Amendment to the Vehicles Act – how will new light electric mobility devices be insured?

Bulletin 30 December 2015

Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre

An amendment to the Vehicles Act will come into force on 1 January 2016. The amendment will make several new electric mobility devices legal in traffic. According to law, motor vehicles must be insured, but what about new electric mobility devices?

Electric mobility devices include Segway-type mobility devices, hoverboards, electric scooters, self-balancing electric unicycles and pedelecs.

"Most of these electric mobility devices are not classified as vehicles under EU or national legislation. In this case, they are deemed equal to pedestrian and bicycle traffic in terms of obligation to insure," says Janne Jumppanen, director of the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.

Motor liability insurance is required for all mobility devices or vehicles with a power of above 1 kW or with a top speed of above 25 km/h. In addition, motor liability insurance is required for motorised bicycles, which may have a power of up to 1 kW and a top speed of up to 25 km/h. There is a separate vehicle class for such bicycles in the EU, which is the reason for the obligation to insure.

Motor liability insurance is not required or available for mobility devices that assist or replace walking and with a power of up to 1 kW or a top speed of up to 15 km/h. In addition, pedelecs with a maximum power of up to 250 W and a top speed of no more than 25 km/h fall outside the obligation to insure. Also, motor liability insurance is not taken out for "light electric vehicles" with a power not exceeding 1 kW, a top speed of up to 25 km/h and a maximum width of no more than 80 cm.

Tips for people thinking of getting such a device

From the point of view of the obligation to insure, it is very important to find out the top speed and power of the device when buying it. Accidents caused by mobility devices falling outside the obligation to insure cannot be compensated for under motor liability insurance. The situation is the same as with bicycles, for example. Therefore, it would be wise to take out a voluntary insurance policy, such as accident and third party insurance.

"Accident insurance provides compensation if you injure yourself, while third party insurance compensates for personal injuries and damage to property caused to third parties. If there is no voluntary insurance coverage, the party causing the loss is liable for damage caused to themselves and others," says Antti Tuulensuu, compensation manager at the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.

In addition, it is necessary to exercise caution when driving such devices, take other road users into account and find out about traffic rules in advance. Using appropriate safety equipment, such as a helmet, is also important. "If the power of the device exceeds 1 kW or it has a top speed above 25 km/h, it is recommended to ask Trafi whether the device may be used on the roads in Finland" says lawyer Visa Kronbäck.

Additional information:

Graphic on obligation to insure

  • Janne Jumppanen, Director, tel. +358 40 450 4543
  • Visa Kronbäck, Lawyer, tel. +358 40 450 4259
  • Antti Tuulensuu, Claims Manager, tel. +358 40 450 4671
    firstname.lastname@vakuutuskeskus.fi

 

The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre (LVK) is the party that ultimately safeguards the rights of a person who has been involved in a road accident and takes care of the consequences of the statutory motor liability insurance. LVK promotes traffic safety by coordinating the work of road accident investigation committees and compiling statistics regarding accidents. LVK has extensive international duties, and its members include all insurance companies that grant motor insurance policies in Finland. www.lvk.fi/en

30.12.2015