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Old 09-17-08, 03:38 PM   #1
javguy
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Help! My E-bike got stolen, State Farm home owners insurance will not cover it :(

I live in Ottawa Canada and my bike equipped with a BionX kit got stolen, worth $2500 in total. Not going to get into how and whys but bottom line is that I found out today that my home insurance coverage from State Farm does not want to cover it, saying that I'm pretty much out of luck. Now I'm no lawyer but how would I go about reading the agreement to see whether they should or should not cover it?

I'm very disappointed as I'm reading from some websites that most home owners insurances should cover e-bikes also but how do I go about stating my case? I cannot take this lying down, I know that they're purposely giving me a very difficult time because of course they don't want to pay it if they don't have to. So I'm wondering if anyone else has had their e-bikes stolen and if they've tried making a claim through their insurance company? Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 09-17-08, 04:07 PM   #2
toyfountain
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What's the reason for the refusal of the coverage? Is your insurance an all risk type or not? Was your bike properly locked? Do you have the receipts and serial number for your stolen bike?

Does your insurance offer free phone consultation with a lawyer? Ours does since we have both car and house insurance with them. If you have it, they can offer valuable free advice.
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Old 09-17-08, 06:09 PM   #3
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not that this will help you now, but I added a insurance rider to my policy to cover my BionX powered bike, it cost me $75/yr. I sent in pictures and copies of all my receipts and they approved it, this was not State Farm, but was Amica insurance. It would have been covered if I did not but was subject to my deductable, which I did not want to risk.
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Old 09-17-08, 06:25 PM   #4
javguy
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Their reason for not covering it is because it is a motorized vehicle. I told them that it is classified as a normal bicycle, follows the same rules and regulations as a standard bike but they wouln't buy it. I could tell that they weren't absolutely sure of what they were talking about since this was the first case of such reported. I'm thinking of bringing the agreement to a lawyer even if it's going to cost me a bit of money.

My bike was locked up, I have a Military Police report on it. It was stolen because I worked late downtown and should have brought it in with me, the lock was sawed off, even with a security guard in the building and cameras. I provided the insurance company with all the receipts. I'm pretty disappointed with the reason they're giving me. I told them it's an electrical assisted bike, not a fully motorized bike like a moped. I'm wondering what else I can tell them? To me, it's probably one of those grey area things which could be left to interpretation and they're taking advantage of this fact.

I think I'm going to call around to various insurance companies and ask them if they would cover e-bikes. I'm not really buying the reasoning that I'm given by state farm.
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Old 09-17-08, 07:23 PM   #5
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I think I'm going to call around to various insurance companies and ask them if they would cover e-bikes. I'm not really buying the reasoning that I'm given by state farm.
Your first step should be to find out exactly what your policy says about what property is covered under the personal property coverage of the policy. The specific language of your policy will define what the insurer does or does not cover, and will provide you with the appropriate framework for arguing that coverage exists.

My homeowners policy, for example, says: "We do not cover ... any engine or motor propelled vehicle or machine .. designed for use on land." There are a couple of exceptions to this exclusion, but none of them would be applicable to an e-bike.

If your policy has similar language, then the relevant question would be, "is the bike propelled by an engine or motor"?

How does the BionX work? I'm assuming that you can operate the bike solely by pedaling, without using the motor at all. But is it possible to operate the bike exclusively with the motor, without pedaling at all?
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Old 09-17-08, 08:05 PM   #6
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the Canadian Federal government created a new classification for power assisted bicycles. If you might the guidelines set out, then you do not fall into a broader classification of motorized vehicles that require insurance or drivers licence.

My understanding is, the provinces are not allowed to outlaw power assisted bicycles merely by classifying it as an unregistered or uninsured motorvehicle. To be more acurate, they are not allowed to lump it in as just another illegal motorized vehicle.

My understanding is, there needs to be new laws specifically outlawing power assisted bicycles. The provinces haven't done this. And, although it is within their power, it is not expected to happen.

My approach for your insurance company is to point out the new federal classification for power assisted bicycles. Then point out that you policy does not have language in it to deal with power assisted bicycles.

And, ultimately, I'd file a small claims court case against them, and let a judge decide this one for you. I think you could be a precident setting case, so it could get alot of media coverage. My guess is they may decide to settle, just so a precidence is not set.

If I was to file a court case, there's several point I would cover:
1 - the federal classification
2 - the absense of language in their policy
3 - refusal to pay, I would claim that as breach of contract, and ask for full re-imbursement including the deducttable that you would normally have to pay, and also ask for you premiums, too.

certain questions that I would prepare for the insurance company would be very fundamental. For example: " Upon the implementation of the new federal laws, have you taken all legal and reasonable steps to inform me that you are not recognizing the federally classified 'power assisted bikes' as a bicycle?"

and another peice of advice, I would refrain from the dozens of other arguements that you might want to mention. Challenge them with a rock solid point, and don't take NO for an answer, Many disputes can be won by being the person that wears the other person down.

Last edited by SeizeTech; 09-17-08 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 09-18-08, 09:38 AM   #7
crackerdog
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state farm is notorious even among insurance companies, for not honoring their end of the contract. Keep after them, call them every day until they get tired of you.
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Old 09-18-08, 02:21 PM   #8
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state farm is notorious even among insurance companies, for not honoring their end of the contract. Keep after them, call them every day until they get tired of you.
Darn straight. I had to fight those guys like a madman to get satisfaction. They insured to person who caused the wreck (and was cited), then made me feel like it was my fault for being alive that day. What finally shook the money tree was when I said my next call was to an attorney...
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Old 09-21-08, 09:43 PM   #9
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This question was just asked this week on a popular french consumer show called JE. They stated that according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada as long as a bike has pedals it is considered as a bicycle and IS covered by your home insurance regardless of whether or not there is an electric motor.

You can read the original article in french here
http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/je/questions/25321.html
and an understandable google translation here ( "voler" was translated as flying instead of stolen)
http://translate.google.com/translat...-8&sl=fr&tl=en

They also gave the number for enquiries at
http://www.ibc.ca/en/Contact_Us.asp
1 877 288 4321 for Quebec
1-800-387-2880 for Ontario
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