So long as your eBike conforms to the UK rules for “Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles” (the Department for Transport terminology for road-legal eBikes) then it is legally in the same classification as a bicycle and does not need any kind insurance.
You don’t need a licence, or to pay any tax, or to take out any kind of insurance, because an eBike is not considered a motor vehicle. However, if you buy, build or modify an ebike with a motor power output more powerful than 250w, or so that it can assist you at speeds of over 15.5mph, then it legally counts as a motorcycle, and needs to be taxed and insured for third party liability, so you are able to pay for any injury or damage costs if you cause an accident. Realistically, you’re going to struggle to find an insurance policy for a modified or custom built eBike, as this is currently a niche market.
But let’s assume you’re only planning to ride a road-legal eBike. You don’t technically need insurance, but it might not be a bad idea. Firstly, eBikes are worth a lot of money and just as easy to steal as any other bicycle, so they’re tempting targets for thieves who can easily resell them since they’re not registered in the same way as motor vehicles. With that in mind, it certainly makes sense to insure your eBike against theft.
Most bicycle theft policies will require you to maintain a minimum level of security, usually a Sold Secure Gold certified lock (we recommend the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit shackle), with conditions about where the bike is stored. Make sure you read and understand these conditions, because if you don’t follow them your insurer could refuse to pay out if your bike gets stolen.
When taking out theft insurance for your eBike, make sure the battery is also covered by the policy – batteries are expensive and even easier to steal than the bike itself. Of course, it’s always a good idea to remove the battery if you ever leave the bike unattended.
There are more reasons to take out insurance than simple theft cover. Obviously cycling comes with risks, particularly if you are commuting through busy traffic, and many bicycle insurance policies will cover you for accidental damage to your bike, and injury to yourself.
While third party liability insurance is not a legal requirement for eBike riders, it’s often included as part of optional bicycle insurance policies, and this is no bad thing. We all imagine it will never happen to us, but one mistake or momentary lapse of concentration could cause an accident which damages somebody else’s property or causes an injury. Knowing that you have insurance to cover the cost of any potential damages you are responsible for can provide peace of mind.
So, while it is perfectly legal to ride an eBike without any kind of insurance policy, there are lots of good reasons why you might choose to be insured. The costs are typically fairly low, around £10 per month, depending on the value of your eBike and risk factors such as where you live.
If you’re interested in insuring your eBike, there are several specialist companies which focus entirely on this market, and it’s always a good idea to get a few different quote to compare. It’s not just about price, take a look at the policies on offer to see what kind of coverage they provide and what exclusions or conditions they feature, as these could prove to be a lot more important than saving a couple of pounds a month.