Do Bicyclists Need Their Own Insurance?
Bicycles were a popular way to get around back in the 19th century, but that was back when your best alternative was a horse and carriage. Once affordable motor vehicles came around, Americans upgraded to cars, trucks, and motorcycles and never looked back—at least not until recently. While cycling has stuck around for sport, exercise, and fun, it’s becoming increasingly popular these days as a green way of getting around America’s car-friendly streets.
But with more cyclists comes more cycling accidents. There are the obvious dangers of sharing the road with bigger, faster, and heavier vehicles, but cyclists who don’t pay enough attention are easily capable of running into each other and running into pedestrians.
While these collisions aren’t likely to be as serious as a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, they can still result in damaged property and medical bills. So are you stuck paying out of pocket when you cause an accident when you’re on a bicycle? Or do you need the equivalent of auto insurance for your bike?
Homeowner’s And Renter’s Insurance
Here’s the good news: if you have a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, you are almost certainly covered for any accident you cause when you’re on your bicycle. Both types of insurance covers liability for sporting accidents caused using equipment you own, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re on your own property or not. These policies also protect you from the damage and theft of your bicycle no matter where it happens.
The downside is that homeowner’s policies usually come with very high deductibles. They’re meant for damage to your home and major break-ins and thefts, after all, and so unless you have a very expensive bike chances are it’ll be cheaper to repair or replace your bicycle than it would be to file a claim. Renter’s insurance has lower deductibles on average, but they’re still bigger than the cost of many bikes.
Health insurance works the same whether you’re on a bike or in a car. If you injure yourself in an accident you cause, then liability insurance won’t pay out no matter how many other people are involved. The exception would be if you have a personal injury protection policy as part of your auto insurance: so long as a motor vehicle is involved in the collision, PIP policies will pay out whether you were in one at the time or not.
Professional Athlete Insurance
The one time a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy might not cover a biking accident is if you’re cycling as a professional athlete. Biking as a profession carries different risks and assumptions, and so while a homeowner’s policy covers your regular sporting equipment and accidents based around that, the extra costs, risks, and time involved in professional cycling put it outside the intent of homeowner coverage. Fortunately, you can get a professional athlete insurance policy, and you’ll want the policy for other reasons like extra health and disability coverage, coverage of damage to your professional-grade equipment, and liability for injuries.
So unless homeowner’s and renter’s insurance goes through a major change, either policy should be enough to cover any damages and injuries you cause when you’re out and about on your bicycle, and they cover theft and damage if it’s worth footing the deductible. And if you ever have trouble getting an insurer to pay out for damages dealt to you, consider hiring a personal injury attorney who understands auto and bicycle accidents. A little legal advice and representation can sometimes increase your final settlement by a surprising amount.