If You E-Scoot, Be Astute

Discover the gap between legal liability and insurance availability for e-scooter users.
CORRECT BACKGROUND
Read why e-scooters aren’t really as affordable as vendors say they are.
Heads up, Cleveland. It’s “take 2” for e-scooters in select parts of the city. Two weeks ago, some adventurous/curious/hop-on, hop-off enthusiasts took to area streets on electric scooters. This is now allowed, as Cleveland city leaders approved a six-month trial run for e-scooters. This follows a surprise debut of Bird e-scooters in August 2018, which was quickly scuttled by local officials for safety reasons. While safety should always be the top priority, it seems that personal liability insurance, or lack thereof, is an afterthought.
As the latest form of shared mobility, e-scooters are popular, especially with younger people. Vendors of e-scooters promote them as being accessible, convenient, and affordable. If you are 18 years of age, have smartphone and credit card, you are generally good to go. What could possibly go wrong???
Let’s begin with what you are opening yourself up to once you activate an e-scooter. Realize you are both susceptible to and responsible for any injury or damage that arises out of your use of one. This may run the gamut of losing your balance, falling off, and breaking an arm, to accidentally side-swiping a car, to hitting a pedestrian. These three examples highlight potential damage to your person, the e-scooter, and the person and property of third parties, as a result of your use of an e-scooter. The next question is, can you really afford to use an e-scooter?
Accidental injury you cause to yourself would fall under your health insurance policy. Workers’ Compensation Insurance would address injury to you only, if you are an employee and using the e-scooter in the course of your employment. But what about damage or injury you cause to the person or property of a third party? Will your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, personal auto insurance, or personal umbrella insurance provide any protection? The simplified chart below helps put into perspective the huge gap between your legal liability incurred in the use and operation of an e-scooter vs. any available insurance protection.

 

Accidental Damage/Injury You Cause to:

Are You Legally Liable?

Is Coverage Available in Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance Policy?

Is Coverage Available in Personal Auto Policy?

Is Coverage Available in Personal Umbrella Liability Policy?

The e-scooter itself

Yes

No

No

Possibly; consult each policy and insurance company
Someone else’s car or any other property belonging to a third party

Yes

No

No

Possibly; consult each policy and insurance company
A pedestrian or any third party

Yes

No

No

Possibly; consult each policy and insurance company
 What’s the bottom line? If you e-scoot, be astute. Even the most careful, attentive operator of an e-scooter may be involved in an accident which results in legal liability with no available insurance protection.
 Contact Richey-Barrett Insurance, your Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent, for knowledgeable advice. We are happy to answer questions you may have about homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, auto insurance, and Umbrella liability insurance.

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