India is the world’s largest two-wheeler market, and in the financial year 2018-19, as many as 2.1 crore motorcycles and scooters were sold until March 2019. There has been a slow but steady introduction of electric two-wheelers and electric bikes into the market with a 100% increase in their sales over the last year. The Indian government also plans to promote the selling of only electric two-wheelers under 150cc from April 2025 onwards, in order to curb pollution and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Given the government’s thrust on Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles under the FAME India scheme, it would be useful to have a look at motor laws and insurance applicable to e-bikes in India.
Motor laws applicable to e-bikes in India
The e-bike scene in the Indian market typically comprises of two variants – one like the 2T scooter with smaller wheels, shock absorbers in the front and rear, waterproof storage for batteries but with good riding quality. The other is a bicycle with bigger wheels and has a motor fitted to the wheel. It does not have shock absorbers that can give you a rough ride. Here are a few rules and regulations that e-bikes in India need to comply with:
- In general, every electric vehicle including e-bikes in India is required to get approval from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) by undergoing a certification process.
- The e-bikes having the power of more than 250 W and having a maximum design speed of more than 25 kmph also require to go through a full testing process following Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR). Thus, these e-bikes would require a vehicle registration, mandatory driving license and motor insurance too.
- E-bikes that are below the prescribed limits of 250 W power and maximum speed below 25 kmph are exempt from the process of vehicle registration and obtaining a driving license. For instance, the Yulu e-bike used by Uber India does not require a driving license.
- To promote electric mobility among first time e-bikers, the CMV rules have been recently amended in December 2018, by categorising e-bike as a ‘light two-wheeler powered vehicle’ and making it mandatory for teenagers aged between 16 and 18 years to obtain a driving license to be able to ride e-bikes of only 50 cc capacity and a speed of 70 kmph. This move shall also help control speeding, rash driving, and road rage.
What does Motor Insurance for Electric Bikes cover?
The degree of risks associated with electric bikes may perhaps be comparatively low, given their cap on the speed limits. However, it is difficult to predict mishaps during the journey, and it is important to get two wheeler insurance for your e-bike to avoid falling prey to any mishaps. Insurance for e-bikes is inexpensive and can cover you against almost any kind of vehicular and bodily damage caused due to an unexpected mishap, and more so without burning your pocket. There are two variants of this insurance that you can choose from:
- Third-party liability only insurance: This cover does not insure either you or your vehicle against any damages caused during an accident. Instead, it covers the third party, i.e., the person or vehicle or surroundings damaged due to collision with your vehicle. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, it is compulsory to have a third party liability cover for your two wheeler like the Bajaj Allianz third party liability only policy. This policy offered on Finserv MARKETS is priced very competitively. This third party liability cover also provides a personal accident cover to the driver or owner against accidental death or permanent total disability caused during the accident. The claim amount shall depend on the extent of damage caused to the third party.
- Comprehensive Package insurance: A comprehensive insurance like the Bajaj Allianz bike insurance policy covers you financially against the damages caused to your vehicle during accidents, natural calamities, transit via rail, road, water or airway, elevator and man-made disasters like theft, riot, terror activity, etc. Additionally, it also provides a third party liability cover for vehicular or bodily damages caused during an accident. Unlike the premium payable for a third party liability cover, the premium payable for a comprehensive insurance plan can be calculated using the bike insurance premium calculator available on Finserv MARKETS.
This unique bike insurance policy also comes with a personal accident cover of up to Rs.1 Lakh, for damages caused to the driver or owner while driving, travelling on it and mounting or dismounting from it. The Bajaj Allianz bike insurance policy also allows adding an extra personal accident cover for the pillion rider to protect against any unforeseen injuries during travel. Besides these advantages, this insurance plan provides exclusive benefits like a hassle-free claims process and issuance of a new policy against an expired on, without vehicle inspection.
What would the bike insurance not cover?
Your bike insurance plan shall not cover your e-bike against damages caused due to normal wear and tear, any mechanical or electrical breakdown, and improper use of the bike, driving without a valid driving license, war or mutiny, during the theft of bike accessories but not the vehicle.
E-bikes are expected to come in handy for teenagers for commuting purposes and this highlights the urgency to insure e-bikes given that they have high acceleration and deceleration compared to the regular, fossil-fuel driven motorbikes. Although these young riders need to be given exposure to road signage’s and traffic signals, it would be safe to conclude that an e-bike requires both a driving license and bike insurance to facilitate a smooth ride with peace of mind.