Who Pays When Electric Scooters Crash?

July 3, 2019

A popular new mobility option, the electric scooter, is raising questions about insurance coverage. A recent Associated Press article said riders are exposing themselves to liability and are most likely not insured for the damages they may cause. A rider’s personal health insurance — if they have it — could help defray the cost of their own medical bills in case of an accident.

But it’s another matter entirely when a scooter rider hits and injures a pedestrian, damages someone’s property, or causes a car accident. The rider may be held responsible, and most insurance policies currently will not cover those expenses.

“Under the standard insurance policy, there’s most likely a pretty significant gap in coverage,” said Lucian McMahon, senior research specialist for the Insurance Information Institute. “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.”

READ: Spotlight on: e-scooters and insurance

Experts say automobile insurance generally doesn’t cover vehicles with less than four wheels. And homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may cover an accident that occurs on a traditional bicycle, but it may not cover motorized bike or scooter trips. Scooter riders are advised to contact an insurance agent to ask how they can get coverage.