You may think, as a cyclist, if your bicycle is not listed under your automobile insurance policy then there is no insurance coverage for you while you ride. This is not true!
In many automobile vs. bicycle accidents, wherein a cyclist sustains bodily injury, the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) provisions of an automobile insurance policy may provide bodily injury coverage, if the cyclist was struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Here are some important statistics on UM/UIM coverages:
- Approximately 15% of drivers in California are uninsured.
- California requires drivers to only carry minimal policy limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, on their automobile liability policy.
- Over 80% of cyclists represented by Bike Legal incurred at least $30,000 (often times, it is significantly more) in medical expenses.However, over 50% of our clients had $25,000 or less in Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Here are two case studies that help illustrate the importance of UM/UIM coverage:
Case A: Uninsured Motorist
In this case, our client was riding his bicycle in Los Angeles and was hit by an older vehicle. The driver did not have automobile liability insurance coverage. The client suffered very serious injuries and had significant medical expenses. Fortunately, our client had $250,000 in Uninsured Motorist coverage.
We were successful in negotiating for the client and ultimately got his insurance company to tender the Uninsured Motorist bodily injury policy limit.
Case B: Underinsured Motorist
In this case, our client was hit by a car while participating in a group ride in Southern California. Our client suffered severe injuries and incurred over $125,000 in medical expenses. The motorist responsible for the collision only had $15,000 in bodily injury coverage, but our client had $500,000 in Underinsured Motorist insurance coverage.
Within 30 days of representing the client, we settled the defendant’s underlying $15,000 minimum policy, and eventually got our client’s insurance carrier to tender the entire Underinsured Motorist policy limit. Without this Underinsured Motorist coverage, our client would have never been made whole, because the driver was essentially judgment-proof.
Your UM/UIM coverage is just as important as the purchase of your bicycle. Please take the time to review your insurance coverages as soon as possible. The best part about UM/UIM coverage is that it is relatively cheap to obtain.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a cycling accident in Southern California and Northern California, please call us and to speak to one of our cycling attorneys. Our bike accident lawyers have over 10 years of experience in handling cycling cases and are ready to help you.
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