Not many people think about the cost of accidents before they get on their bike to go for a ride, but when accidents happen they can cost you a lot more than you expected. In December, 2014 a personal injury claim was filed in the ACT's Magistrate Court on behalf of a six year-old girl whose family faces financial loss after their daughter was injured by an uninsured cyclist. As the debate regarding compulsory cyclist insurance heats up, here are three points that you need to know.
Are You Already Insured?
The first place you need to check to see if you already have some type of insurance in place for bike use is your home and contents insurance. While some policies only cover the cost of the bike in the event of an accident or theft, others do provide you with coverage if you cause damage to something or someone with your bike.
Since each insurance company has their own terms and conditions outlined regarding bikes, the first place to check is the conditions of your policy coverage. If you do not understand the wording while reading the policy conditions, telephone your insurance broker or the company directly to ask the question about your coverage.
Do You Need Insurance?
If you are heading out on a bike you need to think about how you would pay for any damage caused to property or another person in the event of an accident. When it comes to reported bike crashes, there is an average of four per week involving Canberra's cyclists.
The amount you can be held liable in the event of an accident is considerable. Take the 2014 ruling by the ACT Supreme Court regarding Franklin v Blick. Mr Franklin was awarded $1.6 million due to injuries he sustained while out riding his bike with Mr Blick. Mr Blick collided with Mr Franklin after hitting a piece of wood, and Mr Franklin subsequently fell from his bike and was struck by a car.
Since many families do not have this type of money sitting in their bank account, the answer regarding the need for insurance would be "yes!"
What Sort Of Insurance Is Required?
If you do not have insurance covering damage done to another person or property under your existing home and contents insurance, then it is time to consider a stand alone bicycle insurance policy. Keep the following points in mind before you finalise which one you wish to buy:
- If you regularly ride your bike away from home, for example when on holiday, choose a policy that covers your bike riding worldwide.
- Check the policy wording regarding bike race coverage as not all policies cover both domestic and timed, organised race riding.
- Ask about how Medicare or personal health insurance affect the policy. For example, if there is a gap between costs paid by private health insurance and the total bill, will the insurance policy you choose cover the shortfall?
If you have been involved in a bike accident with an uninsured rider, and you have been left out of pocket for expenses such as medical bills, then a reputable personal injury lawyer can help you to try and recover some of these costs
If it is possible that you could cause an accident—and every time you head out on your bike this is a possibility—then you must have adequate insurance in place. Doing so will help to make sure your family is not left reeling from costs that you cannot cover, and that an accident does not impact on your family's future for a long time to come.