Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Bike in Ontario?
Before we get into things we should probably clarify what an electric bike or e-bike is! An electric bike is a bicycle that is equipped with an electronic motor that can be powered to assist the rider and make pedaling less challenging. An E-bike, because of this motor, is different than a standard pedal bicycle and it is also not considered a scooter or motorcycle. An electronic bike currently has its own classifications and set of rules in Ontario. They also tend to be more expensive than a standard bicycle because of the motor.
Can Anyone Ride an Electric Bike?
The short answer is no. Ontario has implemented certain rules and guidelines for e-bikes. In Ontario there is a minimum age requirement of 16 years to be able to ride an E-bike. You are also required to wear a helmet while riding an electronic bike. You do not need a specific license to be able to ride an electronic bike.
Do I Need Insurance for My Electronic Bike?
Unlike a private passenger vehicle in Ontario, insurance is not required for an E-bike. However, it does not mean you do not require at least some form of insurance protection.
If you have home or property insurance you likely have built in contents coverage that would cover you for fire, theft or other losses to your electronic bike. This coverage is subject to your policy limits which often times is not enough to cover the entire value of an E-bike. Most E-bikes are quite expensive compared to traditional bicycles. On the low end you can purchase them for just over $1,000 but the average E-bike falls in the $3,000 – $4,000 range and some are up around $8,000 – $10,000. Clearly not a small expense. Even though you may have some coverage built into your home insurance policy you should check with your broker to see if you have adequate limits. If the standard limits are not sufficient it may be beneficial to look at increasing those limits.
Your home insurance policy covers you from perils like fire and theft but what happens if your E-bike is damaged in an accident? Great question! Because an electronic bike is not considered a motorized vehicle that needs to be registered in Ontario you do not need an automobile policy. An auto policy would typically have collision coverage along with accident benefits included in it, which is where this protection would be. However, for an electronic bike the damage would actually still be claimed under your home or property insurance, under the property damage section, even if it was while you were riding the E-bike. One important thing to note is that if you file a claim it will be considered a home insurance claim, this may change your rating.
If there are injuries involved in the accident your property insurance coverage will still come into play and you will have protection under the liability insurance. We always recommend carrying a minimum of $2,000,000 in liability insurance on a property policy, it can be very useful in situations such as this.
What if I Don’t Have Property Insurance?
If you do not have property insurance getting coverage for your E-bike is tricky in Ontario. Currently there is only one company who offers stand alone electronic bike coverage. They are called Pedal Power. You can get a quote from them here. The benefit to having stand alone E-bike insurance is that if you have a claim you will be able to file it through your E-bike policy rather than your home insurance. If you have any questions about electric bike insurance, contact your broker!