When you get into an accident riding you bicycle and the driver that hit you has no insurance, it can be frustrating. You might wonder how you are going to recover financially. Lost time from work, medical bills and permanent disability–all of these losses can be financially crippling.
This is where uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) comes into play. In Washington state, the law requires every driver to have insurance but not UM/UIM. However, it does require all insurance companies selling policies in the state to offer UM/UIM to the driver.
If the insured choses Um/UIM, it pays for any financial losses from an auto accident if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or if their insurance doesn’t cover all of their losses.
Cyclists and UM/UIM
I know what you’re thinking, what’s that go to do with a cyclist? In many cases nothing, but if the cyclist drives a car and has their own insurance with a UM/UIM provision, then it will cover the injuries and damages that are not covered by the at-fault driver.
Why? Because your auto policy covers you for any accident you get in if a car is involved. This means that if you are on bike, then your own policy will cover you—providing you have UM/UIM.
Types of Accidents that Trigger UM/UIM
Some accidents are more likely to involve and uninsured or underinsured motorist and thus trigger the coverage in a cyclist’s auto insurance policy.
- Hit and Run: If a motorist hits you and flees, then your own UM/UIM coverage will cover.
- Stolen Vehicle: Insurance law and rules don’t allow an auto insurance policy to cover damages done to others if their car is stolen. However, if you are riding your bike and are hit by a driver in a stolen vehicle, then your own UM/UIM can cover your losses.
- Road Rage: Insurance policies also don’t cover a person’s road rage because it’s not an accident. If you are on your bike and injured by a road driver, your own coverage will kick in if you have UM/UIM.
- Policy Problems: Sometimes a person has had insurance but they let it lapse. If you are hit by this person, then your own UM/UIM will cover.
- Medical Bills Exceed Policy: In California, the minimum required auto insurance is only $15,000 per person bodily injury and $30,000 max for more than one and a $5,000 property damage cap. A cyclist can be seriously injured by motor vehicle and quickly pass this cap. If the cyclist has UM/UIM, then it will cover the difference up to the UM/UIM cap.
Contact a Spokane Bicycle Accident Lawyer.
Anytime you get injured by someone else’s negligence, it’s best to talk to an attorney so you can approach the situation being informed. When the injuries stem from riding a bicycle and it might take your own UM/UIM policy to get coverage, insurance law can be complicated. Many times, the insurance company—even if they are yours—won’t tell you about all the coverage that is available.
Even if they do, using UM/UIM can be tricky as there are certain requirements and rules that govern how it works.