A bike accident can leave you seriously injured and a facing a pile of medical bills. You need to know those bills will be covered even if you aren't able to work. There are many types of insurance that can come into play after a bicycle accident, but most depend on the choices you make ahead of time. Before you hit the road, make sure you sit down with an insurance agent to make sure you will be covered after a serious collision.
Most auto insurance policies include medical payment coverage to cover your injuries after an accident with a motor vehicle. Make sure to read your contract carefully to find out whether your policy will apply if you are riding a bike instead of driving at the time of the accident. If it does, your PIP coverage will pay up to a specified amount of medical expenses for each accident.
But most PIP policy limits aren't high enough to cover all of a cyclist's injuries after a serious bicycle accident. Many Illinois PIP insurance policies will only cover $1,000 to $10,000 in medical expenses. Low-cost policies will barely cover the cost of the ambulance, let alone the extensive rehabilitation that is often needed after a serious bicycle accident.
If your bicycle accident was caused because the driver who hit you was negligent, you can file a lawsuit to recover your additional damages. While the lawsuit will name the driver as the defendant, any payment will usually come from their liability insurance. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will negotiate with the driver's insurance provider to get as many of your damages covered as possible.
But just like your PIP coverage, the driver's liability coverage is capped based on policy limits. In Illinois, minimum mandatory insurance covers $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. If you were seriously injured, your medical expenses alone could be much higher.
If you want to be ready in case of a serious bicycle accident, you need to invest in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This is a separate insurance policy that steps in if the person who hit you doesn't have enough insurance to pay for your damages. It also applies if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident or can't identify the at-fault driver.
Just like your PIP coverage, UIM benefits go to the person who pays for the policy. However, whether you are eligible to receive benefits will depend on whether the driver was at fault for your accident (like liability insurance). Your uninsured motorist policy fills in the gap between the harm you suffered and what the other driver is able to pay.
As a bicyclist, it is important that you invest in a high level underinsured motorist policy. A bicycle accident with a motor vehicle is much more likely to produce serious injuries than a vehicle-on-vehicle accident. There just isn't as much metal or safety equipment between you and the impact when you are on a bicycle. Your Illinois auto insurance policy will automatically include UIM benefits equal to your liability coverage limits, but in a serious bicycle accident you will may need more to cover therapeutic equipment, rehabilitation, and restorative therapy. For bike riders, it may be worth the extra money to raise those limits to make sure your bills get paid after a serious bicycle accident.
Before you take to the roads on your bicycle this season, make sure you understand what your insurance policy covers. Otherwise you could be facing a steep climb of medical expenses and lost wages as you make your way back to health. Don't let a cheap policy stand between you and the medical care you need. Take the time to make sure you have the coverage you need.