In recent years, a silent revolution has been taking place on the streets of the United Kingdom, powered by a two-wheeled wonder – the electric bike. As eco-consciousness intertwines with a desire for practicality and convenience, more and more people are turning to electric bikes as a viable mode of transportation. With their sleek designs, effortless pedalling assistance, and zero-emission benefits, electric bikes have surged in popularity, becoming a symbol of the future of urban mobility.

However, as the popularity of electric bikes continues to soar, so do incidents of bike theft across the UK. While all bicycles are susceptible to theft, electric bikes have become a prime target due to their higher value and desirability. The ease of reselling e-bikes and their technological appeal has made them a lucrative prospect for criminals.

In light of this concerning trend, many riders are now questioning whether they need specialised electric bike insurance to safeguard their valuable investment. In this Blog, we’ll look at the rising number of e-bike thefts and explore the options available for comprehensive insurance coverage, offering peace of mind to electric bike owners.

Electric Bikes and the Highway Code

You can ride an electric bike if you’re aged 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements. Electric bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.

What counts as an Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle?

An EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it.

It must show either:

  • the power output
  • the manufacturer of the motor

It must also show either:

  • the battery’s voltage
  • the maximum speed of the bike

Its electric motor:

  • must have a maximum power output of 250 watts
  • should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph

An EAPC can have more than 2 wheels, for example, a tricycle.

Where can you ride?

If a bike meets the EAPC requirements, it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed. Any electric bike that does not meet the EAPC rules is classed as a motorcycle or moped and needs to be registered and taxed. You will need a driving licence to ride one and you must wear a crash helmet.

The growing popularity of electric bikes

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are not an entirely new concept, but their recent advancements in technology and design have made them more accessible and desirable than ever before. The surge in interest can be attributed to various factors, including:

Health and fitness: Electric bikes offer a unique hybrid experience, allowing riders to choose between manual pedalling or engaging the electric motor for assistance. This versatility appeals to a broader demographic, encouraging people of all fitness levels to integrate physical activity into their daily routines.

Time and cost savings: In congested urban areas, electric bikes have proven to be a time-efficient mode of travel, bypassing traffic jams and offering shorter commutes. Additionally, the lower cost of ownership and maintenance compared to cars make electric bikes an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals.

Sustainable commuting: With increasing awareness of environmental concerns, many individuals are seeking greener alternatives to traditional fuel-powered vehicles. Electric bikes offer an eco-friendly solution, enabling riders to reduce their carbon footprint while still enjoying a swift and comfortable commute.

Do you need to insure your electric bike?

There is no legal requirement to have insurance PROVIDED that your bike qualifies as an electric bike under current UK law and regulations.

However, electric bikes aren’t cheap. Entry level models can be bought for around £400, while some of the more high-end models can cost upwards of £10,000. Since some of the best bikes for commuting are electric bikes, you might choose to ride one to your place of work. An electric bike insurance policy could pay out if the bike is stolen, despite it being correctly secured.

If you ride an electric bike for fitness, electric bike insurance could be invaluable if you damage your bike or injure yourself in a crash. Having to cover the repair bill yourself or even having to replace the bike altogether could prove costly.

Just because electric bike insurance isn’t mandatory, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. Regardless of whether your bike is worth £400 or £10,000, if it is stolen, or damaged in a road accident, you’re going to find yourself out of pocket. Having electric bike insurance can help cover the cost of replacing or repairing the bike. It is also worth bearing in mind that some electric bike insurance policies include cycling liability cover. Such cover could help with the cost of legal fees or compensation claims if you damage someone’s property or injure a pedestrian.

Does your home insurance cover your electric bike?

This very much depends on your home insurance provider. Some home contents policies will insure your bicycle as standard, while others will allow you to add bicycle cover to your policy for an additional fee. However, it’s important to remember that these add-ons often have a relatively low single item limit, usually around £1500. This is the maximum amount you would be able to claim.

This might not be an issue for someone who owns a low value bike, but since electric bikes are often high-value items, there’s a risk that you wouldn’t be fully covered. For example, if your home insurance policy has a single-item limit of £1500, but your electric bike is worth £3000, you’d find yourself with a £1500 shortfall if your electric bike was stolen and you would be expected to fund the difference yourself.

In comparison, a standalone electric bike insurance policy should cover your electric bike for its full market value.

Whether your electric bike is covered away from the home by your home insurance policy is another clause you may want to further investigate. Some home insurance providers stipulate that bikes will only be insured whilst they are in your residence or securely locked away in your garden. If your home insurance policy specifies this, you won’t be covered if your bike is stolen from a car park, bicycle stand or public place.

What does electric bike insurance cover?

The features on electric bike insurance policies vary between providers, but most policies will insure you against the following:

  • Theft and malicious damage. This cover compensates you if your electric bike is stolen or vandalised.
  • Accidental damage. This cover can help with the cost of repairing or replacing your electric bike if you are involved in an accident.

There are some policy features that some providers might include as standard, while others might allow you to add them to your policy as an optional extra. These include the following:

  • Third-party liability cover. This is designed to help cover legal fees and compensation claims if your electric bike injures someone or damages their property and you are held responsible.
  • Personal injury cover. This can help cover your medical costs if you’re involved in an accident, and may even help to cover loss of earnings if you’re hospitalised.
  • Accessories cover. This pays for replacement helmets, clothing and electric bike extras such as a GPS.
  • Hire bike cover. This covers the cost of a temporary replacement if your electric bike is being repaired.
  • Riding abroad cover. This covers you if you use your electric bike outside the UK.

Just like car insurance, there is not a ‘one policy fits all’. You may not need all the different add-ons and extras, but it’s worth giving each one some consideration to ensure your electric bike policy meets your individual requirements.

Tony Buckingham, Managing Director of Buckingham Insurance says, “It’s difficult to say how much you’ll have to pay for electric bike insurance because the insurance premium calculation will be based on a wide range of different risk variables. This includes your postcode, the crime rate in your local area, the type of electric bike you own, your electric bike’s current market value and whether or not you use your electric bike to compete in competitive cycling races. Given their high value, it is worth considering standalone insurance if your home insurance doesn’t give you adequate cover.”

If you would like to discuss your insurance needs, please contact us or telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625 (Clowne) or 01773 748 627 (Ripley). They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.”

Who is Buckingham Insurance?

Buckingham Insurance is an independent general insurance broker. From our offices in both Clowne and Ripley, we have been serving households and businesses across Derbyshire and South Yorkshire for over 40 years. Our brokers provide our customers with professional, impartial help and advice about their personal and business insurance, and our extensive relationships in the insurance markets mean that we can provide tailored cover from the UK’s leading insurance companies and specialist providers.

We aim to offer a truly modern broker experience. We pride ourselves on putting our clients first, and the quality of the service we offer is demonstrated by our growing client base and the high number of clients that choose to stay with us, year after year.