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If you ride a bike, check your auto insurance

If you ride a bike and own a car, and let’s face it most of us do, check your car insurance; that’s right your car insurance.

If you are hit by a car while on your bike and end up with $60,000 or more in medical bills, it will not help you if the driver at fault has only minimum legal coverage of say $25,000.

Worse yet he may have no insurance, or as is happening in more and more bicycle/car crashes, it is a hit and run. The driver leaves the scene and there is no one to make a claim against.

Most cyclists do not know that in most cases you can claim for expenses and compensation from your own insurance company, and if you are not at fault you are not penalized. However, this is only the case if you previously bought sufficient coverage on your own policy.

I was advised to do this a few years ago by an attorney friend of mine, and as a result I upped my underinsured and uninsured driver coverage to $250,000. It is advisable to carry at least $100,000 and up to $300,000. It may cost you $8.00 a month for the extra coverage, but the peace of mind it brings is worth it.

This advice was reiterated in a free book I just received called “The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook.” As the title suggests it applies to the state of Utah, but much of the advice is good in most states.

The book also pointed out that I might consider Personal Injury Protection, or No Fault Coverage. This allows for my medical expenses to be covered immediately, instead of having to wait for the other party’s insurance to accept responsibility for the accident. If they do eventually accept responsibility my insurance company will seek reimbursement from the at fault insurer.

I had a serious bike accident a few years ago, and I was fortunate in that the person who caused the accident owned a business and had excellent auto insurance. There was also a witness who came forward, and I had an attorney who specialized in bicycle cases handle the claim.

I would advise anyone to do the same. An attorney will take a third of the final settlement, but they take no money up front, so it is in their interest to get the best settlement possible.

Insurance companies are in the business of paying out as little as possible, that is how they make a profit. In my case I would have had no idea what would have been a fair offer, or just how much they would have paid, but an experienced attorney has that knowledge and experience. 

The League of American Bicyclists has a list of attorneys who specialize in bicycle accidents 



Reader Comments (7)

Laws vary from state to state.

From personal experience: if you are a cyclist in Minnesota and involved in a motor vehicle accident, get an accident report (if at all possible), and medical care IMMEDIATELY.

Don't think about the money. Whether you have insurance or not, the medical bills will get paid, you'll get compensation for lost wages, and your rates will not be affected down the road.

Note that this only applies to accidents involving a motor vehicle; any old spill on the street is not covered.

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChamps

Good advice Dave ! I was car=doored in Marina del Rey, CA. in June of 1993.
The woman who did it had no insurance, her licence was from out of state and her car was from a different state. Fortunately there was a motorcycle police
officer near who was writing a citation. He was reluctant at first to take a report but I pestered him until he did. I was out of work for two months with a gash in my right calf from the lower corner of the door. I was also fortunate that a riding buddy was with me. After two infections from wrong advice from ER Physicians at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, I almost lost my leg (another story). But lucky me a good plastic surgeon was in the ER the second round and debreeded the dead flesh and I eventually received a skin graf. The leg is fine except the scar. My auto insurance "uninsured motorist" covered it and I basically broke even after attorney fees, med bills etc... In today's world having large coverage is an excellent idea and I think most people will be surprised how little it costs to up your limits. It may vary by state, but it's well worth it.

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I wish I could get good insurance here (in Japan). since I don't have a car, I've been told I can't get bicycle-related insurance. I need to do some digging.

I'm in negotiations now with the insurance company of the girl that tried to turn in front of me in June, and I'm starting to wonder if I need a lawyer.

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIra

There is a lot to be said for no-fault insurance. Some say it's a racket, all I know is that when I got treatment, I just had to bring my wife's auto insurance info with me and not worry about the bills.

October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChamps

Ordered. Sounds like there some thoughtful ideas in there, and some things to check out. Thanks for the heads-up.

October 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbystander

The driver leaves the scene and there is no one to make a claim against.

If you have been involved in a car accident, you have the right to file for a compensation claim.I came to about a best compensation claim service which assures you that they will do their best to get you the best compensation for the accident you have been involved in. Thier no win no fee policy means that you do not have to pay them anything if they do not win the case for you!

No Win No Fee

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersameena2010

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