31 Jul 2018

Insurance may not cover E-bikes, drones

12:44 pm on 31 July 2018

Owners of electric bikes, drones, or other tech devices may find themselves without insurance.

E-Bikes in a store.

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The pace of technological change and product development is leaving the insurance industry behind.

NZbrokers partner services manager Simon Moss said many insurance policies were drawn up long before the emergence of electric-bikes and drones and would be ill-suited to cover them.

"From the insurers' perspective, drones and e-bikes are an unknown risk and until they have an accurate picture of that risk they will tend to act conservatively," he said.

This would mean that the insurer would cover a $5000 push bike, but might decide that a high-powered e-bike is more like a motorbike, and not covered by home and contents policies.

"Similarly, a drone may be treated by insurers as a type of aircraft if it is capable of lifting more than its own weight ... your drone may be covered for loss if you drop it while getting it out of the car, but if it falls from the sky while in use, you are on your own."

He said users should realise that in some circumstances they might face third-party damage claims if their e-bike or drone was involved in an accident causing damage to other property.

Mr Moss said there were no e-bike specific policies on the market at the moment, but some insurers were starting to offer specialist policies for drones, which had commercial uses.

He said consumers concerned about the level or type of cover they had should get specialist advice from a broker or talk direct to their insurance company.