NTUC Income launches insurance policy for cyclists, personal mobility device users: Pros and cons

A man cycling on a pedestrians' path at a traffic junction at Ang Mo Kio on March 17, 2016.
A man cycling on a pedestrians' path at a traffic junction at Ang Mo Kio on March 17, 2016. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Does NTUC’s new insurance policy make sense for cyclists and users of e-scooters and other personal mobility devices? We take a look at the policy’s pros and cons

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - NTUC Income recently launched the Personal Mobility Guard, an insurance policy aimed at users of bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs).

PMDs include electric scooters, wheelchairs, hoverboards, inline skates and skateboards.

Take note that there are limitations to the policies.

In an e-mail reply to The New Paper, Ms Annie Chua, NTUC Income’s vice-president for personal lines, said: “There will be no pay-out if the insured has violated any rules prevailing at the time.”

This means that if you ride your bicycle on a public road and accidentally damage a parked car, the policy will cover you for third-party claims.

But if you ride your electric bicycle on a footpath and accidentally hit a pedestrian , the policy will not cover you.


An electric kick scooter user waiting at a pedestrian crossing. PHOTO: ST FILE

WHAT IS THE PERSONAL MOBILITY GUARD?

The plan covers users of bicycles and PMDs against injuries, permanent disabilities, or accidental death arising from the use of PMDs or bicycles in Singapore.

What makes this plan different from other personal insurance plans is that it also covers against third-party liability when a user has an accident.

And if you were to get injured while riding an e-bicycle on the road, the plan will cover your medical costs.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

$96 a year.

WHAT DOES THAT GET YOU?

You will be insured up to $200,000 for accidental death or permanent disability if the accident is caused while using a bicycle or PMD .

You will be insured for up to $1 million for paying damages to third parties due to accidental injuries or damage to property.

You can also claim up to $2,500 for medical expenses per accident, but you will have to pay the first $100 of every claim.

WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED?

People who ride bicycles, e-bikes, hoverboards, skate-scooters and power-assisted scooters, unicycles and power-assisted unicycles, inline skates, roller-skates, skateboards and other PMDs.

WHAT LAWS CURRENTLY APPLY TO BICYCLES AND PMDS?

Bicycles and electric bicycles are supposed to be used only on the roads.

PMDs are not allowed to be used on pavements, roads and park connectors, but can be used on private premises.

This, however, is about to change.

WHAT RECOMMENDATIONS WERE RECENTLY PASSED IN PARLIAMENT?

On April 12, the Government accepted an expert panel’s recommendations on the use of PMDs to boost mobility.

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel recommended that bicycles and all PMDs, except e-bikes, be allowed on cycling paths, shared paths, and footpaths.

It recommended that e-bikes be registered with the Land Transport Authority and be banned from footpaths.
The earliest this will come into effect is at year’s end.

The full recommendations can be found on the LTA website

SHOULD YOU GET THE PLAN?

Mr Denis Koh, chairman of Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, a community of scooter enthusiasts, felt the plan was a good way forward.

“It presents some form of assurance to other stakeholders using the shared spaces that should the unfortunate occur, all medical (bills) and claims will be covered.”

However, Mr Koh, 44, said he would wait for the new legislation to come into effect before purchasing the policy.

Mr Victor Lee, 34, sales manager of Falcon PEV, a PMD retailer, welcomed the protection against third-party liability but called for more comprehensive coverage, such as theft and fire damage.

NTUC Income’s Ms Chua said: “We hope the third-party liability coverage further promotes responsible cycling and riding in the community, and will go towards preventing hit-and-run incidences should an accident occur.”