Everyone knows, anecdotally, that there have been (and continue to be) a lot of e-scooter accidents in Singapore. But how many?
The official statistic puts this number at 110 accidents from Jan to Sep 2017, which averages to about 3 accidents a week. Though the LTA Active Mobility Act has kicked in with new rules since then, it’s likely that accidents still occur frequently enough to cause worry.
Though insurance is not compulsory for e-scooter riders (yet!), there are compelling reasons to opt for it anyway, which I’ll go into.
E-scooter insurance is not expensive. There are several insurance options available for less than $100 a year, and I’ll also discuss the options later in the article.
What kinds of e-scooter accidents can happen?
First, let’s take a moment to sympathise with pedestrians who just happen to be living or working in an area with a lot of crazy e-scooter riders. The situation for them is pretty much beyond their control.
An article by CNA claims that getting hit by an e-scooter in motion (at a tame 15 km/h) is equivalent in impact to 9 times a regular punch. Ouch. A very nimble pedestrian who manages to siam just in time might get away with just a few scratches… but many high-profile victims of e-scooter accidents haven’t been that lucky.
But things aren’t that rosy if you’re an e-scooter rider either. Not only are pedestrians constantly giving you the evil eye, e-scooter riders are vulnerable to injury too. For example, a responsible rider who brakes hard to avoid a collision may end up falling off the scooter and injuring himself.
At the heart of it, although getting e-scooter insurance is not compulsory, it’s the responsible thing to do. If you accidentally injure someone and they want to claim compensation from you, your insurer can settle that claim.
If you are not covered by any form of liability insurance, then whatever amount you compensate is totally dependent on your own good will and financial limits — unless the accident victim has the means to hire an extremely good lawyer to take you to court. Not ideal.
What are the insurance options in Singapore?
Whether pedestrian or rider, when it comes to your own injuries, the conventional insurance options apply:
- If you’re hospitalised, MediShield Life covers some of your hospital bills, with limits
- Private health insurance e.g. Integrated Shield Plans extend your MediShield Life coverage by covering more your medical bills
- Separately from your medical costs, personal accident insurance compensates you for death, disability or injury
But what if you hit someone else or damage their property, and they want compensation? That’s what’s missing from most conventional insurance options, and it’s where specific e-scooter/PMD insurance comes in.
These plans offer personal liability or third party damages coverage, so that in cases where compensation is involved, the insurer will pay (similar to how car insurance works). For example:
- You cause injury or death to someone else
- You damage or destroy someone else’s property
- You hire a lawyer to defend your case and rack up a substantial bill
- In addition, the other person wants you to compensate them for their legal fees
In Singapore, there are currently 4 insurance plans specifically for e-scooter riders:
- AA Personal Mobility Plus
- AXA Personal Mobility Protect
- Etiqa eProtect Personal Mobility
- NTUC Income Personal Mobility Guard
Comparison of e-scooter insurance plans in Singapore
Let’s assume you’re a recreational e-scooter rider and you’re looking some form of insurance coverage for both (a) your own injuries and (b) any third party damage you might cause (touch wood, but everyone knows accidents do happen).
Here’s a quick and dirty comparison of the 4 basic e-scooter insurance plans, with no add-ons.
|Death / TPD||$100,000||$200,000||$150,000||$200,000|
|Medical expenses||$2,000 ($100 excess)||$2,000 ($200 excess)||$3,000 ($200 excess)||$2,500 ($100 excess)|
|Personal liability||$200,000 ($100 excess)||$500,000 ($500 excess)||$300,000||$1,000,000|
Annual premium: How much you pay for a year’s worth of insurance coverage. Currently the insurers charge a flat fee regardless of your age, track record, or the device you ride.
Death / TPD (total permanent disability): This is the maximum amount that you can get in the event of your death or total permanent disability. You will get a percentage of this amount if you have a partial disability.
Medical expenses: Similar to travel insurance, this is a claim limit on medical expenses arising from the accident. Note that all insurers now implement an “excess”, which is the amount you need to pay before you can claim the rest.
Personal liability: In the event that someone claims compensation from you, this is the maximum that the insurer is willing to pay out. Some insurers have an excess for this and some don’t.
As you can see, the AA (Automobile Association)’s e-scooter insurance is the cheapest, but there’s a $100 excess for both medical expenses and personal liability. The latter is on the low side, however.
On the other end of the spectrum, NTUC’s e-scooter insurance is the most expensive, but it has the highest coverage limits of all.
What does e-scooter insurance not cover?
Basic common sense will tell you that you need to be a responsible, sober and law-abiding e-scooter rider at all times in order to enjoy e-scooter insurance coverage.
If word ever gets out about your drunken joyriding habits or shameful past of hit & run incidents, then the insurer can decide to not pay.
You should also note that the following scenarios are typically not covered. Read closely, because these might be dealbreakers!
- Cycling or riding PMD for work (e.g. GrabFood riders)
- 2nd rider is not covered (e.g. if you ferry your kid around on a bike or e-scooter)
- Using your bike or PMD outside of Singapore
- Pregnancy and any complications arising from it
- Damage or loss (e.g. theft) to your own PMD or bicycle
What if you’re riding an e-scooter for work?
If you’re a food or parcel delivery rider, none of the abovementioned plans will cover accidents that happen in your line of work.
However, you might already be covered in some form. In this June 2019 Straits Times report, Deliveroo and Grab said they have third party liability insurance for their riders.
But if you would like to boost your coverage on top of that, you may look into AA Personal Mobility Plus. There is a Personal and Commercial variation, which costs a little more ($85 a year) and extends the coverage of the plan to accidents arising from work.
Alternatively, it might make sense to forgo the PMD-specific insurance, and opt for a more forgiving personal accident insurance plan instead.
Personal accident (PA) insurance is very similar to e-scooter insurance, except it accounts for your occupation. However, premiums are calculated based on your occupation (along with the rest of your profile) so you may be quoted a higher premium.
If you decide to go for personal accident insurance rather than one of the PMD-specific insurance plans, be sure to choose one with coverage for personal liability. Most don’t include this, but I found 2 that do: Aviva and FWD.
Both offer personal liability cover of $100,000 for their cheapest policies. It’s very low compared to what the insurers offer for e-scooter specific insurance, but it’s better than nothing.
Before you sign up for a personal accident insurance plan, however, be sure to scrutinise the policy wording to make sure there is no way your riding an e-scooter or PMD can be construed as one of their exclusions. It can’t hurt to live chat or call the insurer up to ask as well.
Do you think insurance is necessary for e-scooter riders? Tell us why or why not in the comments!
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