Here is a scenario quoted from “Legally Speaking: One key insurance tip for cyclists” by Bob Mionske:
You’re out on your favorite training route. It’s a beautiful day, and you’ve had a great ride so far. You’re nearing your favorite refueling spot when the unthinkable happens — a driver hits you with a left cross, knocking you to the pavement. You’re banged up, but alive. Your bike is in worse condition. The driver apologizes profusely, swearing he didn’t see you. He feels terrible. Police arrive at the scene, and an ambulance is summoned.
A few days later, you call the driver’s insurance company to talk about your claim. And that’s when everything changes. While your injuries and losses are expected to hit the $75,000 mark, the driver is insured for a paltry $15,000. Who pays for the other $60,000?
If an insurance policy doesn’t pay, you do.
This article covers an important issue we do not often think about as cyclists. If you have an automobile insurance policy, the UM/UIM coverage provides protection for you. Here, I summarize some of the pitfalls of this coverage:
- In some states “contact” is required for your UM/UIM coverage can be used i.e. a car has to physically hit you for coverage. If a swerving car causes you to fall off your bike and crash, this insurance cannot cover your bills.
- Even if your state allows use of your UM/UIM coverage, when an uninsured driver hits you, your own insurance company can play devil’s advocate and argue that you are partially liable for the crash and fight you to pay out less.
- Property damage may not be covered by your UM/UIM coverage. In most bad crashes, expensive bikes are destroyed. You should check with your insurance company the extent of coverage for your policy.
However, what if you’re like me and you don’t own a car, cannot afford a car or automobile insurance policy on a student salary, which is one of the biggest reasons why you ride your bike everywhere in the first place?
There are other options for cyclists such as Velosurance (https://velosurance.com/). Velosurance offers affordable insurance policies for cyclists to insure their bikes for theft, physical loss, damage, and liability. If your automobile insurance policy does not cover property damage, this is a key resource you should consider.
Members of USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, and International Mountain Bicycle Association receive discounts on Velosurance bicycle insurance