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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Although most people expect their auto insurance to cover damage to their vehicles, they may not realize that insurance may be able to cover more than auto claims. Depending on the coverage that you have, your insurance may be able to provide assistance to you if you’re injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist. Your insurance will also pay for damages and injuries that you may cause to another person traveling on a bicycle. If you’re a bicyclist or spend a lot of time in areas where bicycle commuters are prevalent, it’s a good idea to understand how your auto insurance interacts with bicycles.
What if I Hit Someone on a Bike?
Accidents between vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists can be scary for the driver and devastating for the person who is hit. Fortunately, most accidents between vehicles and bicycles occur at low speeds and cause relatively minor injuries. When an impact occurs, the vehicle’s driver is not always at fault; bicyclists may be responsible for causing an auto accident by failing to yield or even colliding with an automobile that’s stopped or parked.
If the insured driver is at fault for the accident, the bicyclist’s injuries will be covered by the driver’s liability insurance. The insurance company will also pay to repair or replace the bicycle as well as replacing damaged protective gear like helmets or pads. If the driver is not at fault for the collision, the claim will be denied and the bicyclist will not be able to recover for injuries or damages.
Will Insurance Cover Me if I’m Hit While Riding a Bike?
If you’re the one hit as a bicyclist, your auto insurance may cover for your injuries regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Auto insurance policies that include personal injury protection or medical payments coverage will pay for injuries sustained by pedestrians and bicyclists as long as they are listed on the policy. This means that, in addition to the policyholder, all listed drivers and resident relatives of the policyholder are protected under this coverage.
If you are not at fault for the accident, you can also recover for injuries from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. Their liability insurance will also cover the damage to your bicycle and protective gear. If you are at fault, your own auto insurance will not cover the damage to your bicycle. You would need to file a claim on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to have damage to the bicycle covered.
Will Insurance Cover Other Types of Bike Injuries?
Although personal injury protection coverage will pay for injuries sustained as a bicyclist when involved in an auto accident, it does not extend to other types of bicycling injuries. If you are injured by anything other than a motor vehicle while bicycling, you cannot claim these injuries under your insurance.
What if My Bike is Stolen from My Car?
Some people have bicycle rack permanently installed on their vehicles as a method of transporting their bikes. These racks may be placed on the roof of the car or the rear hatch or trunk area, making them easily accessible to thieves and vandals. Unfortunately, damage or theft caused to these racks or the bicycles themselves is not covered under your auto insurance policy.
In order to be covered under the auto insurance, an item needs to be factory-installed and standard with that model of vehicle. In some situations, such as sound systems, additional coverage can be purchased to cover after-market additions made to the vehicle. This would only cover the rack itself, however, and not any bicycles stored on it.
If a bicycle is stolen from your vehicle, you would need to file the claim against your homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance cover all of your possessions no matter where they are at the time of the loss. Depending on the coverage that you carry and the value of your bike, it may or may not be worthwhile to pursue a homeowner’s claim for this situation.
On the other hand, if the thieves damage your car while attempting to remove the bike rack, the damage to the car will be paid under your auto insurance. For example, scratches to the paint, dents or broken glass would be covered under the auto insurance as long as you have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle.
If you are a serious bicyclist, your bike may be worth a substantial sum of money. Be sure to check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier to see how much the bicycle is covered for and if there are any limitations on the coverage. Depending on the situation, it may be a wise idea to purchase additional homeowner’s protection or other types of coverage for the bicycle since you cannot rely on your auto insurance to cover this type of loss.