With the recent rash of accidents involving our members and motor vehicles, I was compelled to share some secrets with you that may a lay person may not know.
I am not an attorney, but I have been handling casualty claims for over 35 years. Please do not construe this information as legal advice. The following information is based on typical California ISO form insurance policies. You should review your own insurance policies to determine what coverage you may have and where you may be lacking.
Say you are just riding down the road and are hit by a vehicle that has violated your space. The driver stayed at the scene; you were not at fault and they have adequate liability insurance to cover you for the damage to your bicycle as well as your injuries. You have adequate health insurance to pay for your medical bills until such time as you settle your injury claims with the driver’s insurance company. Great!
The problem is sometimes it does not go so easy. Sometimes the other driver has no insurance or they have inadequate insurance to cover all of the risks involved. Sometimes the automobile insurance carrier takes too long to make a decision and here you sit with a damaged or destroyed bicycle. Is there somewhere else you can look for assistance? Yes!
If you have homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, you may have coverage for the damage to your bicycle. Most insurance policies have similar wording such as: “We cover accidental direct physical loss to property described in Coverage__ Personal Property caused by a peril listed below except as limited or excluded:
Vehicles, meaning impact by, or with, or upset of, a vehicle.” (Emphasis added)
What this means to you is if your bicycle is damaged by a vehicle, it may be covered by your own insurance! What you should also check your policy for is whether you carry coverage for Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value.
Ok, so you now have coverage for your bicycle (you can go through your Homeowners’ carrier whether you are at fault or not and whether the other vehicle is insured or not. It is coverage you pay for).
What about your medical bills? If you are a member of Fresno Cycling Club, there is supplemental medical insurance that covers what your health insurance does not pay (deductibles, co-payments, etc.) up to $10,000, but only if you are on a scheduled club ride. (Another great reason to be an FCC member).
Another scenario is you were hit by a vehicle that either was uninsured or underinsured to cover you for all of the damages you suffered. Do you own a vehicle that has Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage? If so, you may be in luck! Your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage should cover you up to your per-person policy limits for your injuries and medical expenses. If the other vehicle is underinsured and your underinsured limits are higher than theirs, you could be entitled to the difference between their limits and yours. This means you should look at your policy limits! If you carry low limits, you might want to raise them before something bad happens!
The final scenario is you were hit by a car, you did nothing wrong and the vehicle took off without leaving any information (hit and run). You could also be covered for that! Your Homeowners’ coverage should cover the damage to the bicycle and your Automobile coverage should cover you under the Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage.
If you want insurance to cover your bicycle for “all risk” type coverage, check with your insurance agent about scheduling it on a Personal Articles Floater. This insurance can get pricey, but it will extend coverage to cover you for additional risks other than theft or damage by a vehicle accident.
I hope this information helps. Again, you need to read your own insurance policies to determine the coverages and policy limits you carry.
SCLA, AIC, CLCS