Electric Bikes In NZ: Do You Need Insurance For It?

Date Jan 13, 2021
Blog category Insurance
By Staff Writer

Electric bikes are increasing in popularity among New Zealanders, and it’s not hard to see why. They can take you to places faster, keep you fit, and they're safer to ride, too!

But, do you need insurance for electric bikes? After all, it can still be considered a vehicle. If you’re ever involved in an accident or caused damage to other people or properties, what can you do? How can you stay safe and protected on your e-bike?

Here’s what you need to know about e-bike insurance in New Zealand.

Why get an electric bike?

Using an electric bike is not just good for your overall health, but for the environment too. If you're thinking about getting one, this list of the best benefits of getting an e-bike in New Zealand may just convince you.

They’re elderly-friendly

The elderly don't have the same energy back when they’re at their peak. This makes traditional bikes harder for them to carry and use. With an e-bike, they can worry less about their knees and joints. The extra power by the bike’s battery can help them climb steep roads with ease.

They’re faster

With proper maintenance, e-bikes can take you to your destination faster than regular bikes and even cars! You don’t have to deal with gridlock traffic when riding an e-bike. With the help of the motor and the battery, you can easily top at 25kph or more!

They keep you fit

While not as physically taxing as a regular bike, e-bikes also keep you fit and loving the outdoors, too! Biking is a huge stress reliever, and breathing in fresh air, getting a lot of sun, and exercising using the e-bike can keep you fit and healthy in the long run.

Do providers offer e-bike insurance?

E-bike insurance is almost unheard of — and that’s because almost only a few providers offer it as of now. However, there’s always an alternative that can give you at least a certain degree of protection. Founder and COO of Laka Tobias Taupitz enumerated the following as great alternatives for e-bike insurance:

  • Home contents insurance
  • First-liability insurance
  • Third-party insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Event insurance

Limitations from insurance alternatives

While these are great alternatives, they don’t come without their drawbacks. Whether it’s processing your claim or limited coverage, it’s not as comprehensive compared to specialised bike insurance. For example, house contents insurance can help if your e-bike gets stolen or damaged while at home. However, it won’t be covered anymore once it leaves the house. This isn’t ideal, especially as you intend to use the e-bike on the road. 

First-liability insurance is great because it covers you and your e-bike while on the road. It even includes things like replacement of parts and even the whole bike at its market value. Just make sure you wear your helmet all the time. The caveat is, it doesn’t cover the damages you may cause to other parties.

On the other hand, third-party insurance only pays out the damage you’ve caused. If you’ve suffered severe injuries, you would have to pay for the treatment yourself. This is a great choice if you happen to have health insurance. You can trust your insurer to pay for your hospitalisation and treatment.

Event insurance offers a more specialised cover. This applies only if you’re participating in a race. Make sure you have this before racing. Other insurance types may not consider injuries from competition eligible for claims. 

How can you avoid filing for claims?

As there aren’t many comprehensive e-bike insurance policies, you may need to be extra careful while on the road. As much as possible, avoid situations that can lead you to file for claims. If you’re put in such a situation, expect it to be a lengthy and stressful process! This is considering the limitations your insurance provider has set.

Check out what you can do to avoid filing for claims when using an e-bike.

Use heavy-duty U or D-locks

If your e-bike is stolen while it’s unlocked, your claim has almost no chance of getting approved. Most writings and fine print in insurance policies don’t offer coverage for theft outside the home. Plus, you probably spent a good amount on your e-bike, so why settle for a low-quality lock?

Aside from locks, invest in chains too. Battery-powered grinders can easily penetrate through the locks, but it will have a hard time penetrating through the chains. 

Park your e-bike where there are CCTVs

Before parking, check whether the area has CCTVs. It can be tempting to park your e-bike as soon as you see an available parking spot. However, you should always be extra wary of your surroundings. Best of all, make sure to double or triple-check whether the lock was secured in place. In most cases, e-bikes get stolen because the lock wasn’t secured in place.

It may not always apply, but it’s best to park in a public place or an area with a lot of foot traffic. It’s harder to steal the bike, with so many eyes around.

Always check your GPS

What’s great about is, e-bikes mostly come equipped with GPS. If it gets stolen, you can always locate its whereabouts. Make sure the feature is properly working before hitting the road. While you’re at it, always follow the regular maintenance schedule of your e-bike to ensure all the parts are working correctly.

Sounds like a lot! Should I still get insurance for my e-bike?

Of course, having protection, even if limited, is still better than not having one at all. While you’ll still likely pay for damages or treatment, you can receive support from your insurer. Know that leading insurers in New Zealand now offer bike insurance, including e-bike!

Leading insurance companies such as AA, AMI, and Tower include e-bike in their bike insurance. This is great news for New Zealanders who are putting off their e-bike purchase. Your current insurer may also have specialised e-bike insurance policies. Contact them directly to know more.

Compare your insurance options using CompareBear's comparison tool.