Insurance: Who really pays if the electric bike battery catches fire? | saver

What a monstrous problem! E-bike batteries catch fire from time to time, like recently at Sennheisers in Isernhagen near Hannover. The property was severely damaged.

This begs the question: who is responsible? The manufacturer? It’s not that easy…

At the beginning of 2021 there were 7.1 million electric bicycles in Germany. In fact, a distinction must be made between pedal-assist e-bikes, also known as pedelecs, which do not require registration, and e-bikes and S-pedelecs that do require registration. Drivers of electric bicycles without a license with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h are usually protected against third party claims through their personal liability insurance.

Case 1

Battery bursts into flames when charging in my apartment or garage.

This is where the owner’s home insurance comes into play. Household insurance regulates damage to the bicycle.

Important: bicycles and e-bikes must be explicitly included in the household insurance. If you are looking for a cheap policy when comparing insurance, you will have bad luck with the wheels.

At most, Axa and Ammerländer Versicherung include wheels in premium rates. Good: “The civil liability insurance company” insures 10,000 euros for bicycles.

case 2

A friend’s bicycle battery catches fire.

Already more difficult. Your own household contents insurance will cover the damage (if bikes are included). However, damage to someone else’s property is only covered by private liability insurance.

Here it depends on whether the e-bike has a license plate (such as an e-scooter): If the bike is an e-bike that requires a license plate, the damage is covered by the comprehensive insurance.

case 3

The battery catches fire in a rented vacation home or employer’s home. Only personal liability insurance can help here. It’s like case 2.

Even if fire damage may initially be covered through the victim’s home building insurance or home contents insurance, the insurer will require recourse from the person who caused it at any time. This could be the owner of the battery or the manufacturer.

In Germany, the Product Liability Act since 1990 has regulated a manufacturer’s liability for defective products.

Lawyer Arndt Kempgens (53): “The manufacturer should be responsible for their products. In fact, insurers will get their money back here. Product liability also includes fire damage that may not have been covered by insurance.”

The manufacturer is liable for 10 years (§§ 1, 13 ProdHaftG) for bodily injury and material damage if due to a product defect.

What have you experienced with insurance? Write to [email protected]

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