Does insurance cover bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents may be covered by insurance, depending on the scenario. If you're involved in a collision on your bike with another cyclist or pedestrian and you're not at fault, your medical bills and damage to your bike may be covered by the at-fault party’s personal liability coverage on their home or renters policy. If you’re hit by a car while riding, the at-fault driver's auto liability coverage may pay for damages and injuries. If you’re at fault in a bike accident, personal liability coverage on your home or renters policy may pay for the damages and injuries you caused, up to your coverage limits.
How insurance covers bicycle accidents
Here are some accident scenarios for cyclists and how different types of insurance may apply.
Accident between two bikes
When you're at fault: If you're riding and cause an accident with another cyclist, personal liability coverage on your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy may cover the cost of the other rider's injures and property damage. Your personal injuries could be covered by your health insurance. The cost to repair or replace your bike may be covered by your home or renters insurance, assuming you've added a specific insurance rider to cover your bicycle on your policy.
When the other cyclist is at fault: If another cyclist is at-fault in a bicycle on bicycle accident, your injuries and the damage to your bike may be covered under their personal liability coverage on their homeowners or renters insurance policy.
Accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle
When the cyclist is at fault: If the cyclist is at fault in a car accident, personal liability coverage on the cyclist’s homeowners or renter's insurance policy may cover the driver's property damage and injuries. The cyclist’s medical expenses could be covered by their health insurance, and damage to the bike may be covered if they have a specific rider for the bicycle on their homeowners or renters insurance policy.
When the driver is at fault: If the cyclist is hit by a car, the at-fault driver's auto liability coverage can pay for the cyclist's medical expenses and the cost to repair or replace the bike. If the driver is uninsured, the cyclist will need health insurance to cover injuries. Whether or not damages to the bike are covered depends on how the bicycle is insured on the cyclist’s home or renters policy. The cyclist could also sue the uninsured driver for damages and injuries caused by the accident. If the driver is injured in the accident, medical payments coverage or personal injury protection on the driver’s auto policy may pay for the driver’s medical expenses.
Accident between a bicycle and a pedestrian
When the cyclist is at fault: The pedestrian's injuries and property damage may be covered under personal liability coverage on the cyclist’s homeowners or renters insurance policy. The cyclist's injuries may be covered by their health insurance. Damages to their bike may be covered by the cyclist’s home or renters insurance, depending on the policy or if a rider was added to cover the bicycle.
When the pedestrian is at fault: If a pedestrian causes an accident by wandering into the bike lane, their personal liability coverage on their homeowners or renters insurance may cover the cyclist's injuries and bike damage. The pedestrian's own medical expenses will fall under their health insurance.
Accident between a bicycle and a stationary object
If you collide with a tree, pot hole, parked car, curb, or any other object while cycling, your medical bills may be handled by your health insurance and you may be able to claim damage to your bike if you have it scheduled as a separate item on your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Personal liability coverage on your homeowners or renters insurance may pay out for damages caused to someone else's personal property in the accident.
What should you do after a bicycle accident?
- Take photos and exchange information. Take plenty of pictures and write down all pertinent information — like the location and time of the accident — while it's still fresh on your mind. If another person was involved in the mishap, exchange contact details and insurance information, and make sure to file a police report.
- See a doctor. Even if your injuries appear to be minor, it's a good idea to have a record on file if any medical issues develop after the accident.
- Determine whether you need to file a claim. If you weren't at fault in the accident, the other person's insurance may cover your medical and bicycle repair expenses. However, you may need to file a claim with your insurance if you were at fault.
Pro Tip: Use a camera while riding your bike.
Many cyclists attach a GoPro or other small video camera to the front of their bike or helmet. The video footage makes it easier to determine fault and might be used as evidence if you're involved in a bicycle accident.