If you live in an urban area in the United States, chances are you have seen motorized scooters zipping around your city. This new transportation trend has taken off over the past year, but allowing them into cities has proven more divisive than expected. So much so that many cities have actually banned them altogether.
One of the biggest issues surrounding these scooters is safety. So today, we’re going to tackle one of the more common questions we get regarding using these scooters: does my insurance cover a scooter injury? In short—probably not.
Lucian McMahon, senior research specialist for the Insurance Information Institute spoke with the Insurance Journal about this issue. “Under the standard insurance policy, there’s most likely a pretty significant gap in coverage,” said McMahon. “Even if the odds are low, it doesn’t mean that something bad might not happen, and owing people money or compensation for injuries that you caused them can get very, very expensive, perhaps even ruinously so.”
What many scooter-users forget is that most of these scooter companies require their riders to sign a waiver before they can begin using their vehicles. Major companies like Bird and Lime include a clause in that waiver that relieves the company of any liability should a rider get hurt.
These scooter companies understand the concern, which is why their marketing departments make it clear that riders do have some sort of coverage through each respective company. Bird, for example, says riders are fully ensured for any accidents that are caused by a faulty scooter. Lime, boasts a million dollar in liability coverage per claim. The issue with all of these policies it that riders have no way of knowing if their claim is covered until they file it.
The rise of renting motorized scooters has been meteoric, which means there really aren’t any laws in place to regulate the industry yet. Bryant Greening, attorney and co-founder of LegalRideshare, which represents clients injured in ride-hailing or shared scooter accidents, spoke with the Insurance Journal about this problem. “These are such new modes of transportation that the courts have not weighed in on any of this,” said Greening, “Generally speaking, these waivers of liability hold up in court, but we’re going to have to see what happens as more and more of these injury cases are brought and are litigated.”
If you are determined to use these scooters, the best way to protect yourself is actually to utilize your homeowners insurance policies. Most homeowners policies offer the option for umbrella coverage, which usually includes a recreational vehicles category. While coverage of that type does not specifically mention electric scooters by name, experts agree that it should cover scooter use.
Of course, the best thing you can do is reach out to your insurance agent and talk to them directly about getting the proper coverage. If you are looking for info about your current policy, or are interested in purchasing a new one, we encourage you to reach out to TGS Insurance at www.tgsinsurance.com.
The convenience of these scooter services is undeniable. The question is does that convenience outweigh the potential risk, both physical and financial? For now, you may be better of taking a walk.