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Old 07-02-11, 03:32 PM   #1
Kurt Erlenbach
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Here is why you need uninsured motorist coverage

Cross-posting this from A & S.

Yesterday in court I had before me a fellow who was not paying his child support. He had been out of work for most of the last year. He had been hit by a car while riding his bike, and according to his lawyer he had a hospital bill of $118,000, with no health insurance. He owed over $12,000 on his child support. He had settled his case against the driver for the policy limits of $10,000, and he had no uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, so the 10k was all he was going to collect. They wanted me to figure out how to split up the cash.

After the hearing I asked the lawyer what had happened in the crash. Turns out the guy was salmoning up the road when he got hit. So there were a few lessons from that hearing - ride correctly, and carry plenty of insurance. UM insurance is the best and cheapest form of insurance a cyclist can have.
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Old 07-02-11, 05:51 PM   #2
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I don't drive a car. Now you're saying I gotta have car insurance anyway?

I don't think so. I have medical insurance. I'm not paying for car insurance too.
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Old 07-02-11, 06:04 PM   #3
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Hope the cash went to child support payments. Hospitals may be in a better position to fend for themselves than many kids.
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Old 07-02-11, 07:55 PM   #4
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The child was living with grandma, who was getting TANF benefits. So any money for the child would go to the state to repay the welfare benefits. I punted on it, and sent them to mediation to work it out.

nutmeg - If you don't have a car, you can't get UM insurance. Health insurance will pay for the hospital if you get smashed by a car, but if the driver has no liability insurance (or little insurance, like the guy who ran into the guy I had in court) some bills might get paid but otherwise you're out of luck for paying the mortgage or the electric bill.
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Old 07-02-11, 08:00 PM   #5
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I pay premiums for 3 vehicles for my wife and myself (in Florida). Am I covered on my bike?

Somehow I suspect that the probability that any given person will cause you damage is inversely proportional to the probability that person is insured.

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Old 07-02-11, 08:57 PM   #6
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If you have UM coverage for your car, when you are on your bike and hit by a car, and it's the driver's fault, you first would look to the driver's liability insurance, and if he's uninsured or underinsured, your UM auto coverage would protect you. If you own multiple cars, you can stack the UM coverages ($50k of UM on 3 cars = $150k coverage) if you select it (it raises the cost somewhat). Uninsured drivers are a terrible problem in FL.
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Old 07-02-11, 09:31 PM   #7
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That's why I have C$ 2 million uninsured coverage as a regular thing on the vehicle and raise it to C$ 10 million when I am planning on crossing the US border. Here in B.C. you can't licence a vehicle wihout having basic liability insurance on the vehicle but alot of vehicles run with just the basic coverage which is just $50,000. The bigger problem occurs when the other vehicle is from elsewhere and doesn't have coverage or the owner has let the insurance expire or has lost coverage.

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Old 07-03-11, 06:21 AM   #8
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Good info. Our policies are up for renewal soon. I'll make sure the UM coverage is high enough. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-03-11, 06:47 AM   #9
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Good info. Our policies are up for renewal soon. I'll make sure the UM coverage is high enough. Thanks for posting.
My renewal is sitting in the "bills to be paid" pile, I will read the coverage carefully. Things have changed considerably in the last two years. My medical coverage deductibles are so high now that even a minor injury can cause a big financial hit, and as I have discovered since the change, the insurance companies have a way of playing slide of hand that minimizes anything they will cover (for example - we are supposed to get free cancer screening, but how come my wife's colonoscopy cost us almost $1K, yes - the scope was free but the biopsies, initial doctor consult, preprocedure meds were all out of pocket).
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Old 07-03-11, 08:32 AM   #10
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Had to use the un/underinsured part of my policy when I got T boned by a drunk in 2002. Big problem I had was that I had to sue my insurance company in order to get the money. Seems like this is the standard process as told by both my insurance company and our lawyer, which to me is a huge pile of BS.
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Old 07-03-11, 01:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nutmegTN View Post
I don't drive a car. Now you're saying I gotta have car insurance anyway?

I don't think so. I have medical insurance. I'm not paying for car insurance too.
I carry disability insurance that picks up my paycheck if I'm to badly injured to work.
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Old 07-03-11, 05:21 PM   #12
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Great info. Thanks for sharing. I will check my policy too.
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Old 07-03-11, 06:06 PM   #13
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I'm an insurance agent here in the lovely state of Florida. One of my clients was recently killed in a head on crash with an 18 year old driver who had no insurance. The kid was at fault and within 2 weeks my insured's estate had received a check for $300,000 from her own insurance policy - the full limit of uninsured motorist coverage on her policy.
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Old 07-03-11, 07:27 PM   #14
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I'm an insurance agent here in the lovely state of Florida. One of my clients was recently killed in a head on crash with an 18 year old driver who had no insurance. The kid was at fault...
That is so sad and tragic. Your client probably had a family, and 300k will never make up for their loss. Isn't Florida a "no fault" state? That "kid" should still be punished somehow. Maybe support the family financially that was left behind?


A lot of posts in this thread appear to mix up being hit by a cyclist by an uninsured motorists and being hit in their car by an uninsured motorist. I have uninsured coverage on my auto policy, and had to use it several times over the almost 40 years I've been with my auto insurance company.. I'll have to check if it covers me while I'm cycling.
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Old 07-03-11, 10:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
Health insurance will pay for the hospital if you get smashed by a car, but if the driver has no liability insurance (or little insurance, like the guy who ran into the guy I had in court) some bills might get paid but otherwise you're out of luck for paying the mortgage or the electric bill.
Right, health insurance will not compensate for lost time at work or other consequences of an injury. Like the medical payments section of an auto policy, health insurance pays only for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
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Old 07-04-11, 04:42 PM   #16
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If you own multiple cars, you can stack the UM coverages ($50k of UM on 3 cars = $150k coverage) if you select it (it raises the cost somewhat). Uninsured drivers are a terrible problem in FL.
Insurance coverages are state-specific; whether policies can be stacked varies by jurisdiction (either as matter of insurance regulations or court interpretation of policy language). Major insurers have learned well (their policy writers and attorneys being trained by appellate court decisions) to write policy language to prohibit stacking.
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Old 07-05-11, 10:37 AM   #17
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When are states going to DO SOMETHING about uninsured motorists? Put the bastards in jail. Hell, take them out back and shoot them. Who cares? It's time we take back our country from deadbeats.
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Old 07-05-11, 06:33 PM   #18
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When are states going to DO SOMETHING about uninsured [people]? Put the bastards in jail. Hell, take them out back and shoot them. Who cares? It's time we take back our country from deadbeats.
Uh huh. That logic applies equally well for mandatory universal health insurance coverage, right? (Sorry, different forum/issue. At least if we had universal health coverage the auto insurance medical benefits scope of problem would be lessened.)

Back to your point: Uninsured motorists (at least annually during vehicle registration renewal, if not also at time of any reportable accidents) typically lose driving privileges/licenses/registrations in jurisdictions where insurance is mandatory; and vehicle finance plans and leases may require continuous coverage with automatic notification in case of lapse. For some people losing driving privileges is still not sufficient penalty, suggesting there's at least some economic element involved (perhaps including affordability of coverage).

Part of the larger problem--even if everybody drove while insured--is that mandatory auto coverages are only very, very low minimums.
So if you are a responsible person with your own auto insurance, you should check with your agent to verify your uninsured/underinsured coverages are sufficient for you and your family (and friends, or other intended beneficiaries) in the event of serious motor vehicular injuries. Actual policy language is often dense and confusing.

Become sophisticated as an insurance consumer, for there are other gotchas: your policy might cover named insureds only, or listed vehicles only (such restrictions might be prohibited by your jurisdiction, though), or might provide lower coverages for passengers as compared to the driver or owner.

Insurance companies are very crafty writing language designed to maximize their profits.
As a car owner one might be able to imagine the unanticipated insurance nightmare that resulted when a driver test drove a new vehicle he was considering buying from a new car dealer in Illinois and a passenger was killed (could equally apply to a bicyclist scenario): after litigation, on appeal held no coverage is available to the driver from the dealership's policy on that demo car to satisfy the multi-million dollar judgment.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:14 AM   #19
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been there done that. UM protected us in a couple of accidents over the years. One car-car accident for uninsured driver. the other car-bike accident where car driver hit me and left scene and driver was not found. Both times I am glad UM was there. YMMV. I live in Georgia have very good USAA insurance. After the car-car accident we went with umbrella policy for the extra coverage the guy tried to sue us for a million. If you are eligible (military connection) USAA is amazing.
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Old 07-06-11, 06:46 AM   #20
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been there done that. UM protected us in a couple of accidents over the years. One car-car accident for uninsured driver. the other car-bike accident where car driver hit me and left scene and driver was not found. Both times I am glad UM was there. YMMV. I live in Georgia have very good USAA insurance. After the car-car accident we went with umbrella policy for the extra coverage the guy tried to sue us for a million. If you are eligible (military connection) USAA is amazing.
I have had a policy with USAA for 45+ years. One thing they don't tell you up front is that -as a long and loyal customer - after 40 years one gets about twice as much back in the annual dividend (USAA is a mutual company). This greatly reduces my annual insurance costs. And, I not only carry max UIM and underinsured motorist, I also carry their maximum medical coverage in addition to having major medical. This fills in the gaps, deductibles, non-covered items and co-pays in my major medical, and saves arguments and is relatively inexpensive.

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Old 07-06-11, 11:17 AM   #21
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Actually - for many states the policy part the pays in the event of injuries while cycling is known as "medical payments."

This part of your auto insurance premium can be increased to create a sizable amount of medical insurance coverage. It is indeed one of the cheapest ways of hedging against the costs associated with being injured on a public road as a result of automobile related interactions.

Just out of curiosity - how many of you know what I am talking about - this benefit is available in many - but perhaps not all states.
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