Larson News

Insurance Coverage for Bicycle Riders

In a perfect world, we all ride on routes that are vehicular traffic free.  Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world, and bicycle riders tend to incur severe injuries and high medical bills when involved in roadway accidents.  If you have not yet considered how you will pay your medical expenses if you are injured in a bicycle accident, let a personal injury attorney and fellow rider give you some advice.  Even with the best health insurance coverage, there is usually a deductible and/or a co-payment that you will be responsible for paying.  These can add up to a significant amount of out of pocket expense to you with extended medical treatment.  If you have no health insurance, medical bills can quickly become staggering to a family income.

What many people do not realize is that your automobile insurance policy may provide additional coverage to you while on your bicycle.  All automobile policies issued in Missouri provide coverage not only to the named insured, but also to their spouse, and any family members residing in the same household.  Accordingly, almost all bicycle riders will have access to automobile insurance coverage in their household.  Knowing this, you want to make sure you add the appropriate optional coverages to your automobile policy so that you can take advantage of those if the need arises. 

The first type of automobile insurance that may provide coverage for a bicyclist is called medical payments coverage.  Often called med-pay, this is optional coverage that can be purchased in conjunction with your automobile insurance policy, and it usually comes in increments of $1,000.00, $5,000.00, $10,000.00, and even $25,000.00.  This coverage generally will provide reimbursement to you, or any family member, for medical bills sustained if you are hit by a motor vehicle while on your bicycle, regardless of who is at fault, up to the limits of the medical payments coverage purchased.  This reimbursement comes in very handy when you are facing significant deductibles and co-payments, or if you have no health insurance.  Medical payments coverage is fairly inexpensive, but you have to ask your agent for it. 

It is also important for a bicyclist to consider purchasing both uninsured motorist coverage and under-insured motorist coverage to protect you in the event of a motor vehicle accident while on your bicycle.  In Missouri, uninsured coverage is mandatory in conjunction with purchasing liability coverage, while under-insured coverage is optional.  Uninsured coverage generally means that your insurance company will pay you if you get hit by an at-fault operator of an uninsured vehicle, while under-insured coverage often provides additional insurance if the at-fault operator who hit you does not have enough insurance to pay for your damages.  Of course, note that each insurance company defines these types of coverage a little differently, so my comments above are general, and you will want to discuss your specific coverage with your agent, and of course, read your insurance policy.

In Missouri, the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage required is $25,000.  Due to the cost of medical treatment and the likelihood that severe injuries can occur in a bicycle/vehicular accident, $25,000 carried by the negligent driver may not cover all of the medical expenses and other damages you incur.  Accordingly, it is my opinion that under-insured coverage is crucial coverage for bicyclists.  Most insurance companies will sell you under-insured coverage along with a primary liability policy in an amount up to $100,000.00, and some carriers will sell excess under-insured coverage in amounts exceeding that.  Like medical payments coverage, under-insured coverage is relatively inexpensive, and I recommend you buy it. 

Finally, what about your bike?  Despite what Lance Armstrong proclaimed, it is about the bike.  Nobody believes what he says anyway.  Some athletes invest tens of thousands of dollars in equipment.  I know many cyclists who are more concerned about their bike than their own well-being.  Fortunately, your homeowners insurance may protect your bike as well.  Most homeowner’s coverage picks up where automobile liability insurance coverage leaves off to protect a situation where your bike is damaged in an auto accident.  Normally, your homeowners coverage will go even further to protect your bike’s replacement costs against risks such as theft and vandalism.  It may even cover accidental damage, such as the bike wreck tie-down strap that was, unfortunately, not tied down.  Talk to your agent about your homeowner’s coverage and your bike. 

Medical payments, uninsured, and under-insured coverage are very important to a bicyclist involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.  Hopefully, you will never need to use this coverage, but I suspect you will be glad you have it if the day comes.  If you have any further questions about insurance coverage, or have family or friends who have questions about a vehicular collision where they were injured by the operator of a motor vehicle, always feel free to call Larson Law Firm, a [personal injury lawyer in Springfield, Mo](