Thank you so much for your tip on raising the uninsured motorist coverage on my auto liability policy. Looks like $500,000 per person & $1,000,000 per accident will only cost me $100 per year…probably the most prudent cycling-related decision I’ve ever made! Now I can relax while I’m drinking coffee and talking about how fast I used to be, and if an uninsured or under-insured motorist plows thru the coffee shop, I’ll be covered! Thank you Wankmeister!
Congratulations on bucking the norm for cyclists–i.e. you actually made a smart decision, and more incredibly, it had to do with cycling, and (almost) unbelievably, it potentially benefits your wife and kids. To recap: 85% of drivers in California only carry the minimum liability insurance, which is $15,000. This means that when some drunk chick coming back from an all-nighter in Redondo runs you over on Sunday morning–yes, that’s the horrific, infamous case we all know about–you are only able to recover $15k. This barely pays for the first couple of hours you’ll spend eating through a tube. The remaining 262,800 hours left, assuming you live another 30 years, you’ll be S.O.L. “UM” coverage is the insurance tacked onto your policy that covers you when someone hits you with insufficient coverage, as in the above example. And although some insurance agents will swear otherwise, your uninsured motorist coverage, at least in California, covers you if you’re on the bike, or you’re a pedestrian and you get whacked by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Guess what? It happens all the time: biker gets hit, has lots of medical bills, and the offending driver is only on the hook for the first $15k. The remainder? Comes out of the biker’s pocket or the biker winds up in bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills. The great news, as Yusta Befit points out above, is that you can jack your UM coverage up to very high levels for only a few bucks. Considering all the useless bike crap you spend money on in a year, this is the bargain of all bargains. Imagine how happy your significant other will be when you smile up at him/her through a full-body cast and say, “Don’t worry, honey, we’re covered!”