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									HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR SPARE TIRE LATELY? Automobile Insurance Coverage for Bicycle Riders If you are the type of person who checks your spare tire before you get a flat, you may not need to read this article. However, if you typically overlook preventive maintenance, you should consider this advice. Bicycle riders tend to incur severe injuries and high medical expenses when involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Have you considered how you will pay your medical expenses if you are injured in a bicycle accident? Even with the best health insurance coverage, there is usually a deductible and/or a copayment that you will be responsible for paying. But, did you know that your automobile insurance policy may provide additional coverage? So, you may say that your children are the ones who ride bicycles; or, that you do not personally have an auto or auto insurance. Yet, all automobile policies issued in North Carolina provide coverage not only for the named insured, but also your spouse, and any family members living in the same household. Accordingly, almost all bicycle riders will have access to automobile insurance coverage. The first type of auto insurance that may provide coverage when a bicyclist is injured in an accident is medical payments coverage. Med pay, as it is called, is optional coverage in North Carolina that can be purchased in conjunction with your automobile insurance policy. This coverage means that your insurance company will reimburse you, or any of your family members, for any injury sustained if you are hit by a motor vehicle regardless of who was at fault. Medical payments coverage is generally issued in amounts of $1,000, $2,000 or $5,000. This insurance is fairly inexpensive, but you have to ask for it. It is also important for bicyclists to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to protect themselves in the event of an accident. Uninsured and underinsured coverage is mandatory in conjunction with your liability coverage, unless you sign a waiver. Uninsured coverage simply means that your insurance company will pay if you get hit by an at-fault, uninsured vehicle. Underinsured coverage provides additional insurance if the atfault driver who hit you does not have enough insurance. In North Carolina, the minimum amount of insurance coverage required is $30,000.00. Due to the cost of medical services and the likelihood that severe injuries occur in a bicycle accident, $30,000.00 may not cover all of the medical expenses and other damages incurred.

Accordingly, it is my opinion that underinsured coverage is very important coverage for bicyclists. Underinsured coverage can now be purchased in excess of your primary liability coverage and in amounts up to $1,000,000.00. Like medical payments coverage, this insurance is relatively inexpensive.
Med pay, uninsured, and underinsured coverage can be very important when a bicyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Hopefully, you will never need to use this coverage, but, like your spare tire, you will be thankful you have it when the occasion arises. A quick check of your spare tire and make sure you are covered should the need arise.

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