What you do before “it” happens is just as important as what you do after “it” happens.
First, INSURE YOURSELF via auto, health and property damage policies. Here’s why:
- The person that hit you might not have any liability insurance. (This is more common than you’d think. Statewide, about 15% of drivers have no insurance. Dallas leads the State in the number of uninsured drivers.).
- The person that hit you might not have enough insurance. (The minimum liability limits in Texas are $30,000, and 2 days in the hospital will eat that up.)
- The insurance company for the person that hit you isn’t going to pay for your medical treatment up front or on an ongoing basis.
Auto Insurance: If the other driver does not have liability or enough liability insurance, you should have Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverages under your auto policy. You don’t have to be in your car to be covered by your auto insurance, you just have to be hit by a vehicle.
Get as much UM coverage as you can afford. You will be surprised at the minimal increase of premiums for increasing coverage. (Note: your UM limits cannot be higher than your liability limits.)
If you don’t own a car and ride your bike everywhere, you need this coverage probably more than anyone and you can get it cheap. Call up an insurance agent, and ask them about “non-owners” coverage.
Bicycle Accident Insurance Policy: Many individuals across the country have sworn off of automotive vehicles for the time being and solely use bicycles in order to get from point A to point B within their hometown or city. This means of transportation is great for the environment, the body and, of course, the wallet. However, riding a bicycle amongst streets filled with large, heavy vehicles can be a dangerous endeavor. In fact, it can be downright deadly in some conditions. If you are in an accident while riding in a car or truck, chances are quite high you can survive the impact. On a bike, unfortunately, those chances are drastically reduced.
An accident insurance policy may not save your life but it can help drastically with the medical bills and rehabilitation fees that stem from a single accident. Pain medication alone can be quite costly on a per month basis. Health insurance may cover most of your medical bills, but accident insurance takes your coverage a step further by ignoring the type of injury or disability and covering the incident entirely.
Bicycle Accident Insurance Coverage: If you happen to have accident insurance covering your well-being while riding a bike, then chances are quite high that you are covered for almost any type of injury, no matter the cause or severity. Bicycle accident coverage, much like car coverage, will take care of an injury due to any type of an accident while riding a bike. However, it has been found to be difficult to receive full coverage in some states across the country. Many insurance companies will not offer insurance coverage for those who only own a bicycle and not an automotive vehicle, which is an unfortunate turn of events for those seeking healthier transportation options in today’s modern world.
The League of American Bicyclists are currently fighting to ensure riders can receive full coverage through an insurance plan, which is a step in the right direction. You can call up an insurance provider and ask about “non-owners” coverage if you do not own a vehicle but use a bike as your sole means of transportation. The agent can then walk you through the entire process.
Health Insurance: The insurance for the person who ran into you will not pay for your medical treatment on an ongoing basis, but only after you settle your personal injury claim. So hopefully you have health insurance. If you do, use it. If you don’t, then we can get you the medical care you need that is paid back upon the successful resolution of your claim.
Property Damage/Cycling Insurance: Assuming the other driver has liability insurance, the damage to your bike, helmet, glasses, etc. would be paid under the “liability” part of the policy. But if the driver that hit you has no insurance coverage, then it gets tricky. Under the UM portion of your auto policy, the damage to your bicycle is probably not covered. You could then turn to your homeowner’s policy, but there is usually a deductible that is quite high.
An option to consider is specific “bike insurance” such as Velosurance. It provides coverage for the damage to your bike, not only from car accidents, but from any accidental damages, like crashes in bike races. (You can also get medical coverage from Velosurance as well.)
Bottom line: Make sure you have ample Uninsured Motorist and PIP coverages under your auto policy, even if you have health insurance.