Required Insurance for Cyclists
Nowadays, I enjoy keeping my legal cap in the closet. But my law degree and 10 years of trial litigation experience often do come in handy in the business world and in personal matters.
After representing hundreds of clients and reading through hundreds of insurance policies, I've concluded that THE MOST IMPORTANT provision in your auto-insurance policy is the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Not all policies have it, so check yours immediately to find out if you do (it may be abbreviated as UM/UIM). Why is it so important and what's the connection to cycling?
Think of it this way: 50% of the drivers on the highway either have no insurance or state minimums--which are tiny ($15K to $20K in most states). Now let's say you are driving your CAR and someone runs a red light and smashes into you...totally their fault...and you break your arm or have some other significant injuries. If they don't have any auto-insurance or very little auto-insurance, are you able to collect money for your injuries, lost time from work, and medical bills? Yes, but only if you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage on your own policy.
UM/UIM coverage from your own policy kicks in when the guy who hit you either has no insurance or not enough. Since you have no control over who hits you, have no control over whether someone else has adequate insurance, and since half of all drivers are inadequately insured, why not make sure that you are covered in this likely scenario?
Now, let's say the same accident scenario happens as described above, except you are riding your bike rather than driving your car.
If you take out a UM/UIM policy on one of your cars, it will likely also cover you on your BICYCLE. Yep, that's right. Check with your insurance agent, but for those of you who ride your bike a lot, you know that auto vs. bike accidents occur more frequently than we would like. It does give me some comfort knowing that if someone mows me down, I do have some financial protections in place. And, I don't even have to pay extra for the cycling protection.
Best of all, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists coverage is VERY inexpensive. I max out on my auto-policy with 500K of coverage and I believe the UM/UIM portion costs me around $30 per year...that's a no-brainer.
Of course, don't forget your helmet.