Legally Speaking: One key insurance tip for cyclists

You’re out on your favorite training route. It’s a beautiful day, and you’ve had a great ride so far. You’re nearing your favorite refueling spot when the unthinkable happens — a driver hits you with a left cross, knocking you to the pavement. You’re banged up, but alive. Your bike is in worse condition. The driver apologizes profusely, swearing he didn’t see you. He feels terrible. Police arrive at the scene, and an ambulance is summoned.

A few days later, you call the driver’s insurance company to talk about your claim. And that’s when everything changes. While your injuries and losses are expected to hit the $75,000 mark, the driver is insured for a paltry $15,000. Who pays for the other $60,000?

If an insurance policy doesn’t pay, you do.

This scenario has played out many times. What initially seemed like a simple matter of filing a claim becomes a problem when the driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages. And that’s assuming the driver is insured. Suppose the driver is uninsured — there’s a pretty strong correlation between unsafe driving and uninsured drivers. Or suppose that after hitting you, the driver takes off. Now it’s a hit and run, and unless the driver is apprehended, you have no way to inquire about the driver’s insurance policy.

In this type of situation, you can’t rely on the driver or on “justice” — you have to take steps to protect yourself, and you have to do it now, before you’ve been hit. That’s where your insurance comes in. If you plan ahead, you can make sure that you’re still covered regardless of the driver’s insurance.

The most important type of coverage that cyclists should have, besides their own health insurance, is the UM/UIM coverage on their automobile insurance policy. Yep, that’s right, your auto policy provides protection for YOU in case you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, including a hit and run driver. This protection, called…

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