In Singapore, regulations over new technologies used to be tight first before they are loosened as authorities gained a better understanding the risks posed by these new developments and how to manage them.
However, in recent years, the desire to not stifle innovation had led to regulators playing catch-up to the fast paced adoption of new platforms like private hire services, bike-sharing, drones, and personal mobility devices (PMDs).
The explosive growth of PMD usage can be attributed to many factors, including:
– Low cost (cheaper than motorcycles and no COE required);
– No restrictions on users (you don’t need to demonstrate any understanding of traffic rules or safety awareness, have the reflexes of a snail and the eyesight of a bat, and still operate a PMD);
– Practicality (many food delivery riders won’t be able to make as much deliveries if not for PMDs).
However, the lack of regulations have also made PMDs a hazard to riders themselves, motorists, and pedestrians.
While we await the authorities to implement measures to better control PMD usage and protect the public from irresponsible PMD use, here are 4 very plausible scenarios your life could be severely impacted by PMDs, even if you’re not a PMD user.
#1 A Neighbour’s PMD Catches Fire And Damages Your Home
PMDs in the market are made by manufacturers of varying standards of quality control and safety features. Unfortunately, this has led to increasing incidences of fires caused by PMDs charging at home, so much so that the government has convened a task force to look into PMD fire prevention. This adds to the already heavy workload of the SCDF, which responded to 3,885 fire calls in 2018.
Fire safety and awareness is undoubtedly crucial in preserving life and property. Ensuring every member of the family knows that to do in the event of a fire breaking out is something all families should do.
Once you and your loved ones are safe, you’ll need to deal with the aftermath of a PMD fire, which has shown to be able to spread to neighbouring units quite regularly. To help with this, you’ll be looking at two types of insurance: fire insurance and home content insurance.
Unlike what the name suggests, fire insurance covers damages from perils other than fire as well, but it only applies to repairs and renovations to restore the structure to its original condition. Any renovations you may have made or furnishing you purchased that were destroyed or damaged by a fire will not be covered by your home’s fire insurance.
A home content insurance policy complements fire insurance by covering just about everything inside your house – your renovations and household contents. Home content insurance also covers your personal legal liability for expenses or property damage you might have accidentally caused. Home content insurance also provide additional benefits that help you recover from an incident in your home: financial assistance in the form of a stipend and reimbursement for the cost of temporary accommodation and storage while your home undergoes repair.
If your neighbour who caused the fire has home content insurance, their policy might pay you for third-party liability damages.
But instead of relying on them to be insured, it would make sense to seriously consider a home content insurance to protect you from financial losses arising from PMD fires and other perils. If you do, do pick a sum insured amount that is comparable to the cost of renovation, home contents, and fixtures and fittings in your home.
#2 You’re Walking On The Street And Get Knocked Down By A Food Delivery Rider On A PMD
These days, its quite impossible to walk along the streets and not encounter a food delivery rider – whether they are on a motorcycle, bicycle, or PMD. Unfortunately, the long hours they are on the road and pressure to meet delivery timing targets may cause some food delivery riders to get into minor accidents.
In a welcome move, Deliveroo and Grab have both announced that all their food delivery riders will be covered with an insurance policy that takes care of third-party liability damages. This means that if one of their riders hits you while on the job, your medical expenses and even damaged property can be claimed from their insurance policy.
Of course, prevention is better than cure, and being more aware of your surroundings, especially for young children, is critical if you want to avoid becoming the subject of yet another news story about a PMD-pedestrian accident.
#3 You’re Walking On A Path And Get Hit And Injured By A PMD
If you do get into an accident with a PMD that isn’t a food delivery rider, then hopefully this PMD rider has bought a PMD-focused insurance policy, such as the Personal Mobility Guard is a policy from NTUC Income. This policy provides the rider with up to $1 million in personal liability coverage in the event they accidentally injure someone or damage someone’s property while riding a personal mobility device.
If you don’t want to rely on the PMD rider buying insurance (which is not mandatory and you shouldn’t count on it), you can consider buying a personal accident policy for yourself. This provides you with a payout for medical expenses, daily hospital benefit and even income benefits in the event of an accident, including PMD collisions.
#4 You’re Driving A Motor Vehicle And A PMD Damages Your Vehicle
If you’re fortunate enough to drive your own vehicle, you probably won’t appreciate a PMD damaging it by accidentally bumping into it, causing scratches, dents or even breaking your side mirror.
You would be covered under your motor insurance policy, but the damages will likely be below the excess (deductible) you need to pay, which is the threshold for damages below which your insurance policy will not be activated.
If the PMD rider has a PMD-focused insurance policy as explained in #3, you would be able to claim third-party damages from their policy. Otherwise, your only remaining option is to come to a private settlement between you and the PMD rider.
The hassle of being without your vehicle while it is in the workshop being repaired is not a prospect most drivers would like to think about, so perhaps giving PMD riders a wider berth when you’re driving might be a wise habit to adopt, while we await stronger legislation that would improve safety among PMD users.