Segway Hits Walkways as Insurers Address Needs

March 6, 2003

The new Segway Human Transporter hits walkways this week, leaving buyers seeking direction on how to protect these futuristic vehicles.

Before shipments arrive at buyers’ doorsteps, insurers are working to develop new products and adapt existing ones to address the unique needs of this two-wheeled, self-balancing machine. Policies specifically tailored for the Segway already exist, though many insurers will provide coverage for the $5,000 machine through their customers’ homeowners’ insurance.

“Because it’s not quite a licensed vehicle and more than a simple scooter, Segway HTs typically will not be insured as a motor vehicle,” Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California, commented. “Insurance products are already evolving to meet this new and unusual demand.”

Since the Segway is not intended for street use, some insurers may provide coverage against theft and damage, while others may require a special endorsement for it as a “low powered recreational vehicle,” like a golf cart or motorized scooter.

To date, 33 states – including California – have passed laws allowing the 90-pound transport on sidewalks.

Local governments may opt to further regulate their use, however. In San Francisco, Segways will be banned from public sidewalks and walkways.

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