I’m an insurance broker, which means I get to hear a LOT of horror stories from my clients and fellow agents. This is just one of them.
A client of my insurance company was riding his bike down the street here in Las Vegas a couple of years ago when a pickup truck struck him from behind. The pickup truck was one of those super-extra-ultra-duty trucks with big wheels, big shocks, and big side-view mirrors. It was the mirrors that caused the problem.
See, the mirrors stuck out so far from the side of the truck that one of them struck the bike rider in the back of the head, causing severe injury. The truck sped away, the driver perhaps not even realizing that he had struck anyone. The bicyclist lay on the ground until help arrived, unconscious and badly concussed.
Hospital bills were a concern. The emergency treatment and intensive care would be expensive, but what about ongoing rehabilitation? What about being disabled? Questions and fears mounted. His insurance companies were dragging their feet, making all of us pretty angry. The car insurance company said “Well, he wasn’t actually in a car.”
As an insurance guy, I have a monetary incentive to keep my clients away from lawyers. In this case though, it was speaking to a qualified personal injury lawyer that untied the knot from around the hearts of this family. Why? The attorney helped them get funds from their own car insurance policy – through the coverages called “Uninsured Motorist” and “Under-insured Motorist” bodily injury.
Warning: insurance talk.
Those coverages work just as they sound. “Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury” coverage works to protect those who are injured by people who do not carry insurance – thus “uninsured.” The “Under-insured Motorist Bodily Injury” coverage provides additional funds when the primary car insurance is insufficient.
End of insurance talk.
Those extra coverages – ones that most people forget that they have – provided an abundance of funds, enough to supply for lost income during the years of rehabilitation as well as expenses not covered by health insurance.
What’s the lesson? Well, I guess there’s a few.
First: I’d say that there’s good reason (sometimes) to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Maybe if they have bike accident lawyers – or whatever your specific area of injury is, then that would be ideal. The lawyers can help you think of financial options that you may not be aware of. They can also help you get more money than you may be able to get on your own.
Second: Don’t skimp on your Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury or Under insured Motorist Bodily Injury coverages. They’re the coverages which are designed to protect the people on your policy, not the other guy. It’s those coverages which will protect you even if you’re not in a vehicle. That’s a big deal for cyclists!
If you’re looking for a recommendation on coverage amounts, I tell my clients that I personally have $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident on all my liability limits. In today’s world, medicine, treatment, and litigation can drain smaller amounts more quickly than you can say “bicycle.”
Be careful out there.
@GregoryHamblin is an insurance broker, entrepreneur, marketer, writer, and bike enthusiast. He can be seen standing at the corner of Charleston and Las Vegas Boulevard, waiting to get hit by a taxi so he can have somebody to sue at last.