Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • If you’re involved in an auto accident with a bicyclist, your liability insurance will pay for damages
  • If the cyclist is deemed at fault for the accident, you may not be held liable for paying for damages
  • Both cyclists and motorists are expected under the law to follow the rules of the road so that all parties are safe
  • If you’re not negligent for the bicycle accident, you may be able to collect money from the cyclist
  • Your own Uninsured Motorist Protection and Medical Payments coverage will pay for injuries that you’ve sustained

When you’re in an accident with a bicyclist, your natural instincts are to check and see if they have suffered major injuries.

Since you’re operating a massive piece of machinery, the cyclist often suffers scrapes, broken bones, and contusions when bike accidents happen. Some serious internal injuries can’t even be seen by the naked eye, and this is why most cyclists will seek medical treatment regardless of how minor the injuries seem.

Before you start proclaiming how sorry you are about the accident, think about how that can affect you in the long run.

While motorists are often found to be negligent for a cyclist’s injuries, there are cases where it’s the motorist who is considered the victim.

If you’re admitting fault at the scene, it could work against you in the end. Let’s discuss what you need to know about auto insurance and bike accidents.

If you have recently experienced a car accident involving a bicyclist and want better coverage, compare at least three to four policies today! Enter your ZIP code above to get started!

Who is at fault in a bike accident?

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Everyone is capable of making mistakes. While the burden of being safe on roadways is often placed more on the motorist than the cyclist, it’s not always a driver’s fault.

In most states, everyone’s actions are investigated and a percentage of fault is allocated to every party. While it’s possible to share a portion of the blame, someone is almost always considered to be primarily at fault.

If the driver of the vehicle doesn’t obey laws about yielding to a cyclist, they would be held accountable. If, however, a cyclist doesn’t follow the rules of the road or they are reckless, they could be responsible for the motorist’s damages.

It all depends on state law and how fault is allocated by the insurer. You will have to be cooperative as the claim is investigated if you want a positive outcome.

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What happens if you’re found to be at fault as a driver?

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If you veered into a bike lane while changing lanes or you didn’t notice a bicyclist when you entered into the right turn lane, you’d probably be held liable for third-party damages, including:

  • Damage to the bike
  • The cyclist’s other property
  • Bodily injury

One of the primary purposes of carrying auto insurance is to help motorists pay for damages when they are liable. Most states only require third-party liability coverage.

Since you’re more than likely required to carry liability coverage under your insurance, you’ll have at least some coverage to help you pay for damages. The coverage options that will kick in when you file an at-fault bike accident claim include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – Will pay for medical bills and other types of treatment after the cyclist is injured in the accident
  • Property Damage Liability – Will pay to repair the bike, buildings, and other real property that’s owned by other parties

If you are to blame and you accept responsibility for injuring the cyclist, your rates can go up. Usually, when damage to property or injury claims are filed, your rates are subject to a surcharge.

The damage must exceed the reporting threshold in the state, but any injuries claimed can lead to a rate hike. Injury claims result in higher increases than damage-only claims.

What happens if the bicyclist is at fault?

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If the cyclist was considered to be reckless or they gave the motorist no time to react, the blame for the accident could be placed on the owner of the bike and not the owner of the motor vehicle. When this happens, it becomes a bit more difficult for the victim in the accident who is entitled to receive compensation to collect.

You may be required to have auto insurance when you’re driving a car, but you’re not required under any state law to carry insurance while you’re riding a bike.

Having homeowner’s, renter’s, or condo insurance can be beneficial, but there’s no guarantee that the cyclist will have any insurance in place.

You need to file a claim with your insurer to see what actions will be taken following a vehicle-to-bike accident. You’ll have to provide information for the claim to be investigated.

The allocation of fault will be assigned, and then the adjuster will attempt to collect from relevant insurance policies if the bike rider is insured. When there isn’t third-party coverage, the motorist may be able to file a claim against their coverage options.

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How does property insurance come into play?

You can’t buy insurance that specifically pays for third-party injuries that you’re responsible for when you’re riding a bike.

However, depending on your property insurance, if you or your household members are riding their bikes and they cause bodily injury or damage to someone else, you may be insured in that situation.

It doesn’t matter what type of property insurance you carry. All property insurance policies that are on homes or units that you’re residing in will include at least $100,000 of personal liability coverage.

Personal liability coverage will pay if someone is injured on the property or even away from the property as long as a household member is considered negligent. Bike accidents caused by the cyclist would qualify.

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How will your car insurance help you?

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If you’re involved in an accident with an individual who isn’t insured under any property insurance, one alternative will be to turn to the coverage that you’re carrying on your policy. There are first-party coverage options that can provide you with some assistance in this type of scenario, but the coverage isn’t considered to be mandatory.

The first coverage to look for under your policy is uninsured motorist. 

While the term does insinuate the other party must be a motorist, most insurers will also pay out if you’re injured in an accident that you have with a cyclist. Your limits will be similar to the liability limits that you carry.

You may also carry Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection under your policy. These coverage options have fewer restrictions, because it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the loss when you file your claim.

If you have Personal Injury Protection, it might also pay for your lost income and other types of services for you to recover.

If you don’t have first-party coverage, you may have to take the cyclist to court to collect for damages. Since you have insurance in place, your insurer will pay for the court costs and they will defend you in court.

The cyclist may be at risk of losing their assets or having their wages garnished.

If you’re the bike rider injured in an accident with a vehicle, your auto insurance may help you even though you weren’t in a car.

Medical Payments Coverage and Personal Injury Protection will pay for injuries sustained while you’re a pedestrian or a cyclist. As long as it’s an accident involving a car, you will have the medical benefits coverage.

Price the Cost to Add First-Party Coverage

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If you have a policy with bare minimum coverage, you should see how much it would be to add first-party coverage options like:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Medical payments

Each of these coverage options has its own premium.

Call your insurance agent to price the cost of amending your policy first. Once you start to price the cost of adding coverage, you can then shop around and see if the price is competitive.

Use an online rate quote tool to get multiple quotes, and you’ll be on your way to a more comprehensive policy that protects you on the road and on your bike.

Start comparison shopping today for better auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!