What must every cyclist know before they take their next ride?
As a cyclist myself, I have noticed that my rides are becoming increasingly dangerous. Bicycle Accident Statistics In Tennessee indicate an increasing amount of reported injuries from bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Cars are swerving and I can see their heads down in their smart phones. Texting and driving and not paying attention on the back roads I ride on is an increasing danger to cyclists. There are consequences of texting while driving, but they pale in comparison to the injuries doing so can cause. The problem is when bicyclists get hurt it’s not just a whiplash type injury– its significant broken bones, broken femurs, facial lacerations, traumatic brain injuries or wrongful death. These types of injuries can leave cyclists to a position where they are facing huge hospital bills, as well as significant lifelong health problems.
So what is the most important thing that you as a cyclist need to know before your very next ride?
That one thing is this: Uninsured Motorist Coverage on your car.
If the person driving a car hits you and they are “fully insured” you may be surprised to later find out that they may only have $25,000 of coverage. Your emergency room bill is going to be more than that.
So how can you protect yourself? On your personal auto car, if you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage, it also acts as Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Your coverage under this coverage will take the place of the lack of enough insurance coverage by the car that hit you. And… Your UM coverage will cover you not only as a pedestrian, but as a cyclist. But you need to take a look with your insurance agent at what’s called your Declarations page. And on that Declarations page it will tell you how much insurance coverage you have under Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Now, when insurance is sold, it’s sold into what we call split level limits. There’s a first number, a slash and a second number. The first number applies to you as an individual, the second number applies to the total number of individuals who might be in your car – you have to split it amongst all those people. So, the limits in Tennessee that are sold are 25/50, 50/100, or 100/300 (in thousands of dollars, that is.)
If you’re reading this, the chances are very, very great... probably 90%, that you’ve got one of those levels of coverage. Is that enough? No. Is it close to being enough? No, it’s not.
You need at least $250,000/$500,000 of coverage if you’re a cyclist on the roads of Tennessee. Heck, you need this amount also for the same reasons on your car.
Also, you need to ask your agent how much it would cost to have what’s called an Umbrella policy that covers uninsured motorists. But BEWARE!!! A lot of umbrella policies do not cover uninsured motorist coverage, and you need to make specifically sure you ask your agent about that and make sure you’re covered.
When you address this important issue for your family, you may think ”Well, I don’t want to spend much more than I’m already spending on insurance.” The truth is, the cost of increasing your policy coverage under Uninsured Motorist Coverage from $50,000 to $200,000 is usually less than the cost of taking your family out to dinner.
What do you do from here? Here you go:
- Look at your current “Declarations Page” which outlines your insurance limits. Know how much coverage you have. If you can’t find this, call your agent and ask him/her “How much Uninsured Motorists coverage do I have on my vehicle(s)?”
- If that amount is less than $250,000/$500,000, then ask your agent to raise your limits (or at least give you a quote) to $250,000/$500,000.
- ASK your agent “How much would an $1 Million Umbrella policy cost me per year to help further protect my family?”
- If you decide to get the added protection of an umbrella policy, MAKE SURE to ask your agent about that Umbrella Policy specifically including Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
If you have any questions about how uninsured motorist coverage on your car can protect you as a cyclist, contact the Nashville Bicycle Accident Lawyers at GriffithLaw.