Two years ago bicyclists did not have any options when it came to purchasing cyclist specific insurance coverages. While Europe has been offering cyclist coverage for many years, insurance carriers in the United States had not seen a need to underwrite for the risk exposures associated with our nations cycling community. We as cyclists had to do the best we could by cobbling coverage’s together through traditional Homeowners, Automobile, and Health Insurance.
Over the last year all of that has changed. American cyclists’ now have the choice of a number of different options when considering their exposure for potential loss as it relates to their cycling activities.
Before we continue I should make the reader aware that my name is Jay Paul and I am the founder and Managing Director at Balance For Cyclists. We developed one of the new insurance options available to cyclists. You’ll see a description of our coverage below. I need to add that we do not endorse any of the other products noted below. We are just making cyclists aware of their availability.
Traditional Homeowners and Automobile insurance protect cyclists for many loss scenarios. A Homeowners policy will protect your bike from theft in many but not all situations. There is usually a large deductible and the policy will have a low limit for “personal property” off premises. This means that your high dollar bike might not be fully covered. It is important that you read your policy and talk with your agent to see exactly what your particular policy will pay. Ask if you can “endorse” your bike for its full value if the policy has a low limit.
It should also be noted that under a traditional Homeowners policy there is no coverage at all if you simply break your bike while riding or as the result of any accident. That is where the new bicycle specific insurance products step in. Remember to check the warranty terms of the manufacturer as they might replace or repair damages parts if they simply break for a certain period of time after purchase.
As it relates to bicycle accident injuries, cyclists have had to rely strictly on their Health or Automobile insurance.
Many cyclists will protect themselves from injury involving a motor vehicle by purchasing uninsured or underinsured motorists on their personal auto policy. I highly recommend that all cyclists consider this coverage. It is very inexpensive and can be very beneficial if you are hit by a negligent driver who has low liability limits. However, it needs to be remembered that the driver of the vehicle has to be at fault and its takes a court to decide liability.
We’ve seen many cases where it took several years for liability to be established and dollars awarded to an injured cyclists. It also needs to be noted that a large percentage of serious cycling accident do not involve a motor vehicle. Of those that do, in many cases the cyclist is at fault and thus can’t seek damages from the driver. The vast majority of cycling accidents are the result of either rider error or equipment failure.
Neither Health nor Automobile insurance will fully protect a cyclist from the costs associated with a serious cycling accident. Health insurance will pick up many of the costs associated with an initial injury but in almost all cases is limited when an injured cyclists requires long-term rehabilitative needs. Cyclist can find themselves with hundreds of thousands of uninsured expenses if they suffer a serious cycling accident.
At Balance For Cyclists we insure the cyclist not the bike. As cyclists we have seen the financial hardship suffered by cyclists and their families as the result of serious cycling accidents. With the help of The Zurich American Insurance Company we developed a coverage that pays large lump sum cash benefits directly to cyclists who suffer a critical cycling injury. As noted previously there are many things that may not be covered by other insurance and we want to get cash into the hands of injured cyclists so that they can decide what is best for their recovery.
Learn more about Balance For Cyclists at: www.balanceins.com.
What about insuring your bike? Two different insurance companies have adapted automobile policies to meet certain needs of cyclists. These new policies cover cyclists for damages to or theft of their bike, provide liability insurance for accidents that an insured cyclist causes, and provide limited medical expense coverage.
The two insurance companies offering this coverage are:
It is important to remember that much of what is offered by these policies are covered by a traditional, Homeowners, Renters, or Automobile policies.
Lastly, The Better World Club was offering cyclist specific coverage that included Roadside Assistance, General Liability, and Excess Medical coverage. However, effective July 1 of this year their program will change significantly.
As you can see there is a lot to think about when insuring cyclist specific insurance needs. If we can help please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d welcome the conversation!
Jay Paul is a dedicated cyclist and insurance entrepreneur. He lives in Richmond and rides with RABA.