Is Ignorance Bliss? What you don’t know about renting a scooter
Posted by LD&B Insurance and Financial Services on
In the last few years, we’ve noticed an increase in an unexpected population group: brightly colored motorized scooters available on street corners and sidewalks in urban areas. Have you noticed this trend? Riders can quickly rent a scooter via an app on their phone for as little as $1, and pay per mile or per minute as they whiz away to their destination. Pretty nifty, right?
The problem is that insurance policies generally don’t cover the additional risk of a motorized scooter whipping around a busy city street or sidewalk.
Before you or a family member uses a motorized scooter, educate yourself about the facts and understand the risks. Sure, scooters aren’t the most dangerous animal on the road; they are brightly colored, and they are sturdy. But that doesn’t negate the possibility of an accident, especially in the busy, crowded areas where they’ve gained most in popularity. And although you may escape without a scratch yourself, another danger lies in the potential to damage others’ property, or more seriously, to injure them physically.
Here are a few facts to consider:
If you rent a scooter and cause an accident resulting in damage to another person’s property or person, you may end up paying out of pocket for property damage, medical bills, and a potential lawsuit.
Your standard Virginia automobile insurance policy doesn’t extend coverage to rented scooters because a scooter does not meet the definition of a “vehicle.” Even if you have great limits, an umbrella liability policy, and every other bell and whistle you can think of, you still won’t find coverage for scooter liability under your automobile policy.
Your Virginia homeowner policy generally provides liability coverage if a vehicle is a “non-ownedmotorized land conveyance designed for recreational use off public roads.” This language raises a host of coverage questions, given riders use scooters both on and off public roads, and for both recreational and non-recreational uses. And we haven’t even opened the discussion of what engineers intended when they “designed” their scooters! All things considered, your homeowner policy is probably an unlikely place to find coverage for your scooter incident.
If you have no insurance coverage for scooter liability and the case goes to trial, you will be paying for the court costs and the damages out of your own pocket. Are you financially prepared for a large settlement?
Setting aside the risk of damage to other people or property, any damage to the scooter itself is completely your responsibility as the renter. Even a small fender-bender could leave you paying for the damaged scooter, unless property damage is specifically covered in your rental cost.
Don’t be caught without the facts.
Educate yourself and your family about the risks of renting motorized scooters. When renting, ask if liability coverage is available for purchase. If unavailable, don’t take the risk. Until insurance companies modify their policies to cover the risks of renting scooters, we recommend you choose the safer route. Enjoy the walk!