Unlike their four-wheeled counterparts, electric motorbikes haven’t exactly exploded in popularity.
Though interest has risen as manufacturers improve their range and charging times, the UK market remains relatively small. Too often, this means insurance companies willing to offer premiums for electric riders don’t need to provide competitive rates.
Thankfully, this appears to be changing.
With more and more commuter-oriented, low-powered electric motorcycles coming to the market, we expect them to be a common sight on city streets in the UK soon.
Insurers consider electric motorcycles risky for several reasons.
Many believe their silence makes them more dangerous than combustion bikes. Tyres hitting the road is the loudest sound these bikes produce. Considering these machines hit speeds comparable to petrol bikes, some think this silence is a safety issue.
The lack of data also troubles insurance companies. For other vehicles, they have decades of data they can analyse to make broad risk assessments. Electric bikes are a relative unknown.
Another contributor is that a single component of the machine, i.e. the battery, is essentially that machine’s entire value. This creates an additional risk that may turn off insurance companies – especially when it comes to comprehensive packages.
If you damage the battery in a crash, you generally have to replace the entire machine – which is expensive for insurers.
The final hang-up is that electric motorcycles (and electric vehicles in general) are most commonly ridden in cities. This puts them at a much higher risk of theft and damage from other road users.
For the reasons outlined above, many UK companies will only offer third-party insurance. They consider it too risky to provide full coverage.
In many cases, the electric motorcycle is the deciding factor in you being refused fully-comprehensive or fire and theft packages. Meaning if you were to apply for a quote on a regular combustion machine, you might be offered a full range of packages.
Seems strange at first. But insurance companies are built on risk assessment. The newness and lack of data surrounding these machines mean many large companies don’t even offer coverage. Until this changes, premiums will stay relatively high.
Electric Motorcycle Classifications
Electric scooters in the L1e-B category are for riders over 16 with a CBT cert or a category AM/P on their licence. Like their petrol-powered equivalents, these scooters are restricted to 28mph, helping somewhat with insurance premiums.
But make no mistake. Legally, you need a license and insurance to ride these machines.
Thankfully, this kind of electric two-wheeler has been adopted more readily than the larger, more powerful variety. Because of this, insurance premiums at reasonable rates are available from many companies. The similarities to 50cc mopeds help this category, giving insurers a frame of reference.
The L3e-A1 category is for scooters and motorbikes capable of more than 28mph. These machines don’t have a speed restriction but require you to be over 17, have a CBT cert, or hold a full motorcycle licence.
There’s a huge range of top speeds and max power outputs in this category and an equally huge range of insurance premiums.
Because this category is wide open, your insurer will look at the specific power output of your bike (in addition to the usual factors like age, location, etc.) to determine your rate.
Electric motorbikes in this category are treated like standard combustion motorcycles. Though they don’t have the benefit of comparing easily to an existing type of combustion machine.
For insurance premiums to go down, more classifications based on power output may need to exist.
Read more about Electric Motorcycle Laws
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Companies That Specifically Cover Electric Motorcycles
We did some testing of the waters with a Super Soco TC max as our test bike. As a full license holder for 5 years, the best annual premiums we could find were somewhere around the 300 to 400GBP mark for fully comprehensive coverage.
Third-party, fire, and theft packages start from about 200 per year, with most premiums coming in at about 250-500. Third-party-only coverage is available from under 200.
Some premiums for the same bike were in the thousands, so it pays to shop around.
Getting the Best Quote
Due to the vast discrepancies, our advice is to shop around extensively.
Start with our motorcycle comparison engine; we compare 25+ top insurers and cover all types of electric motorcycles.
For more information on some of the latest electric bikes, check out these links: