Auto Insurance for Cyclists

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Things to remember...
  • Insurance needs should be addressed well before you hit the bike trail.
  • Car insurance will cover your cycling accident.
  • There are certain car insurance policy provisions that are of special importance to cyclists.
  • Consult your insurance agent, attorney or both to help fine-tune your coverage before your next ride.

As a cycling enthusiast, you probably run through a familiar checklist every time you’re about to hit the bike trail. You make sure of the following:

  • there’s enough air in your tires
  • your iPod is fully charged
  • your water bottle is full
  • your helmet is on tight
  • your jersey is weather-appropriate

But how many times have you thought to tick off other details like insurance? If you did, were you clear on what kind you needed or how much?

A moment’s thought would reveal that life, car, health, or disability insurance could all come into play in the event that something goes wrong.

Biking is a sport about leisure and freedom. No cyclist wants the thrill of the ride hampered by thoughts of possible disaster.

It’s all too tempting to throw caution to the wind and let the fates decide, but there’s always the possibility you’ll wish you hadn’t. Those are the times you need insurance.

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Are you covered?

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If you do have the misfortune of an unlucky ride, one of your first thoughts will probably be, “Will my insurance cover this?

The good news is, if you or the driver who hit you have car insurance, the answer is most likely “yes.” As long as the accident involves at least one motor vehicle, someone’s insurance company is required to pay for the following:

  • medical bills
  • damages
  • lost wages

When most people learn this answer, they wonder if they aren’t misunderstanding the information.

After all, it would seem that your car insurance has no reason to cover an accident that didn’t involve you and your own car, especially if you weren’t the one at fault. The reasoning behind this, though, is quite simple.

Not only does car insurance address damages you or your car sustain during an accident, it also covers any harm done to you and your car by another car. This coverage includes collisions occurring between you and a motorist while you are riding a bike or traveling on foot.

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PIP Coverage

Whether or not your bike is covered may be a different story, depending on what type of car insurance you have. If you want your bike damages paid for in the event of an accident, your best is Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance.

PIP is a comprehensive insurance policy that pays for a broad range of damages regardless of which motorist was at fault.

Due to its comprehensive nature, PIP is more expensive than other types of insurance. However, it may be worth getting, especially if you own a rare, expensive, or sentimentally valuable bike.

Be advised, though, that PIP-covered items vary by state. In some states, PIP will not only cover the cost of your bike damages, but it will also pay for acupuncture or cupping therapy to help you recover from your injuries.

Other states won’t cover these alternative therapies but will pay for you to get lawn care services while you’re injured.

PIP coverage was actually designed to discourage people from filing lawsuits. Because you can get paid regardless of who was at fault, there may be an unspoken expectation that you will waive your right to sue.

In cases where the damage is catastrophic and you were not at fault, this may be undesirable if you feel entitled to more than what PIP will pay. Discuss this with your insurance agent before purchasing PIP insurance or filing a claim on it.

Medpay and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

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Your auto insurance policy includes provisions that protect you when you’re the one at fault in an accident. These provisions cover the cost of damages to the other person’s property. But there are two other provisions that are of special significance to cyclists.

These are Medpay coverage and UM coverage.

– Medpay

Medpay is short for “medical payment” and covers medical expenses for you and your passengers when you get into a car accident. It is obviously helpful if you’re at fault, but is also good to have when the other party is at fault.

With your own Medpay coverage, you can be paying your medical bills while you wait for the other party’s insurer to pay out, which can take several months.

Cyclists will be glad to know that Medpay is applicable for bike accidents that involve a car. Although your health insurance will cover many of your medical expenses, there are still co-pays and deductibles that must be paid, and Medpay can help with these.

For this reason, it is advantageous for cyclists to get Medpay added to their auto insurance policies.

– Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist coverage is a safety net in cases where the driver at fault for your accident has no insurance coverage, inadequate insurance coverage or can’t be located.

It is most associated with hit-and-run accidents, including those involving a motorist and a cyclist. In fact, the hit and run need not necessarily involve a “hit.”

Uninsured Motorist coverage is applicable in cases where you crashed because you swerved and successfully avoided a car that has moved into your path unlawfully.

Tune Up Your Insurance Today

We all need to be prepared in case the worst happens. If you fear your current car insurance coverage may not be adequate in the event of a cycling accident, now is as good a day as any to start browsing insurance quotes. By the time you need the insurance, it is often too late.

Every accident case is unique, which means every insurance claim will be unique.

Not only is there the question about who’s at fault and to what degree, but there is also the matter of what policies and provisions are available and how much they will pay out for a claim.

Contact your insurance agent and your attorney to help you navigate the intricacies of PIP, Medpay, and UM coverage and how may help you in the case of a future accident.

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