Like any type of transportation, riding a bicycle in Massachusetts comes with risks. Many people in Boston and other cities statewide commute on bicycles, and accidents with injuries are unfortunately common. Bike accidents can involve a solo bicyclist, another cyclist, a car, or even a pedestrian. If you are an avid cyclist or commuter, the best thing to do is protect yourself if you’re ever involved in an accident.
There are three scenarios in which you want to make sure you are protected and insurance may be the answer.
- If you’re at fault for an accident while riding your bike and hurt someone or cause damage to someone else's property
- If you’re hit by a car while riding your bike
- If you damage your bicycle due to a crash
If you are at fault for a bike accident – perhaps you ran into a pedestrian or another cyclist – the type of insurance you’ll need is homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. A homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy with general liability protection for occupants of the home will protect you if you cause a collision while on your bike.
We recently settled a two-cyclist collision case for $350,000 but fortunately, the at fault cyclist had homeowners insurance. A cyclist crashed into our client because he was biking against the flow of traffic in a designated bike lane. Our client suffered significant injuries and required surgery and physical therapy. In this case, the cyclist who was at fault had a homeowner’s insurance policy in place at the time of the crash, and Spada Law was able to get them to pay for our client’s damages. If you live in an apartment, renter’s insurance can serve the same purpose.
Suppose you are hit by a car while riding your bike and the driver of the car is at fault. In most cases, the driver’s car insurance will cover you for the damages you are legally entitled to recover. In Massachusetts, the law requires drivers to carry bodily injury liability limits of at least $20,000 per person and property damage liability coverage of at least $5,000. The bodily injury policy will cover any injuries you suffer from the accident, and the property damage coverage could cover costs such as bike repair or replacement.
There is always a chance, however, that someone who hits you has no insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover your damages. What happens in this situation?
If you are a cyclist who also owns a car, your uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage on your car can also provide you with compensation if you’re hit by a car while riding your bike. If the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured, this coverage will be available to you to pay for your damages, up to the limits of insurance you purchased.
Often, your bike is covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, but it can vary. Traditionally, homeowner’s insurance covers specific risks such as fire, theft, loss, etc. Many times, you can add specific selections to your policy to have extra insurance to cover items such as a bicycle. If you wanted to use your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to cover losses to your bike, you would likely need to add extra insurance to your policy to cover it.
If your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance covers your bike, your policy will only cover whatever the current value of your bike is at the time of an incident. If your bike is an older model, it could have depreciated significantly.
Other types of bike insurance in Massachusetts are also possible through private companies. One popular bike insurance company is called Velosurance. Velosurance will insure your bike at full value, without depreciation, and cover crash damage and theft if your bike is stolen from your home, car, work, or another secure location.
You can get a free quote with your own information on their website. Basic bike insurance in the Boston-area market could cost as low as $8/month, or more comprehensive coverage could cost around $25/month. With an East Boston zip code, $25 a month would cover a $1,000 bike with a low deductible in the event of a crash or theft and include personal liability coverage for anyone you may injure while on your bike and medical coverage for your own injuries. Uninsured or underinsured coverage would also be included in the event you are hit by a car and the driver doesn’t have insurance. I reached out to Dave Williams, CEO at Velosurance and spoke to him about his company’s offerings and was impressed with his willingness to talk to me about what options were available to me as a Massachusetts cyclist.
Injured On A Bike In Massachusetts? Our Chelsea And Peabody Bike Accident Attorneys Offer FREE Consultations
If you were injured in a bicycle or e-bike accident, Spada Law Group’s injury attorneys can work to protect your legal rights. We have three offices and proudly serve the entire state with the ability to meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about your bike or e-bike injury case and see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your accident.