Electromobility: when insurance becomes a risk

At first glance, switching to electric mobility is simple from an insurance point of view. Because, in principle, the same applies to electric cars: motor vehicle civil liability insurance is mandatory, partial and all-risk insurance are voluntary modules. And: If you switch from a combustion engine to an electric car, you can theoretically keep your old liability or comprehensive insurance.

But beware: in some cases, the owners of an electric car face new risks, which of course should also be specially insured. Only those who are aware of these risks and ask specific questions will be properly protected in an emergency.

New risks after an accident

Südwestrundfunk recently reported on a particularly violent example. After an accident with a wild animal with his electric car, the owner had to put his hybrid car in the so-called vehicle quarantine, as required by fire protection regulations.

The e-mobile sat in the yard of a towing company, specially insured, for more than seven weeks until the battery was finally examined by a high-voltage expert, removed by a specialized company and transported safely to the disposal company. . Result: about 17,000 euros of expenses, which the owner passed on to his insurance company. What he had no idea: The insurance company only wanted to pay for the first 14 days. Because that’s what he said in the fine print.

These cases must be taken into account when searching for the appropriate insurance coverage. In any case, you should resist tempting advertisements with huge promises of discounts for electronic fares without an exact query. Therefore, existing offers and policies should be checked for the following risks:

Risk number 1: Clearly the battery

If damaged or lost, the damage runs into the thousands. The manufacturer’s warranties for manufacturing defects do not apply in the event of lightning, power surges or malfunctions. Therefore, insurers are happy to recommend comprehensive coverages, which also offer comprehensive protection in the event of accidents for which you are responsible or vandalism.

But the comparatively expensive protection really should be as broad and sufficient as possible. Does the insurer pay full replacement value? Because there are big differences, some only pay up to 5,000 euros, others nothing. Does the insurer also cover disposal costs and what applies if the car is driven with a rented battery?

Electric mobility car insurance letters promise worry-free full liability for an additional fee. But does that also apply to electricity-specific tracking costs, for example for towing to the next charging station?

Risk number 2: collect

If you drive electrically, you have to charge it, for example, by privately installing a so-called wall box. It is essential to clarify beforehand if the Wallbox is protected against fire, water, storms and vandalism by the general insurance contracts of the building.

In addition, the insurance company must be informed in advance, since in the event of damage, insurers will verify whether strict safety and accident prevention regulations have been observed during installation and operation.

But what happens if the car is connected to a public charging station and damage occurs? If this is not made clear in the contract, you should request information from the insurer beforehand.

Alternatively, a so-called “electronics insurance” could be considered, which also covers malfunctions, clumsiness, fraud, short circuits or material defects. The damage caused by hacker attacks is also becoming more realistic due to the increasing digitization of mobility.

Anyone who already operates a large number of IT and electrical devices privately or as an entrepreneur should also check such policies for charging infrastructure liability.

Theft protection is of course an issue with expensive electric cars. But, does the comprehensive insurance also cover the theft of charging cables, electric charging cards or mobile charging devices? Make sure to clarify!

Risk #3: Keeping track of the fee jungle

If you want to have electric mobility, you need to stay tuned, because increasing electric mobility means that the rates are just a snapshot. According to the consumer portal Verivox, 79 insurers in Germany have at least one offer in the field of electric mobility. That’s about 90 percent of providers.

However, the providers currently differ significantly in terms of services, as a current fee analysis of the magazine “Finanztest” shows. How the tariffs for electric mobility will develop will only become clearer when more electric vehicles are on the roads and full damage statistics become available. It is to be feared that they will increase, because damage to electronics is usually not easy or cheap. Beate-Kathrin Bextermöller, insurance expert at Stiftung Warentest, says: “Before looking for a new contract, you should also ask your current insurer if the conditions for electric vehicles will be adjusted or if new rates are being prepared.”

And the two-wheelers?

Classic electric bikes (up to 25 km/h maximum speed) do not have to be insured. In case of accidents, a private civil liability insurance should intervene, which everyone should have anyway. The fastest pedelecs up to a maximum speed of 45 km/h, on the other hand, are considered mopeds with compulsory insurance and a helmet.

In both cases, anti-theft protection is recommended due to the high purchase price. Electric scooters, on the other hand, must be specially insured, because private liability insurance is not enough. Tariff comparisons pay off here, because the differences in cost and performance are considerable, according to a recent sample from “Öktest” magazine.

Beware of traps on vacation: if you decide to rent a scooter for an impromptu trip to the beach, you should know that liability insurance only applies to scooters with a maximum speed of up to 6 km/h. Therefore, it is essential to ask the supplier about the maximum speed and insurance coverage of the e-scooter abroad before renting it.

Conclusion: ask, compare, do not lose sight

Regardless of whether it is a scooter, pedelec or e-car: Users first have to get used to new types of damage, for example from long-term parking in a wet or cold garage or from not observing charging cycles.

Therefore, if something is not clear, harass your insurer with questions and request a written confirmation so that the insurance protects against risks and does not become a risk in itself.

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