It is important to consider the financial and health implications of riding a bicycle. Roads can be incredibly dangerous, and often cyclists find themselves having minor or major incidents involving vehicle collisions. While falling off a bike isn’t always life-changing, there are times when medical treatment is required, meaning there are costs involved that someone has to pay.
Are You Financially Protected When You Are Riding?
When we purchase a car or a motorbike, insurance is a topic that is investigated and discussed upon purchase. After all, it’s important to be protected on the road, regardless of how or where we travel. But for cyclists, it’s not well known as to how certain insurance policies apply. Cyclists still very much use the road and are just as at risk of an accident as anyone else. Having an insurance policy that covers any unfortunate event while out riding is very important.
One saddening example of an incident in recent history is The Kalamazoo Tragedy. This terrible event was caused by reckless driving and killed five cyclists, seriously injuring a further four. The car driver may or may not have had coverage built into his motor insurance to pay out to the families. If he didn’t, it would be up to the cyclist's own insurance to cover damage and loss. This is an added burden to an already stressful situation.
The problem that many riders face if hit by a vehicle when they are cycling, is that any payments for injuries or losses are covered by the driver’s insurance policy. Looking at drivers insurance policies in the U.S., 85% of drivers have minimal coverage and in California, that minimum is only $15,000. Any treatments or losses that exceed this amount will not be covered. This means that if a cyclist is hit by a car, he or she will likely only receive a maximum amount of $15,000 which is rarely enough to pay the associated bills or trauma.
The more disturbingpart is that 12% of American motorists are driving around uninsured. This is, of course, completely illegal, and has a serious consequence for anyone they have an accident with. In 2012, the uninsured motorist claims tallied up to $2.6 billion. So, how can you better protect yourself as a cyclist?
Coverage to Protect You and Your Family
Given the predicament that cyclists can potentially find themselves in when involved in a collision with a vehicle, there are 2 solutions that we recommend. UM/UIM coverage and MedPay can help avoid making a tragic incident worse than it needs to be.
1. UM/UIM Coverage for California Cyclists
What is it?
UM/UIM stands for Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist and will, as the name suggests, cover you in the case that you are in an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have adequate insurance.
How does it work?
If a driver has a minimum coverage policy of $15k, any expenses that are incurred by the cyclist can be covered by their UM/UIM policy. There is minimal coverage on the UM/UIM usually of $15,000 or
$25,000 which can make things more difficult if faced with a completely uninsured driver, but premiums can be increased to match the desired coverage.
So for example, a cyclist can increase their coverage to $100,000, but if they do have an accident, they can claim the first $15,000 from the motorists insurance first, and claim the other $85,000 from their UM/UIM policy.
2. MedPay Coverage
The next kind of insurance that is important for you to be aware of as a cyclist is MedPay Coverage.
What is it?
Medpay coverage can be added to motor insurance and will cover a cyclist in any form of a road accident. This includes bodily injury coverage which is often limited to other policies and this is designed to fill the gaps in payments while legal logistics are being worked out.
How does it work?
Medpay premiums are paid every month. It’s designed as a broad coverage policy for all elements of an accident or injury such as ambulance bills, dental care, and physiotherapy. Medical professionals should be given details of the Medpay policy as soon as an accident or injury has occurred to prevent bills from stacking up. This will also help for better co-ordination between the insurer and medical provider.
Premiums for Medpay can be very low from only $5 per month making it accessible to everybody. It has a broad spectrum of payout options, from immediate emergency treatments to longstanding community care payments. It also covers funeral costs. Medpay has more of a focus on bodily injury cover, something which may not be as prominent in similar insurance policies. There is also the option of adding Personal Injury Protection which can branch out into further areas such as childcare costs and loss of income due to the accident.
Peace of Mind for Cyclists
There is peace of mind in knowing that coverage is available for cyclists. This decreases the vulnerability of riders and their families when involved in a collision or accident. While most drivers are insured, this insurance often doesn’t provide adequate coverage for an injured cyclist’s medical bills, let alone equipment costs, loss of income, and family support. It is important to take control of this by choosing a policy, or policies, that will ensure protection during an accident and which reflects the needs of a cyclist’s family. If the worst happens, it is good to know that the remaining family will have certain bills paid to reduce the financial pressures.
If you have been in a cycling accident and need legal representation, it’s in your best interest have legal representation from an attorney who knows bike laws. Bike Legal is dedicated to winning cycling and personal injury cases for over 35 years. We have pioneered a new technique that has changed the way cases are won. Contact us for a complimentary consultation at (800) 449-4850 or online.