Micromobility & Insurance

by | Jul 27, 2021

In the recent MOBIX blog post about the differing international legal positions on micromobility, available to read here, it became apparent that the insurance picture surrounding the sector is quite complex. In this post we will be looking at how micromobility insurance is currently handled, and how it may be handled in the future.  

A Current Look at the General Micromobility Insurance Picture

There are currently three main standards that govern whether the user needs to obtain micromobility insurance.

  • Provider-based insurance – in which micromobility providers are required to obtain insurance on behalf of their users. An example of a country which uses this standard is the UK.
  • User-based insurance – in which users of micromobility scooters are required to ensure they have insurance before renting an e-scooter or riding their own. Some American states have this requirement, as well as Spain and Germany.
  • No insurance required – in which users are not required to obtain insurance when using micromobility solutions. Countries which currently possess no or little legislation on micromobility solutions likely fall into this category.

Unless living in a country/state in which it is a legal requirement, when riding a e-scooter or e-bike most of us will be totally uninsured. The micromobility solution provider (such as Lime) will have general business insurance, but if you injure yourself or someone else, then there is potentially a problem… especially in litigation-happy countries (in which you would be liable for pedestrian injury) or countries that lack socialised healthcare.

In these cases, micromobility riders might think that they are insured but they may actually not be. This is because car insurance typically omits scooters, home insurance policies exclude micromobility rentals and personal liability insurance will not cover them either. As a rule, most ‘regular’ insurance companies will not cover e-scooters. However, there are a few smaller, niche insurers that are beginning to examine the micromobility sphere- such as VOOM.

As mentioned above, unless living in an area where there is a legal requirement for user-based insurance when renting e-scooters or e-bikes then this isn’t necessarily too much of a concern to the average user. However, as governments begin to regulate micromobility further, there is a likelihood that obtaining the correct form of insurance will eventually become a requirement to using micromobility services. Whether the onus for this is to placed on the provider or the user is yet to be seen!

A Potential MOBIX Use Case

Hopefully this post has highlighted how obtaining insurance could be inefficient or difficult as an independent micromobility consumer… but that MOBIX could potentially remove this inefficiency.

Instead of having to obtain insurance separate to booking micromobility transport, the autonomous economic agents (AEAs) behind the MOBIX wallet could obtain insurance and transport for the user at the exact same time, all while taking into account user preferences.  

This is just one further piece of functionality that could potentially be included within the MOBIX wallet in the future, contingent on if micromobility insurers become more widespread or whether countries will require providers to obtain insurance on behalf of their users.

… but in the interim, stay safe out there!

If you want to understand a little more about how MOBIX uses Fetch.ai and AEAs, check out our last blog post here.