California is a popular state for bicyclists, especially in some of the bigger cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. With beautiful, sunny weather practically year-round, who wouldn’t want to spend more time outside on a bike?
Unfortunately, just as California is a dangerous state for car traffic, it is also one of the most dangerous states for bicyclists due to the high number of accidents. With so many people riding around both recreationally and for commuting, there is a higher risk of being struck by a car.
As such, it’s not uncommon for bicyclists in California to consider their rights and protections if they were to become injured in a bicycle accident, including wanting to know about insurance for bicycles.
So, does California offer insurance for a bicycle? Let’s find out.
Bicycle Insurance and Accident Liability
The first thing to consider when discussing insurance coverage for any type of accident, including bicycle accidents, is liability. Who was at fault for the accident will play a role in the type of claim you would file and what kind of insurance coverage you would receive.
California is an at-fault state, which means you can file a claim against the at-fault party’s auto insurance company to recover compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain & suffering—even as a bicyclist. However, you would need to prove the other party’s negligence, meaning you would have to provide evidence to show that someone else was at fault to be able to file a claim against them.
If you get into a bicycle accident on your own or if you crash into another cyclist, however, auto insurance coverage will not be an option. In these cases, you may need to look to either your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance or the homeowner’s insurance of the other cyclist if they caused the accident.
Types of Insurance for Bicycles in California
Technically, there are several options for insurance coverage if you get into a bicycle accident in California. Again, who is at fault will play a role in which insurance option is available to you, but it’s important to know that you can be covered by insurance as a bicyclist, despite what you may have heard previously.
Insurance for bicycle accident options may include:
- The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance: If the bicycle accident is caused by a driver, you have the right to file a claim against that driver’s insurance to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered, such as the cost of treating your injuries, compensation for lost wages while you recover, and even for emotional distress or pain & suffering.
- Medical Payments Coverage: This type of coverage, also known as Med Pay, is available through your auto insurance policy and can cover the cost of medical bills. However, it is likely that you will only be eligible to seek this coverage if you were injured in a hit-and-run, meaning another driver hit you but then took off.
- UIM/UM coverage: If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance policy, you might also be able to use this for your bicycle accident. If it was a hit-and-run, UIM/UM coverage might be an option, but it is also an option if you were hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or who doesn’t have a policy that can fully cover your accident-related expenses.
- Bicycle Insurance: As cycling, especially as a form of commuting, is becoming increasingly popular, insurance companies are popping up that specifically provide insurance to bicyclists. Two current examples include Velosurance and Market Insurance. Each company may have differences in policies and coverage, however, so it’s important to review the available options to determine the best bicycle insurance for your situation.
- Homeowner’s Insurance: If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, your policy may cover damage to your bicycle and bodily injury. However, this is only an option when you are injured in an accident by another party. It is not likely to cover you if you were the cause of the accident.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident to Help Your Bicycle Insurance Claim
The steps you take following a California bicycle accident can determine how your case plays out and what kind of compensation you can recover. For example, most insurance companies will want some sort of proof of what happened to determine whether or not you are covered as well as determining how much money you are owed.
- Call 911: The first thing you should do when in an accident is call the police, especially if you were involved in an accident with another driver. The police report can serve as evidence to prove what happened and help protect you in case the other party involved tries to make a false claim about what happened.
- Address your injuries: If you are badly injured after the accident, you should request emergency medical services when you call 911. If you do not require emergency medical attention, you should still see a doctor after the accident to make sure you are okay. Proof of your injuries through medical documentation will also be necessary for you to prove that you were injured and thus need compensation for your medical bills and other potential damages.
- File a claim: Following the accident, and depending on what happened and who was at fault, you will need to determine what type of claim to file based on the insurance options available to you, as mentioned above.
- Contact an attorney: If there is an argument over who was at fault or if the insurance company is not paying you the full benefits or compensation you deserve, a personal injury attorney can help. They can review your case and help guide you through your available options, as well as protect your rights and handle negotiations to ensure you are awarded the compensation you deserve.
We Handle Your Bicycle Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
If you need help with your bicycle insurance accident claim, our team can assist you. Though cycling is becoming increasingly popular, there can still be confusion about who was at fault in these cases and how to handle the claim. Our lawyers have years of experience handling bicycle accident cases and know what it takes to help you win your case.
At Sally Morin, we genuinely care about the people of California and work hard to ensure our clients get the full settlement needed to cover their expenses. Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.