Insurance is always a tricky subject, no matter what it is you’re getting insured. In the case of EV charging stations, it’s especially true. There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are gaining popularity as more companies put them into production but the question remains, are insurance companies keeping up? That is to say, when it comes to charging their vehicles, where does owner liability begin and most importantly, where does it end?
Since the electric vehicle industry is still quite young, consumers still have a number of questions when it comes to that specific topic. Insurance companies have just adopted the scenarios which can arise in charging stations to existing infrastructures they have in place.
Home owners are protected
Owners of charging stations don’t have to worry about the charging station itself being stolen, it’s the cables that thieves are after. They cut the cables that connect from the charging station to the car in order to resell the copper inside which gives about a $4 profit per pound. If someone’s charging cable gets stolen from the station they have inside their garages, it’s said that home insurance would cover this theft. Since the permanent charging station is seen as a piece of furniture, the cable that is permanently attached to it is included in that category as well. That one is pretty straight forward and without complication.
Are condo owners protected?
It gets more complicated when it comes to public or shared charging stations.Today, it’s increasingly common for newly built condos to put charging stations in their parking garages. This way, owners have the incentive to drive electric cars and it’s open to anyone who is a resident of the building. In cases of vandalism or cable theft of the stations, who would pay for the repair? There isn’t just one answer. If the condo association has opted for protection against vandalism, then their insurance policy would cover the cost. If not, then it’s possible that maintenance fees will be raised in order to cover the costs. That might cause problems among those residents who don’t use the charging stations as the have gasoline powered vehicles. What if someone’s car was damaged in the process of vandalism? It’s highly unlikely that the condominium association would cover the costs of damage to their personal property.
In the case of completely public stations as in those in gas stations or mall parking lots, the issue is less about vandalism and theft and more about what happens when you are using the chargers. In Europe, drivers carry around their own cables for charging and while that may take away the risk of vandalized shared spaces, it can create tense situations in public stations. If you’re in the middle of a charge and someone trips and injures themselves because of your cable, who is liable? The MTO requires vehicles to have third-party liability of at least $200,000. This covers drivers in the event of someone else’s injury or death. Since the owner is liable for the person’s injury, their insurance will cover any costs that arise from the accident. In most cases, this is enough. In other cases, it’s less straight forward.
As charging stations multiply to match the growth of electric vehicles on the road, it’s important for companies to begin the task of covering owners for their electric vehicles as well as the components that come with owning them. While these pseudo-policies are doing the job now, there’s a great opportunity for companies and consumers to work together in order to provide the proper support this budding industry needs to succeed.
Have you ran into legal troubles when it comes to your electric vehicle? How did you resolve it with your insurance company? Let me know at @signaturemark!
Sources: (1) “Driver’s Handbook.” Driver’s Handbook. Government of Ontario, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Image credit: Patch