Insurance companies disagree on e-bike coverage

When Ron Allen had two e-bikes stolen from his home, he assumed his owner’s police would cover them. But his request was denied.

DENVER — It’s been almost two months since Jay “Ron” Allen and his wife had their electric bikes stolen from their Denver garage.

“We put them in the garage because we thought, ‘Hey, we’ll come back and use them later or use them tomorrow,'” Allen said.

The next morning there was activity on their security cameras that showed two men breaking into their garage and stealing the bikes.

Allen is angry with the thieves, but he’s further aggravated by his insurance claim.

“We thought, ‘Yeah, we have insurance. We’ve had homeowners insurance for 27 years with the same company, and we didn’t think there would be a problem,” Allen said. “We were wrong about that.”

The USAA denied his claim, saying e-bikes fall under “property that we don’t cover.”

“We assumed it was bicycles,” Allen said. “The company said ‘No, these are motor vehicles, and we don’t cover motor vehicles. “”

The denial stated that its owner’s policy would cover “golf cars” or “motor vehicles designed or modified to operate at speeds not exceeding 15 miles per hour and for use off public roads”.

Allen asked if his car insurance could cover the bikes and was told that didn’t apply either.

9News contacted USAA Media Relations on Wednesday afternoon and they said they would reconsider the denial.

“We still think there’s nothing new in insurance, but there is, and e-bikes are one of them,” said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association.

Walker said some insurance companies might consider e-bike personal property and cover it with home or renter’s insurance, but others might not.

“Even if you’re covered by a home insurance policy, understand how that’s covered,” Walker said. “If it’s excluded, if you have coverage, what are the limits and deductibles, how are you covered for liability?”

Ultimately, Walker’s advice is to call your insurance now rather than find out the hard way, like Allen.

“If I had just reported my bike stolen for $1,600, I would have been reimbursed,” Allen said. “But because I put ‘My e-bike was stolen’, they said ‘No, we don’t cover it.'”

Part of his frustration stems from Colorado law, which states that electric bicycles and scooters “are exempt from motor vehicle registration and licensing requirements.”

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Kristan F. Talley