The Segway Human Transporter, a two-wheeled scooter-like device used by the United States Postal Service, selected police departments, tour guide businesses, and some other private businesses. The Segway has a top speed of 12.5 miles per hour and a range of up to 17 miles on a single charge. It is battery powered and gyroscope assisted allowing the user to shift his body weight slightly in order to turn the Segway.

Mail carriers use it to increase the amount of mail they can deliver in a city setting and law enforcement officials use the Segway to patrol areas not accessible to police cruisers. Businesses can use it to increase productivity in large facilities such as warehouses. Eventually the average consumer might use it to make a long walk to the store become a just short ride. 

Information about the Segway has appeared in various publications, on numerous media reports, and on the Segway web site. Of course no news report, magazine article, or manufacturer website ever mentions the insurance implications of the Segway. The typical consumer would most likely not consider the insurance implications…until after the loss takes place. This article will examine the insurance implications of the Segway looking at personal lines issues, commercial lines issues, first-party issues, and third-party issues.

Personal Lines

Homeowners Policy

The homeowners policy defines “motor vehicle” as: “A self-propelled land or amphibious vehicle.” Absent any written confirmation from an insurance carrier to the contrary, a Segway should be considered a “motor vehicle” under the policy. 

Under Section I of the policy coverage for motor vehicles is excluded. However, this exception to the exclusion is found in the policy:

We do cover "motor vehicles" not required to be registered for use on public roads or property which are: 

(a) Used solely to service an "insured's" residence;
 or
(b) Designed to assist the handicapped;  

It is doubtful that a Segway is going to be used in either of the above two manners; therefore it should be assumed that there is no Section I coverage for claims such as theft or damage caused by an automobile.

Coverage provided under Section II is not much better and significant liability gaps exist. The motor vehicle liability exclusion completely removes coverage except for the following situations:

a. In dead storage on an "insured location";
b. Used solely to service an "insured's" residence;
c. Designed to assist the handicapped and, at the time of an "occurrence", it is:
(1) Being used to assist a handicapped person; or
(2) Parked on an "insured location";
d. Designed for recreational use off public roads and:
(1) Not owned by an "insured";
or

(2) Owned by an "insured" provided the "occurrence" takes place on an "insured location" as defined in Definitions B.6.a., b., d., e. or h.

Should a Segway be in dead storage (not capable of being operated) on an insured location then Section II coverage applies. As stated earlier, the likelihood of a Segway being used solely to service the insured’s residence is remote so it is doubtful that coverage can be found in that exception to the exclusion. Equally unlikely is a Segway being used to assist a handicapped person, but should such condition exist then coverage applies just as it would for a motorized wheel chair. 

Coverage as outlined in item d. is probably the most common situation that would involve a Segway. Clearly if an insured does not own the Segway then Section II coverage applies for those who qualify as “an insured” under the policy. (This would include the person named, resident spouse, and family members to name a few.) Thus when Mom, Dad, or Junior borrows or rents a Segway to “take it out for a spin and check it out” their Section II coverage applies for any bodily injury or property damage caused. Damage to the Segway itself would be limited to $1,000 under the “Property Damage To Others” additional coverage, at replacement cost and with no deductible. For an owned Segway coverage applies as follows:

  1. On the residence premises;
  2. On locations shown on the declarations page;
  3. At a premises not owned by an insured where they are temporarily residing;
  4. On vacant land owned by or rented to an insured;
  5. And at a premises occasionally rented to an insured for non-business purposes. Locations clearly not covered are those where the owned Segway will most likely be used, such as on public sidewalks, on side roads, and inside private residential communities. 

The only endorsement available to the homeowners policy is a liability endorsement, HO 24 13, Incidental Low Power Motor Vehicle. This endorsement will provide liability for off premises use as long as the motor vehicle in question was not designed by the manufacturer or modified to exceed 15 mph. The lack of Section I coverage is not resolved by this endorsement and there is no Section I endorsement available. 

For those who purchase a Segway the HO 24 13 should be added to the homeowners policy for liability protection, or a specialty type policy should be written to solve both the liability and property issue. That task of course is easier said than done. 

News reports recently have dealt with firms who rent Segways to the general public. While the above discussion shows how any injury or damage caused by the operator would be covered by the homeowners policy, it’s important to remember that damage to the Segway itself is limited to $1,000 under the homeowners 2000 program and $500 under earlier versions of the policy.

Personal Auto Policy

Coverage under the PAP is extremely limited. 

Since it has less than four wheels, operators (whether they own it or borrow it) of a Segway have no liability coverage. 

Likewise, occupants have no medical payments or PIP coverage due to the “less than four wheels” exclusion. (PIP discussion is Florida specific here so check with your state if PIP coverage is mandated.) 

Since the Segway does not qualify as a “private passenger motor vehicle” as defined in the physical damage portion of the PAP there is also no physical damage coverage for an owned or non-owned Segway. 

The only coverage that would apply is uninsured motorist coverage. An occupant of a Segway, if struck by an uninsured motor vehicle as defined by Florida law, would have access to UM coverage under their PAP. This holds true whether the UM is stacked or non-stacked. (Again, the UM discussion here is Florida specific and other states may vary.) 

A possible solution to coverage gaps under the PAP is the PP 03 23, Miscellaneous Type Vehicle Endorsement. Rule 19.c. of the ISO Personal Vehicle Manual allows certain miscellaneous vehicles to be added to the PAP. While a Segway is not specifically listed in the rule, the following vehicles are listed: “motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters, motorbikes, go-carts and any other similar motor vehicles not used for business purposes.” Company guidelines would dictate any willingness to use this endorsement for a Segway.

Personal Umbrella Policy

Since every umbrella policy is different there is no general statement to address how such policy may respond for liability claims resulting from the ownership, maintenance, or use of a Segway. Each policy should be consulted for specifics.

Commercial Lines

Commercial Property Policy

The commercial property excludes vehicles or self-propelled machines under the following exclusion:

Vehicles or self-propelled machines (including aircraft or watercraft) that:
(1) Are licensed for use on public roads; or
(2) Are operated principally away from the described premises.
This paragraph does not apply to:
(a) Vehicles or self-propelled machines or autos you manufacture, process or warehouse;
(b) Vehicles or self-propelled machines, other than autos, you hold for sale; 

Therefore a business such as a large warehouse that uses a Segway within the warehouse would find property coverage under the form. However if a business uses the Segway “…principally away from the described premises…” the exclusion preclude coverage.

Commercial General Liability Policy

The CGL defines “mobile equipment” as follows:

"Mobile equipment" means any of the following types of land vehicles including any attached machinery or equipment: 
a. Bulldozers. farm machinery, forklifts and other vehicles designed for use principally off public roads;
b. Vehicles maintained for use solely on or next to premises you own or  rent;  

A Segway is not designed for use principally on public roads and thus qualifies as mobile equipment. Therefore the use of a Segway is covered by the CGL policy anywhere in the policy territory. Employees using a Segway qualify as “an insured” under the CGL policy and would also be afforded coverage is a liability suit.

Workers' Compensation Policy

There are no unique exclusions or concerns under a workers compensation policy. If used in the course and scope of employment, an injured employee should find coverage for injuries under the policy. Of course proper training and risk management are in order to help reduce losses.

Commercial Umbrella Policy

As in the personal umbrella policy, each commercial umbrella is different and should be read. Most likely the policy will respond but refer to each policy for specifics.

Summary

Seway recommends consumers contact their insurance company or local agent with coverage questions, while noting that both Progressive and Esurance offer personal use coverage for Segways in most states.

The popularity of the Segway will undoubtedly increase over the near future as costs drop. Few clients will consider the insurance implications of using a Segway. Personal lines clients in particular face coverage gaps resulting from the ownership or use of a Segway. A proactive approach should be used to identify the exposures of agency clients and implement a proper insurance program to cover Segways.

Make sure to contact your local Armstrong Insurance agent when needing a quote on auto, home or commercial insurance policies anywhere in Florida.