When I blogged yesterday about the Syracuse New York bicycle Accident case in which the bicyclist was abandoned at the scene with severe brain damage by a hit-and-run driver, I forgot to mention something that all New York bicyclists should keep in mind. No, it is not another safety tip. It is an insurance tip. Here me out Central New York cyclists!
The driver who struck our cyclist and left him lying there in the road obviously will not be providing auto insurance coverage to him. That’s called a “hit-and-run”, and of course, it’s a crime. But the fact that it’s a crime doesn’t help our injured cyclist. What would help him is some insurance coverage for his bicycle accident. But where can he find some? Here’s where: If our cyclist owns a car, or lives with a relative who owns a car, the auto insurance for that car will provide him with coverage for the hit-and-run collision. And even if he does not own a car, or live with a relative he owns one, a State-run fund called the “Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation” (“MVAIC”) will provide similar coverage.
There are two types of coverage that will be provided either by the auto insurance or (if there is none) MVAIC: (1) no-fault coverage (up to $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages, and (2) Supplemental Uninsured Motorist Coverage ( in the law business we just call it “SUM” coverage). SUM coverage provides a minimum of $25,000 to this injured bicyclist to compensate his pain and suffering as well as any medical expenses and lost wages beyond what no-fault covers.
If you are a cyclist, is a good idea to purchase additional SUM coverage. You can purchase SUM coverage up to a level that matches your liability coverage. So, for example, if you are covered up to $100,000 for injuries you cause to others (called” bodily injury” insurance), you can purchase that same amount in SUM coverage to protect yourself if you get hit by an uninsured (or underinsured) vehicle. It is a bargain, too — purchasing the additional coverage will raise your premiums by only a few dollars a month, and will provide you will much needed additional protection if you suffer a serious injury through the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver.
This poor cyclist is a good example of why you should purchase the maximum amount of SUM coverage. He has a serious brain injury. He will “blow through” his $50,000 of no-fault insurance in a heartbeat. If he is laid up and can’t work for a significant period of time, then the $25,000 SUM coverage won’t be nearly enough to pay his bills. If he had any additional SUM coverage, it would come to his rescue.
Cyclists: Ask your insurance agent about maximizing your SUM coverage! You never know when you will need it.