By now, you’ve probably seen or heard scooters zooming around streets and sidewalks downtown. The most visible e-scooter startup, Bird, is now valued at close to a billion dollars and is expanding into major metro areas across the entire United States. Scooter rental companies are especially popular on college campuses.
Despite their popularity, e-scooters are not without controversy among motorists, pedestrians, insurance agencies, and attorneys. There are very few statewide regulations in place for e-scooters. Instead, at the local level, cities are grappling with how to handle scooter rental providers. Some have even banned the service and ordered scooter rideshare operators to cease and desist!
Electric Scooter Rentals in Texas
If you cause an accident, if you are injured or if someone injures you while using an e-scooter, be prepared to pay out of pocket for damage. An extreme, but recent example? In September 2018 in Dallas, a 24 year old LimeBike rider died from his injuries. There are still unknown details, but if his death was truly caused from a scooter accident, it would be the first case for rideshare startups.
Recent Developments of Scooter Rideshare in Texas
Lubbock: In the Lubbock region, Bird initiated their business without a license.
Austin: E-scooter companies began operations in Austin and had to be banned for some time.
Dallas: Bird and LimeBikes are now regulated to public streets, with license and age requirements.
Houston: May be a proving ground for various competing operations.
Are Riders Covered for Scooter Rentals?
NO INSURANCE COVERAGE is likely for most individuals.
- If you have a homeowner’s policy realize it doesn’t cover motor driven vehicles. The reason you purchased home insurance was to protect against claims on your house and belongings.
- If you have an auto insurance policy, realize it only covers “owned vehicles”.
- If you happen to have an Umbrella Liability policy, some do cover “non-owned scooters.” However, you should ask an insurance agent and review your policy for confirmation.
For a rideshare rental such as Bird or LimeBikes, terms of service state that “you are solely responsible for damages to the scooter and injuries and damages to third parties and their property.”
This is far different from other rideshare companies involving cars such as Uber and Lyft. As a passenger of Uber and Lyft, you could be covered for bodily injury under a $1 million liability policy.
WALK, run, drive, use a bus, call a Cab, bike, arrange an Uber. DON’T rent a scooter without realizing the risks. Or buy your own scooter/moped for transportation.
Insurance Coverage for Scooters, Mopeds, Hoverboards, etc.
- Electric scooters are a unique class of vehicles in Texas that do not require a special license. This would include the Hoverboard, Onewheel, Airwheel and other personal mobility devices. If you are driving a scooter on the road, liability insurance is strongly recommended, although not required state-wide. It’s affordable and starts at $75 a year with Progressive.
- An electric bike can travel at speeds of no more than 20 mph, does not require a drivers license and insurance is optional.
- A moped is a motor-powered vehicle that cannot travel faster than 30 MPH in 1 mile. Mopeds require a special motorcycle driver’s license and insurance is required.
At Hettler Insurance, we work with you to find the best policy at the best price for all types of insurance. Contact us today and give us the opportunity to find the best coverage for your motorized scooter or e-scooter, no matter what your demands may be.