Bicycle accidents are becoming frequent as cycling increases in popularity. As more bicycles take to the road, the state fails to build cycling infrastructure which causes thousands of collision accidents in the US. Auto insurance covers bicycle-related accidents if the cyclist is hit by a car. The cyclists may be protected by their personal health insurance or they can also purchase cyclist insurance that includes liability costs through their current homeowner policy.
So, does auto insurance cover bicycle accidents? Yes, auto insurance will cover the injured cyclist’s damages by drawing from the auto insurance liability converge. If the car driver is at fault, their insurance company will compensate the bicyclist for medical expenses and bike repairs. If the cyclist is at fault in the accident, their own auto insurance liability will bear the cost of the damage caused to the car driver. In both cases, the other side will be protected by the insurance of the party at fault.
The primary concern we have after a cycling accident is whether the damage will be covered and which party is going to pay for the medical expenses. Usually, there are medical bills and vehicle repairs to be carried out. If you take into account that bicycles these days can cost thousands of dollars, the cost can be a major concern. This guide will focus on bicycle accidents and how auto insurance handles them.
The injured person will be covered for medical expenses up to the policy limits and if the case is taken to court, the insurance company will also pay for the lawyer’s defense fees. When you get involved in a bike accident, you must write down the insurance information of the other person because you need their policy number to file a claim.
Auto Insurance and Bicycle Accidents
Auto insurance companies differ in their policies for bicycle accidents. In some cases, you may not be covered. Each accident is judged on an individual basis and you have to know if you meet the criteria to receive a payout and compensate the other party if you were at fault. The following criteria have to be met in order to file a successful bicycle accident claim:
- The accident must involve at least one motor vehicle. The bicycle is not considered a motor vehicle unless it is an electric bicycle with a motor. Your auto coverage only applies if you or the other party were driving a motor vehicle during the accident. This could be an e-bike, ATV, motorcycle, car, truck, or any other motor vehicle. If both of you were driving bicycles, the insurance company will not cover you for the accident.
- Medical payments have to be included in your auto insurance policy. Check whether you have personal injury protection listed as a policy on your auto insurance. This is essential if you want to be able to pay off the medical expenses of the person you injured. These medical payments will be capped at a certain amount, but it’s possible to raise the limits by consulting your insurance provider.
Most Common Bicycle Injuries
Bicycle injuries can kill a person or leave them disabled. Accidents that involve motor vehicles and bicycles tend to be very severe because the cyclist does not have enough protection and they are fully exposed on the road. This means that they’re more vulnerable and it takes less to injure a cyclist. The most common bicycle accident injuries are head/neck injuries, brain concussions, spinal injuries, broken bones, hip injuries, and bruises.
Car drivers get away with very minor injuries or don’t sustain any injuries at all. This is because they have physical protections and the impact a bicycle has on a car is minimal. In almost all cases involving a motor vehicle and a bicycle, the cyclists suffers more injuries. These catastrophic injuries tend to require extensive medical care and long-term rehabilitation before making a full recovery. The injured cyclist can face a lot of financial distress during and after their recovery. Many cyclists are incapable of working and may not be able to return to the workforce at all.
Will The Driver Or The Cyclist Pay?
Regardless of who was at fault in the accident, someone has to bear the cost of the medical expenses and/or repairs if there were minor injuries. The cost always falls on the insurance company of the person who was at fault. Here are two possible scenarios:
Driver At Fault
If the motor vehicle driver is at fault in the accident, they will have to compensate the cyclist for all medical expenses and repairs to the bike. The auto insurance of the driver taps into their liability insurance fund (which can provide $1-2M in coverage) and this pays for the cyclist’s medical expenses. There are certain policy limits and drivers are usually entitled to a maximum of 2 claims per year. If the cyclist doesn’t want to make a claim with the car driver’s insurance company, they can also pay from their own insurance.
Cyclist At Fault
If the cyclist is at fault in the accident, they must have auto insurance to be compensated for the damages. However, an auto insurance policy is only valid if the cyclist also has additional coverage such as personal injury protection (PIP) or medical coverage listed in their policy. These policies tend to be limited to sums such as $100,000 and the remaining costs are paid out of pocket.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Bicycle Accidents
What happens if the car driver is uninsured and injures a cyclist? In this case, the cyclist may have their own uninsured motorist coverage protection on their auto insurance plan. They will still be reimbursed for the damages. The opposite applies if the cyclist is at fault and doesn’t have auto insurance – the car driver will draw from their uninsured motorist protection coverage.
Note: Most auto insurance plans come with uninsured motorist protection, but people reject them to lower their premiums. Make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage because more than 13% of all drivers in the US are not insured.