What to do Before a Bicycle Accident
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 one.
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.
Health Insurance: The insurance for the person that ran into you will not being paying 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 might be able to make arrangements for you to receive medical care 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 “collision” 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” polices, which provide coverage for the damage to your bike, not only from car accidents, but from any accidental damages, like crashes in bike races or driving into your garage with the bike on the roof rack.. (You can also get medical coverage as well.)
Make sure you have ample Uninsured Motorist and PIP coverages under your auto policy, even if you have health insurance. The Velosurance is a nice option, but you might be able to make due if your bike is banged up.