How Your Auto Policy Can Protect You When You Are Riding Your Bike
Too often I handle bike cases where there is just not enough insurance coverage. The minimum required coverage in Texas is $30k, and if you are hit by a car while riding your bike, your losses could be way more than that. More than 15% of drivers in Texas have no liability insurance, and the rate in Dallas is even higher.
So you as a cyclist must protect yourself. The best way to do that is through your auto policy. If you are hit while riding your bike, your auto policy can protect you. You don’t have to be in your car, all that is required is an impact with a car in order for there to be coverage.
Under your auto policy, the coverages that are involved are “Uninsured/Under Insured Motorist” (“UM”) and Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”). UM insurance comes into play if the driver that hits you does not have liability insurance or does not have enough (where your damages are more than the negligent driver’s liability insurance). PIP is not as important as UM coverage, but you still should have it. It can pay for deductibles and other miscellaneous expenses like lost wages. PIP is a no-fault type of coverage. If you were to hit a parked car (your fault), you could collect under PIP.
How much UM coverage should you have? First, your UM limits should be as high as your liability limits. They can’t be higher. If your liability limits are 100k, and your UM limits are 30k, well that’s not good. You need to increase the UM limits to 100k.
But is 100k enough? Hopefully you never have to find out. I suggest you consider raising your liability and UM as high as possible. It won’t cost much to increase the coverage substantially. That is because the increase in premiums is not proportional to the increase in insurance. No need to go into the economics here.
Get a copy of your “dec sheet.” It is a single page that your auto insurer provides you with the various amounts of coverage and how much it costs you. Then call your insurance agent/company, and chat about increasing the UM and PIP coverage.
I deal with these issues every day. I run into the issue of a “lack of coverage” in a lot of cases, but especially in cycling accident cases. So protect yourself. It doesn’t cost that much.
If you have any questions, contact me or call me.