What Type of Insurance Will Cover My California Bicycle Accident Claim?
Choosing to ride a bicycle for recreation or as a means to get to where you need to go can improve your health while also reducing your carbon footprint. Many people in Los Angeles are opting to ride their bicycles for fun and for transportation. If you regularly ride your bicycle, it is likely that you will have an accident at some point in time. You could be hit by a car, collide with another cyclist, run into a fixed object, or have a crash with a pedestrian. Whatever the circumstances might be, you may wonder whether insurance will cover your injuries in an accident. Here is what you need to know about insurance and an accident claim.Types of Insurance That Might Cover a Bicycle Accident Claim
Several types of insurance might cover your accident claim for a bicycle collision, including the following:
- The at-fault driver's insurance when a motorist hits a bicyclist
- The bicyclist's auto insurance
- UIM/UM policy
- Medical payments coverage
- Personal health insurance
- Bicycle insurance
- Homeowner's or renter's insurance
- Disability insurance
We will discuss each of these different types of policies and the situations in which they might cover your expenses in a cycling accident.The at-Fault Party's Automobile Insurance Policy
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 783 bicyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles in 2017. The editor of Biking in LA tallies each time a cyclist is killed in a crash with a motor vehicle in the state. In 2017, he found that 62 cyclists were killed on Southern Californian roads, and 26 of the people who died were in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is particularly dangerous for cyclists because of the sheer number of motorists on the streets and the lack of availability of bicycle lanes.
In situations in which a motorist is at fault in a collision with a cyclist, the cyclist may be able to recover compensation from the motorist's insurance policy. Injured bicyclists or the families of cyclists who are killed in accidents caused by at-fault drivers may recover compensation from the drivers' valid insurance policies.
In the state, all drivers are required to carry automobile insurance with at least the state-mandated minimum requirements. The minimum mandatory liability insurance requirements include the following:
- $15,000 for one injured person
- $30,000 total per accident for two or more people who are injured
- $5,000 in property damage
When drivers only have the minimum policy amounts, cyclists may need to rely on other types of coverage if their losses exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver's insurance coverage.Coverage for Hit-and-Run Accidents
As we have previously explained, hit-and-run accidents in LA are a real problem. In the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012, 5,600 cyclists in LA were killed in hit-and-run accidents. Hit-and-run accidents with bicycles may never be solved. This is a real problem for injured people who need insurance to pay for their medical expenses. The first thing that you should check if you have been injured in a hit-and-run bicycle accident is your own automobile policy. If you have medical payments coverage, it may cover from $5,000 to $10,000 of your medical expenses. Uninsured motorists coverage may cover your losses up to its policy limits.Collisions When the Drivers Are Uninsured or Are Underinsured
Despite the mandatory minimum liability insurance requirement, some drivers let their insurance lapse and are uninsured when they cause collisions. Others may only carry the minimum liability amounts that are required by the state. As we have previously discussed, being injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can be a real problem, but you do have some recourse.
Under Cal. Ins. Code § 11580.2 requires every auto insurance policy to have an endorsement of uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage applies in situations in which an at-fault driver has no insurance. If you are struck by a driver who is underinsured, underinsured motorists coverage may apply. In that situation, the at-fault driver's policy would provide coverage up to the policy limits. Your UIM coverage would then kick in to pay for your losses that exceed the at-fault driver's policy limits up to your own UIM coverage limits.
Most insurance policies also have medical payments coverage. This type of coverage will pay for your medical expenses up to a certain limit. Many policies have low medical payments coverage limits ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, meaning you might have to rely on other types of insurance to cover your medical costs if they exceed that amount.Personal Health Insurance
If you do not have enough coverage for your medical expenses from the previously described sources, you can use your personal health insurance to cover your medical bills. Your personal health insurance should cover your medical costs subject to the terms of your coverage such as the payment of copays and deductibles. Many people rely on their personal health insurance to help to cover their medical costs while their injury claims are pending.Bicycle Insurance
Insurance companies are aware of the risks involved with bicycle accidents and the coverage needs of cyclists. As a result, many companies are now offering insurance policies that are specific to cyclists and their bicycles. These policies offer coverage for everything from theft and property damage to bodily injury.
For example, Markel Insurance offers bicycle policies that provide the following types of coverage:
- Theft or damage
- Coverage for spare parts and accessories
- Replacement cost coverage
- Transit protection
- Bicycle liability protection
- Vehicle contact protection
- Medical payments coverage
Velosurance is another company that offers bicycle policies. Velosurance offers theft protection, full value coverage, damage coverage, medical coverage, liability coverage, and other types of coverage for bicycles and cyclists.
Getting bicycle insurance is a good idea even though it is not required. It can help to cover your losses if you have an accident, and it may pay to replace your bicycle if it is damaged beyond repair or is stolen.Homeowner's Insurance or Renter's Insurance
You should also check your homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance policy. Some of these policies cover theft or damage to your bicycle when it is caused by third parties. Your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy may also cover bodily injury, depending on the terms that are laid out in your policy.Disability Insurance
If you have a short- or long-term disability policy through your job or as a standalone policy, your insurance may replace your income up to your policy's limit amount when you are injured in an accident. This type of coverage replaces a percentage of your income losses during periods of time that you are unable to work.Consult With an Experienced Attorney
If you have been injured in a bicycle crash, you may have several potential sources of recovery. It is a good idea for you to consult with an experienced bike accident lawyer for help with coverage of your injuries. An attorney can analyze liability in your bicycle accident claim as well as any insurance coverage issues that you might have. Call the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat today to schedule a free assessment with a lawyer at 866.966.5240.Sources
- Bicycle Safety
- Tally finds 26 people died while riding bikes last year in Los Angeles 43
- Liability Coverage and California Law
- Making sense of the insurance coverage issues for cyclists
- Uninsured Motorist Attorney Los Angeles
- § 11580.2. Uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage; underinsured motorist coverage
- Bicycle insurance coverages
- Are Bikes Covered by Home Insurance?