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Can car insurance provide coverage for your bicycle accident? Usually yes.
Most people are surprised to learn that certain insurance may apply to them when they are riding their bicycle. If you are riding your bicycle and are hit by a vehicle, and the driver is at fault, his or her car insurance should provide coverage to you for your injuries. But what happens when the driver doesn't have any insurance, or doesn't have enough to cover your injuries?
Driver has no insurance:Under this circumstance, your own uninsured motorist (from your car policy) may apply to cover the damages if the other driver was uninsured. The Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance Defines Uninsured Motorist Coverage as: “Uninsured motorists (UM) coverage applies to bodily injury you, your family, and other occupants of your vehicle incur when hit by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver. It also covers you and your family if injured as a pedestrian when struck by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver. It protects you by making sure that money is available to pay for your losses that were caused by someone else. There is a minium amount of coverage. Get a copy of your policy to check your own limits. You may want to purchase more than the minimum coverage required by law if you feel the need for more protection.
Driver has some insurance but not enough: Under this circumstance, your own underinsured motorist may apply to cover excess amounts that are not covered by the underinsured driver-up to the limits of your policy. The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance defines underinsured motorist as: “Underinsured motorists (UIM) coverage increases the bodily injury protection to you and the people in your car up to the amount of coverage you purchase if the at-fault driver's insurance does not cover your bodily injury losses. There are minimum amounts of coverage. Basic Example-You have $100,000 in medical bills and the driver who hit you only had $50,000 in insurance. You may be able to get the additional $50,000 from your own underinsured motorist carrier if you have this type of insurance and these limits.
Why should bicyclists have high limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage? Underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance is very important for bicyclists because of the amount of people driving around with no insurance, or not enough. Let’s imagine you are riding your bicycle and get hit by someone driving with $50,000 in insurance. Your medical bills are $500,000. What is likely to happen is the driver’s insurance company will pay you the $50,000 limit and you are now in the hole $450,000 less whatever you can collect from your own insurance company or the at fault driver. Oftentimes, drivers with no insurance or the minimum amounts have no assets to pay for your bills. Since it costs very little to increase the limits on your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, anyone who frequently rides on the roads should prepare for the worst by having the highest limits affordable.
Injured bicyclists used to be able to "stack" coverage. This meant that if a person paid for three separate car policies and was hit by an uninsured driver, the bicyclist could stack or combine the three policy limits to add them together. When Governor Walker was elected this law was changed. Therefore even if a bicyclist pays monthly premiums for three different policies, if the bicyclist is injured, they will likely only be able to actually use one of the policies. Compare this with life insurance. If a person buys three life insurance policies, all three can be collected. However since stacking was ended in Wisconsin recently, uninsured and underinsured motorist policies can no longer be combined. This is even more reason to purchase high limits of uninsured and underinsured coverage if you ride your bike a lot.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorists (UM) coverage applies to bodily injury you, your family, and other occupants of your vehicle incur when hit by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver. It also covers you and your family if injured as a bicyclist or pedestrian when struck by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver.
The minimum amount of coverage required by the law for policies newly issued or renewed on or after November 1, 2011, is $25,000 per person.
What is underinsured motorists coverage?
Underinsured motorists (UIM) coverage increases the bodily injury protection to you and the people in your car or on your bicycle up to the amount of coverage you purchase if the at-fault party's bodily injury liability insurance limits are lower than your UIM coverage limits.
For policies newly issued or renewed on or after November 1, 2011, underinsured motorist coverage is no longer mandatory. Notice of coverage availability is required with the delivery of the policy. Coverage may be rejected. However, if requested, minimum coverage limits of $50,000 per person are required.