“BIKE INSURANCE” – is an interesting topic. I’m doing some research now. It’s a relatively new thing in the insurance world – a world in which things do not change very often… basically it’s a type of coverage to fill in for cyclists who don’t own cars.
Unfortunately the “Bike Insurance” policies I’ve seen do not begin to replace good Auto coverage. They don’t offer big enough policy limits. You can easily get $100,000 or $250,000 of Auto Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. You typically cannot coverage that high on Bike Insurance policies. But, this also depends on the type of insurance and the company you usually get it from – you can try this out if you wish to get the best insurance policies.
Cyclists often don’t understand how their AUTO policy can help them if they get whacked by a motorist. There are 2 coverages that often come into play:
– “Medical Payments” coverage [“MedPay] and
– Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage [“UM/UIM”]
== == == == ==
In OHIO, MedPay is like a mini health insurance policy within your auto policy. It only kicks if if you’re injured in a car crash… but you do NOT have to be INSIDE a car to get it. You can be hit by a car as a pedestrian, while you’re riding your horse, while you’re sitting at the bus stop or while you’re riding your bicycle. Any of those incidents can trigger the MedPay coverage of YOUR auto policy.
[These are OHIO rules- each state has its own insurance terms & conditions… some have “PIP” coverage- some are “No Fault” states – as always, CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS]
NOTE: –> ONLY NATIONWIDE INSURANCE IN OHIO REFUSES TO PAY THESE CLAIMS of BICYCLE RIDERS INJURED IN CAR CRASHES.
–> So DO NOT BUY Nationwide auto insurance if you ride your bike a lot in Ohio.
MedPay can be VERY useful for cyclists, like me, who have high deductible health insurance plans. If I go to the E/R I’ll likely pay the first several thousand $$ out of MY pocket.
If YOU are in that position b/c you got whacked by an idiot motorist you can find yourself in a real financial hole about 30 days down the road when the billing cycle kicks in. You may owe a $5,000+ deductible to the E/R that ran a CT and MRI and declared you OK. Or you may be out of work, losing income, and now getting calls from the hospital’s lawyers who want their money NOW. If the other driver is at fault you MAY get paid down the road, but the bills are due NOW.
Cyclists often don’t realize that they can tap into their own MedPay coverage to pay these bills up to your policy limits. Even if you can afford to pay out of pocket, you may want to avoid cash flow issues by using $$ from your MedPay.
The upside is the bills get paid now and it’s not your money.
The downside is that your auto insurer will be standing on the sidelines while you engage with the motorist’s insurer and then stand there with their hand out wanting you to pay them back at the end of the case.
Also standing there – with a hand out – will be your health insurer, again wanting 100 cents on the dollar for what it paid for your medical care.
As counsel representing an injured cyclist, part of my job is to negotiate these things at the back end of the case. We work to get the best possible settlement on the claim and then I have to deal with the insurers who want to take it away from you.
I just settled one today – settled a $56,000 lien for $42,000, which put an additional $14,000 or so in the client’s pocket.
It’s only fair – If I am your lawyer then YOU are paying ME to collect this $$ from the idiot driver’s insurance company- there would likely be NO money if you didn’t take the step of hiring me – so you are losing a chunk off the top in attorney fees and expenses.You are also taking all the risk.
Unfortunately the “Bike Insurance” plans that offer some MedPay do not offer higher deductibles like the auto companies do, according to a pedestrian accident lawyer whom you should absolutely contact in case you are in need of such a lawyer.
BEWARE OF THE MED PAY TRAP
Hospitals are wise to MedPay and always have the protection of a wrongful death lawyers from Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A.
, when any such case arises. They know that if a medical bill of, say, $10,000 gets sent to a health insurance company, the company’s negotiated rates will take that bill down considerably… often losing more than half. BUT, if they send a $10,000 bill to YOUR MED PAY then YOUR MED PAY might pay the whole thing… WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT…
Welllll… you DID consent… when you signed all those forms… you remember that right? Just before [or after] getting a shot of morphine…
NEVER GIVE THE HOSPITAL YOUR AUTO INSURANCE INFORMATION.
They’ll ask. Say NO THANK YOU… please bill my HEALTH INSURANCE ONLY.
I’ve had cases where $10,000 in MedPay the client needed to cover out of pocket bills was used up by an aggressive hospital!
So BEWARE fo the MedPay trap Hospitals & doctors might set for you… Just Say NO.
UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE – UM/UIM
UM/UIM comes into play when you are whacked by an idiot motorist who either does not have auto liability coverage, contrary to state law, or has insufficient coverage to pay your claim. Again, Bike Insurance companies offer up plans for folks who don’t own cars, but the limits do not match up to auto limits.
If you ride your bike a lot, and if you would be in a real bind if you got hit, were injured, couldn’t work, etc, then you should buy significant Auto UM coverage… $100,000, minimum – $250,000+ an umbrella for $1,000,000 if you have a lot to lose… the $1.0M umbrella is cheap – a few hundred bucks/year. But you have to carry more significant underlying limits.
Again, UM/UIM protects YOU if YOU are struck by a stupid motorist & hurt while riding your bike. [It does NOT help you if a DOG attacks you]. If you are involved in a HIT & RUN attack then your UM coverage can help. However, insurers tend to want to fight those a little harder.
Your STATE’s laws are critical here.
In Ohio you cannot “stack” your coverages. If you have three cars, and pay three premiums for three $500,000 UM policies you only get $500,000 of UM coverage. Across the Ohio River in Kentucky the rules are different and “stacking” is allowed. I have a case in Kentucky in which the client has three vehicles and three $500K UM policies. In KY we are able to stack those three $500,000 UM policies for a total of $1.5 million in coverage!
Sorry for the long boring INSURANCE post, but I’ve been reading a lot of policies and dealing with a lot of insurance coverage issues for a while here – and explaining coverage to a lot of clients – I thought folks who read this stuff my “enjoy” a diversion from the barrage of horrific crashes that have popped up in my posts recently…
So 4+ insurance policies are/can be triggered when the Idiot slams into you:
– The Idiot’s Auto Insurance
– Your Umbrella Insurance
– Your Homeowner’s Insurance
Wait, what? Your Homeowner’s?
Yea. Your HOMEOWNER’s policy provides property damage coverage for your BIKE when it is damaged or destroyed by an Idiot Motorist.
Often we find that for more expensive bikes we can get a better recovery for the client by taking the property damage claim through your HOMEOWNER’s policy rather than the Idiot Motorist’s auto policy. Your H/O policy typically has “replacement cost” coverage, which typically means they’ll buy you a new bike. However, the Idiot motorist doesn’t have to buy you a new bike, she/he only has to pay the “fair market value” your bike… which could be problematic on older bikes. I was able to get over $14,000 for a nice Cervelo that was destroyed in a nasty crash when an Idiot Motorist pulled his pickup truck out of a gas station and into the path of an oncoming 25+ mph training triathlete!
Oh, and your Homeowners policy? It also provides a defense for you if the Idiot Motorist claims YOU were at fault!
I’ve been in cases [and am in a BIG one now] in which my cyclist gets sued after a crash. We report the suit to the cyclist’s Homeowner’s insurer. That insurer retains a lawyer to defend the cyclist. I then file a counterclaim against the other side based on allegations that the idiot motorist was at fault. I work with the lawyer appointed by the H/O company. The Idiot Motorist then reports the fact that they’ve been sued to their Auto policy and a lawyer is appointed to defend the claims I am bringing… Two parties… Four Lawyers…
[Two Parties/Four Lawyers – That sounds like a cool name for a jazz tune… or maybe a goofy RomCom in which hilarity ensues … but I digress…]
So there you go – a Quick & Easy Primer on Insurance & Bicycling…
Thank you for coming to my TED TALK…
Tags: Bike Insurance, insurance, Medical Payments, MedPay, UM/UIM, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
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