Many cyclists are unaware of the fact that having comprehensive car insurance can protect them in a collision, even if that crash happens while they are on their bike.

Cyclists who are involved in an automobile versus bicycle accident may have their damages covered by their car insurance—if they have the right policy.

"Cycling accident"There are several types of car insurance in the state of Utah, and each one protects against different types of damages:

Types of Required Coverage:

Liability Coverage:

Liability insurance covers injuries and damages a driver may cause to another person if the driver is at fault for the accident. Utah law mandates that drivers carry a minimum of:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $65,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $15,000 per accident for property

With these minimums, the claim of one person cannot exceed $25,00, and the claims of a multiple people cannot exceed $65,000. This means even if an at-fault driver hits a car carrying seven passengers, the combined amount of all seven claims cannot exceed $65,000. For cyclists especially, it is extremely recommended to purchase more than the minimum amount of liability insurance. In an automobile versus bicycle accident, it is overwhelmingly likely that the cyclist will suffer the bulk of the injuries and expenses. If the accident’s at-fault driver is only carrying the minimum amount of liability coverage, the cyclist’s insurance will be required to pay the rest of the damages. Cyclists will want to carry enough car insurance to make up the difference, should damage occur.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)/No-Fault Insurance

PIP insurance is intended to help cover a portion of the expenses incurred by traffic accidents: medical bills and lost wages if you can no longer work. This insurance allows accident victims to treat their potential injuries immediately, eliminating the need  to wait for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. As the name implies, No-Fault coverage kicks in regardless of who was responsible for the accident. The minimum amount of PIP coverage required in the state of Utah is $3,000, but purchasing additional coverage is recommended.

Types of Recommended coverage

As stated in the Christensen & Hymas publication, “The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook,” the following optional types of insurance coverage should be considered mandatory for every cyclist in the state of Utah. Having this additional coverage can make all the difference if you are involved in an accident while cycling.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Similar to liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) helps pay for medical expenses and damages incurred during accidents. Unlike liability coverage, however, uninsured motorist coverage kicks in when at-fault drivers do not have car insurance. Although it is illegal in the state of Utah to not carry car insurance, some irresponsible drivers still choose not to purchase the required amounts. Purchasing UM coverage will help protect you and your family against the negligence of uninsured drivers. According to “The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook,” UM coverage can help you in the following situations:

  • You are hit by someone who has allowed the insurance on his or her vehicle to lapse
  • You are involved in a hit-and-run accident
  • You are forced to lay down your bicycle because of the reckless and inattentive driving of a vehicle that ultimately left the scene of your accident (“phantom vehicle”)

We recommend purchasing $100,000/$300,000 of uninsured motorist coverage, or $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Although these amounts may seem high, they will ensure protection in the case of serious injuries caused as a result of an uninsured driver.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is used in situations where the at-fault driver has car insurance, but the policy limits are insufficient to cover the cost of your injuries and damages fully. When a cyclist is hit by a car that is at fault, but the driver’s insurance coverage is minimal or unable to cover all damages, UIM can take care of the remaining costs.

We recommend cyclists purchase a minimum of $100,000 in both uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Higher coverage should be purchased whenever possible—more insurance coverage means more surety that your medical bills and bike damages will be fully taken care of by insurance companies.

No cyclist in the state of Utah (or anywhere!) should be without sufficient car insurance. Paying just a few extra dollars each month can help give you peace of mind in the case of an accident, allowing you to focus fully on your recovery.

Photo Courtesy of William Murphy and Creative Commons.