Does Auto Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents?
Last Updated on September 12, 2020
Bicycles and vehicles share many of the same roads, but does car insurance cover bicycle accidents?
Many drivers are surprised to discover car insurance can cover bicycle accidents. In certain cases, car insurance can cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by accidents involving a car and a bicycle. However, if you simply crash your bicycle during a ride, then it’s unlikely your car insurance will cover your accident.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how auto insurance covers bicycle accidents.
Car Insurance Covers Crashes Involving Vehicles and Bicycles
It’s possible for car insurance to cover crashes involving a vehicle and a bicycle. However, if you are riding your bicycle and crash into a wall on your own, then car insurance will not cover you.
Let’s say you’re riding your bicycle when another driver turns into your lane. The other driver did not see you, and the other driver is 100% at fault. You fall off your bike and require hospital treatment. You miss work, and you have damage from emotional pain and suffering. In this situation, you can make a claim through the driver’s insurance company for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs. The other driver’s insurance company is required to pay any damages to make you whole again, up to the limits of their policy.
It’s also possible for your own insurance to cover you in this situation. If the other driver leaves the scene, for example, then you could make a claim through your own car insurance policy. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, then it covers hit-and-run situations like this – regardless of whether you were a pedestrian, driving a vehicle, or riding a bicycle during the accident.
Some states require medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, which functions similar to health insurance. If you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, then your auto insurance could cover your medical bills – regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Ultimately, as long as at least one of the vehicles involved in the accident is covered by insurance, it’s likely the bicycle accident is covered by insurance.
What Happens If I Hit Someone on a Bicycle?
It doesn’t matter if someone is riding a bike, an ATV, or a scooter: if you hit someone while driving your vehicle, then your car insurance should cover the cost of the incident – assuming you have liability insurance.
Whether it’s a pedestrian or bicyclist, your liability insurance will pay for damages and injuries resulting from the incident. The bicyclist might have medical bills. They might be forced to take time off work. You could owe thousands of dollars – or more. Your insurance should cover you up to the limits of your policy in this situation.
In this accident, your car insurance should cover all of the following:
- The cost of repairing or replacing the person’s bicycle
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- The cost of repairing damage to your own vehicle (assuming you have collision coverage)
All of the bicyclist’s costs are covered by liability insurance, which is required in most states. Liability insurance consists of two core components, including:
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Bodily injury liability coverage covers medical bills and associated expenses in an accident you cause. If the bicyclist requires an ambulance ride to the hospital and further medical treatment, for example, then your bodily injury liability coverage will cover all costs up to the limits of your policy.
Property Damage Liability Coverage: Property damage liability coverage covers the cost of repairing another person’s property after an accident. In a bicycle accident, your property damage liability coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing the person’s bicycle. It also covers the cost of any other property – like the bicyclist’s clothing, helmet, or protective equipment.
Collision Coverage: Collision coverage, unlike liability coverage, is optional. Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing your own vehicle after an accident. If you hit a bicyclist, it could cause thousands of dollars of damage to your vehicle. You could file an insurance claim under your collision coverage for this damage. You pay your deductible, then your insurance covers the remaining cost of repairing your vehicle.
You buy car insurance to cover your liability – and your possessions. If you hit a bicyclist while driving, then your insurance covers the cost of making the bicyclist whole again, and it could cover the cost of making you whole again (if you have collision coverage).
What Happens If Someone Hits Me When Riding a Bike?
If someone hits you when riding a bike, then your auto insurance could cover your injuries regardless of who is at fault. If your insurance has medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, then your insurance will cover your medical bills immediately – even if you were at fault for the accident.
The insurance company may later investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. If the other driver was at fault, then your insurance company may seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
Will Car Insurance Cover Bike Theft?
Someone might steal your bike from your vehicle. It could be attached to your vehicle via a bike rack. Or, it could be in your truck bed or the back of your vehicle.
In case of theft, car insurance will not cover your bike – even if it was stolen from your vehicle. Car insurance only covers items that are factory-installed and standard on your vehicle. It does not cover your bike rack, nor does it cover any items stored inside your vehicle.
If thieves damage your vehicle during a theft, then auto insurance covers this damage. If they smash a window to steal your bike, for example, then you can make a claim under your comprehensive coverage.
If you have a valuable bike (worth several thousand dollars), then contact your home insurance company to verify coverage. You may need additional documentation for the bike – like photos and receipts – to file a claim. Some insurers require this documentation for any items over $500, for example.
Consider Contacting a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents can be messy. Many lawyers specialize in accidents involving bicycle or motorcycle crashes. These accidents can be lucrative for victims. Lawyers know how to maximize compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses.
If you were hit by a car while riding your bicycle, then the other driver’s insurance company might hire a lawyer. This lawyer could deny your version of the events. At this point, it becomes one person’s word against the other’s. If the other driver is pushing back against your bicycle injury insurance claim, then it might be worth hiring a bicycle accident attorney.
Final Word on Auto Insurance and Bicycle Accidents
Auto insurance covers bicycle accidents in certain situations.
If you hit a bicyclist while driving your vehicle, then your liability insurance covers the bicyclist’s medical bills, bike repairs, lost wages, and other damages.
If someone hits you while driving a vehicle, then your car insurance – or the other driver’s car insurance – should cover your medical bills and property damage expenses, depending on who is at fault.