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  1. #1
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    Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist protection cover you on your bike in Pennsylvania?

    Well it's time for me to renew my auto insurance and after doing a quick search around the web, I found on some law office websites and blogs that underisured and uninsured motorist protection will cover you as a bicyclist or pedestrian if you are involved in a hit and run accident with a car (and I'm assuming a normal accident where the person sticks around as well). However, when I called my current insurance company (Erie Insurance) they said that it would not but the agent said he would look into it further and return my call. I also called USAA and the person I spoke with consulted 2 agents while I was waiting and informed me that in their insurance contract it only mentioned the driver in an automobile. Am I getting BS-ed here by the insurance companies or do only certain companies extend UM and UIM coverage to pedestrians and cyclists? Or is it something that, although it's not mentioned in the contract, I could use to cover me with the help of a personal injury attorney if I was ever involved in an accident with a car? If only some companies offer this protection, does anyone know where I should look around? I live in Philadelphia PA. I'm currently unemployed so I don't have health insurance so coverage through my auto insurance would be VERY nice as that's the only 'risky' activity that I take part in where I would be likely to suffer an injury (I've never had to go to the hospital for a sickness and I'm only 25 so hopefully more serious health ailments are years from presenting themselves, or at least until I find a new fulltime job hopefully in the next couple months).

  2. #2
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flesh_pile View Post
    Am I getting BS-ed here by the insurance companies ...?
    Yes you are.

    Speedo

  3. #3
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    If it's not covered in the contract, it doesn't exist.

    The contract describes what they cover. (I guess there's also some room for the law to force them to cover things, though those things should be listed in the contract as well.)

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    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    I was recently hit by a car. When we asked our insurance company about what our insurance would cover, they told us "nothing" it was all on the motorist's insurance. Got a lawyer. Lawyer says that that was pretty much a flat out lie.

    (edit)If you want an ironclad answer DO NOT ask your insurance company. Ask an attorney in your state.(/edit)

    There is an excellent summary about insurance issues (including UM/UIM and bicyclists) here.

    The problem is for car free cyclists who have no car insurance and hence no UM/UIM insurance.

    Speedo
    Last edited by Speedo; 04-01-09 at 03:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Interesting article here about what to do if you don't own a car.

    The answer? Buy a cheapo beater, insure it to the hilt, and leave it at home in the driveway.

    Speedo

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    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    Bob Mionske covers some of this in his book Bicycling and the Law as well, although YMMV.

    Insurance companies exist to collect your premium and then avoid paying your claims so I would take nothing an insurance agent says as fact without furthr verification.

    It's ironic that motor vehicle insurance was originally an outgrowth of bicycling insurance - and now it seems impossible to obtain bicycling insurance...

  7. #7
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I am surprised by the USAA answer. Although the coverage does depend on state laws, USAA being a coop, tends to give full coverage for it's members. I know a specific hit & run case here in Hawaii that USAA covered everything except the small deductible. No special bicycle insurance required, just covered as a driver and car.

    Are you even eligible to join USAA?

    If yes, why are you not already with USAA?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    If it's not covered in the contract, it doesn't exist.

    The contract describes what they cover. (I guess there's also some room for the law to force them to cover things, though those things should be listed in the contract as well.)
    Completely wrong. There may be statutes regulating UM coverage or case law which applies. No the contract will not necessarily list what is or is not covered in detail, in fact most are very general.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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    Thanks for the great responses. I used to have Erie Insurance as the rates were very good (slightly better than USAA which themselves were pretty good compared to Progressive, Geico, Allstate, etc). I was looking through the packet that they sent me last year and I didn't really see anything about UM or UIM in the gobbledy-gook that was their contract. This year however rates were pretty much the same for both Erie and USAA and I figured USAA would provide better service and I could lump most of my other finances into one website/company (I'm already a member with several financial services through them). I wasn't able to read the actual contract online so I figured I'll peruse through it when I get it in the mail and hopefully see some clause about it. If I find out that they don't offer protection for pedestrians and bicyclists through UIM and UM coverage and I find out that another company will provide for that protection, I can always cancel my insurance and get a new policy with the company that does. I left a message with a Philadelphia area personal injury attorney asking about PA laws about this matter but I seriously doubt I'll hear back from him as I don't actually have a case that will be bringing him money. I guess if I'm not covered or get hit by an uninsured/underinsured motorist or are involved in a hit and run I've got to accept the fact that I'll be paying out of pocket for the time being until I get health insurance (or file a lawsuit or file for bankrupcy - neither of which would be good)

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    San Rensho - how do I know what my UM or UIM get's me if it's not in the contract? This is sort of worrying as it sounds like the insurance agency is working against you to pay the least amount of money for your claim with UM or UIM cases (and from reading online, it seems like the abritrators that handle these cases are pro-insurance companies and you have no recourse against them). It seems like most attorney blogs/websites and bike advocacy websites state that UIM or UM insurance covers cyclists but they don't mention if that is always a definite or if it varies by state or insurance company. If it's not covered in the policy contract that I receive and I don't get a straight answer (or receive a verbal 'not covered' from the agent), how will I know if I'll be protected by it before I actually need it? It would tragic if after a bad accident caused by someone else I'm stuck footing the bill or forced to file a lawsuit or file for bankruptcy when I find out that USAA (or some other insurance company) is leaving me high and dry.

  11. #11
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Pennsylvania is a no fault state, requiring you to purchase PIP (personal injury protection).

    PIP (which is no called something different in Penn but i couldn't find the reference) generally covers accidents bicyclists have if they have an accident with an automobile regardless of fault.

    additionally , the PIP of the motorist involved in a collision with a bicyclist will also cover a bicyclist's medical costs in a motor vehicle/bicycle accident regardless of fault.

    Do a little more research on your own, PIP is the applicable coverage for bicyclists/peds involved in collisions with motorists.

    PIP does not cover bike accidents without a motor vehicle involved, ie it does not cover medical costs from a bicyclists/pedestrian collision or a bike only accident.

    hope this helps. the coverage isn't in UM/UIM it's in PIP.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-02-09 at 10:55 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by flesh_pile View Post
    San Rensho - how do I know what my UM or UIM get's me if it's not in the contract? This is sort of worrying as it sounds like the insurance agency is working against you to pay the least amount of money for your claim with UM or UIM cases (and from reading online, it seems like the abritrators that handle these cases are pro-insurance companies and you have no recourse against them). It seems like most attorney blogs/websites and bike advocacy websites state that UIM or UM insurance covers cyclists but they don't mention if that is always a definite or if it varies by state or insurance company. If it's not covered in the policy contract that I receive and I don't get a straight answer (or receive a verbal 'not covered' from the agent), how will I know if I'll be protected by it before I actually need it? It would tragic if after a bad accident caused by someone else I'm stuck footing the bill or forced to file a lawsuit or file for bankruptcy when I find out that USAA (or some other insurance company) is leaving me high and dry.
    Google is your friend. I haven't verified this, but at least according to this attorney, uninsured motorist does cover you as a cyclist.

    My advice is to talk with your agent and see how much uninsured motorist with very high limits will cost. You will probably be pleasantly surprised that a $1 million UM policy does not cost much more than a minimal policy.

    http://www.bicycleattorney.com/Penns...t_attorney.htm
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Pennsylvania is a no fault state, requiring you to purchase PIP (personal injury protection).

    PIP (which is no called something different in Penn but i couldn't find the reference) generally covers accidents bicyclists have if they have an accident with an automobile regardless of fault.

    additionally , the PIP of the motorist involved in a collision with a bicyclist will also cover a bicyclist's medical costs in a motor vehicle/bicycle accident regardless of fault.

    Do a little more research on your own, PIP is the applicable coverage for bicyclists/peds involved in collisions with motorists.

    PIP does not cover bike accidents without a motor vehicle involved, ie it does not cover medical costs from a bicyclists/pedestrian collision or a bike only accident.

    hope this helps. the coverage isn't in UM/UIM it's in PIP.
    You are partially right. But PIP insurance only covers your medical bills and possibly lost wages, and the limits in most states are pretty low, say around $10,000, which runs out really quickly in a serious accident.

    It does not cover permanent injury, disfigurement, ability to earn wages in the future, etc. For that, the driver has to have liability insurance, and if he doesn't, or if it doesn't cover all of your damages, then your uninsured motorist insurance kicks in.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
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  14. #14
    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    You might also contact the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia for Penn specific advice: http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/

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