even exclude them altogether.
When electric scooters become more widely used in the UK, there are likely to be similarities between e-scooter insurance and bicycle insurance, though that would depend on government regulations for the use of e-scooters.
One of the main similarities might relate to the value of the e-scooter. With bikes, cover for the more expensive models often comes with limitations, and that will likely be the case with e-scooters as well.
Is a licence required for an e-scooter?
You don’t need a licence to ride a privately owned e-scooter as it can only be legally driven on private land (where a licence is not required).
With regards to the government’s rental e-scooters trials, the guidelines state: “Users will need a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence to take part in the trials and must be 16 or over.”
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