Insurance for scooters and e-bikes: what the law says and what you risk

In order to be in good standing with the legal obligation of insurance, it is imperative to declare the use of this motorized machine to its insurance company. (Illustration ©MAM / News Paris)

We see it everywhere. On roads, cycle paths and pavements. They invaded the cities. In 2021, there were more than 900,000 electric scooters was sold in France, according to the Federation of Micro-Mobility Professionals (FP2M).

The problem is that tens of thousands of users of these devices are outlaws! pattern? They roll without insurance. And that is a crime.

Whose electrically assisted bicycles (VAE) are not covered by the liability insurance obligation (unless they are too “powerful”), this is not the case for electric scooters, reminds, on Actu.frFrance Insurers, the French Insurance Federation, the main professional representative body for insurance companies in France.

If you buy, but also if you rent an electric scooter

Motorized passenger transport vehicles (EDPM) – electric scooters, but also Segways, monowheels, hoverboards, electric skateboards, etc. – are subject to the same obligation in relation toliability insurance than motorized vehicles such as motorcycles or cars. This liability insurance covers the damages you may cause, for example the damage to a pedestrian you hit or the damage you may cause to a vehicle (another EPDM, bicycle, car, etc.).

In order to be in good standing with the legal obligation of insurance, it is therefore imperative to declare the use of this motorized machine to its insurance company. Ditto, before renting an electric scooter or another EDPM, you must check whether the damage you may cause to third parties is covered by the rental company’s insurance agreement. This information must be easily accessible from the home page of the rental company’s website. Otherwise, you must again contact your insurance company before driving. Because on this point too, be careful: Not all electric scooter operators include insurance in their service. And it’s up to the user to worry about it.

Which insurance should you take out?

When you ride an electric scooter, you must take out NVEI insurance (for new individual electric vehicles). These are vehicles equipped with an electric motor and whose maximum speed is strictly between 6 and 25 km/h.). The publication, on 23 October 2019, of a decree (number 2019-1082) in the Official Journal of the European Union, provided the rules: the electric scooter must be insured at least to third parties, because no, your multi-risk home insurance does not cover the use of an electric scooter in most cases.

It is possible to insure a scooter against theft or breakage, but also to insure yourself in the event of a bodily accident in addition to the statutory liability insurance. However, not all insurance companies offer these optional guarantees

The French Insurance Federation

To subscribe to it, you need to approach the insurance companies that offer this product. Feel free to compare prices in this highly competitive industry.

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What do you risk if you ride a scooter without insurance?

It is a criminal offense to drive a motor vehicle without insurance. Article L 324-2 of the Motorway Act contains severe sanctions (revocation of driver’s license, penalty for community service) in the event of lack of insurance.

The condition, including negligence, of putting or keeping a motor vehicle and its trailers or semi-trailers in circulation without being covered by insurance that guarantees its civil liability in accordance with the provisions of article L. 211-1 of the Insurance Act, is punishable by a fine of 3,750 euros. That is the law.

Immobilization of the electric scooter can also be prescribed under the conditions of articles L.325-1 to L.325-3. If you are checked without insurance, you may have to pay a fixed fine of 500 euros. The amount of the reduced fixed fine is 400 euros, and the amount of the increased fixed fine is 1,000 euros. All this is without counting the compensation to the victims in case of accident.

How many electric scooter “drivers” would drive without insurance?

According to a study by France Assureurs and the Professional Federation of Micro-Mobility (FPMM), 38% of the three million regular users of electric scooters ride without coverage. The Compulsory Damage Insurance Guarantee Fund (FGAO), which provides compensation to victims of bodily injury and/or property damage, as well as their relatives after a traffic accident, especially when the driver is uninsured (or he fled), receives more and more requests from victims of road accidents caused by EDPs, these personal transport devices, it is predominantly an electric scooter involved.
The number of accidents caused by uninsured people increases year after year. This is also the case for motorists. The FGAO handles approximately 30,000 non-road insurance cases and estimates that more than 800,000 cars (excluding two-wheelers) circulate without insurance in France, which would represent more than 2% of the private car fleet.

What if you ride an electric bike?

Electric-assisted bicycles (VAE) are not covered by the liability insurance obligation, reminds, France insurance companies. For these models, the cyclist is covered by his home insurance’s liability guarantee. In other words, any personal injury or material damage that the cyclist accidentally causes to a third party with the e-bike is covered by this warranty.

The electric assistance actually only supports the cyclist’s efforts: it never replaces it. In other words, with a VAE, when you don’t pedal, the e-bike doesn’t move forward. With limited power (250 watts), the electric assistance in VAE also switches off automatically when the speed of 25 km/h is reached or when braking.

Insurance is therefore not mandatory for bicycles with electric assistance, whose power does not exceed 250 watts, and whose assistance is not activated beyond 25 km/h. But it is mandatory for the electric bicycle whose power exceeds 250 watts or whose speed exceeds 25 km/h, because it is assimilated to a motorcycle.

What must be shown to the police in the event of a check?

The green sticker will be finished in April, no need to put it on the windshield of cars. However, the control will not disappear, and the police and gendarmes will be able to have direct access to the records of insured persons.

Is there also a file for electric scooters? The answer is no, the File of Insured Vehicles (FVA) relates to registered vehicles, there are no files relating to the insurance of scooters and bicycles. The liability insurance certificate can be requested during a police check, so it is advisable to obtain it before using the scooter and have it with you.

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