Renting Electric Scooters or Bikes? What about Insurance?


We’ve seen a rapid growth in the last 6 months of Electric Scooters in Nashville. Prior to that, the city has licenses on-site bike rentals where you can easily get around town pedaling. Many enjoy these options and the open-air riding is great when downtown. But what about insurance or what is your responsibility when renting one of these?

Q: How can I secure coverage for physical damage to the rented e-scooter or e-bike, and, more importantly, their personal liability?

Response 1:

Personal liability from a homeowners or renters policy is unlikely to cover the use of an e-bike because of the exclusion for motor vehicles. A motorcycle policy that covers an owned motorcycle or scooter might extend liability to a non-owned e-scooter, but even then, the insurer may argue that shared vehicles might be available for the insured’s regular use.

Some personal liability umbrellas don’t require underlying coverage—generally when a vehicle isn’t included in the definition of “recreational vehicle”—and could drop down to provide third-party liability. Damage to an e-bike may cost less than $1,000, which could be manageable without insurance.

Response 2:

Depending on the speed of the vehicle and the exact wording of the exclusions, most HO policies are unlikely to cover this exposure… In Nashville, we’ve been told that these vendors must be licensed. The licensing authority should require the vendor to insure the exposure.

Here is our take on this new segment of transportation rentals in our area: These products can be fun, but they are dangerous, and most people have no insurance for the liability that arises from using one. Some might have medical insurance for injuries they sustain while using an e-scooter or e-bike, but there is no universal approach to coverage for related exposures. Use them at your own risk.

You should be sure you know what you are getting into if you rent and e-scooter or e-bike. If you wreck the vehicle you rent, you could be responsible for $1000 or more in repair or replacement. Or if you collide with someone or some other vehicle, that liability exposure could be costly.

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