I Ride My Bicycle Every Day. How Can I Protect Myself?

Updated: Aug 17

Your friend was riding their bike to work and got doored by someone. Their injuries weren't too severe, but it damaged the bike. So not only did they have to see a doctor (and pay the deductible), they also had to pay to fix their bike. Now you’re worried about protecting yourself and your super expensive bicycle. 

In short: Know the laws for the bicyclists and follow them. A renter's insurance policy will cover damage or theft of your bike caused by others, or damage or injuries you cause to others. A non-owned auto insurance policy with under- or uninsured motorist coverage will cover the cost of your injuries or damage to your bike in the scenario that an under- or uninsured driver hits you while you're riding your bike.

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Biking and the City: What if You Get Hit?

Some days getting around the city can be brutal. You’re constantly alert for cars, buses, taxis, double parked delivery trucks, other bikers with headphones on (seriously what?!), jaywalking pedestrians looking at their phones (sheesh!), drivers texting and running the red lights (helloooooo police officers, can you please ticket those people?!), and rideshare vehicles parked in the bike lane (give ‘em a big ol’ thumbs down when you pass if it makes you feel better. Go on!).

So, what happens when you get injured, or your bike gets damaged by someone else on the street?

Typically, their insurance should pay for your medical bills and damaged bike. 

But the catastrophic scenario that you need to know about is this:

You’re riding your bike and a driver hits you, and they either:

  1. Flee the scene.

  2. Are uninsured or underinsured. This is one of life’s negative lottery moments.

There’s a low but non-zero probability that this will happen (one in eight drivers nationwide were uninsured in 2015). If this happens, you’re stuck with the costs of any damage or injuries. That’s right, you’ll get $0 from the other driver.

Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

Let’s look at damages first

A renter’s insurance policy will provide coverage for certain scenarios. Usually, it covers loss or damage of your property caused by other people. So, if your bike was stolen or damaged by someone else, a renter’s insurance policy may cover the cost of your bike up to a certain amount depending on the policy and how much the bike is worth. This is also true if you park you bike and come back to it to find it damaged or vandalized.

Now, let’s talk about injuries

Your renter’s insurance would not cover the cost of your injuries if an under- or uninsured motorist hits you while you’re riding your bike. Let’s say that again: your renter’s insurance would NOT cover the cost of your injuries. If you have your own auto insurance, you may have coverage for this scenario. But if you don’t own a car and don’t have auto insurance, you just got a major life penalty because some jerk was a bad driver and didn’t have enough insurance.

The good news is, even if you don't own a car, you can buy what is called a non-owner car insurance policy. Generally, you can add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to these types of policies. This type of coverage would provide payments for the cost of your injuries and damage to your bike in the above scenario.

A policy like this would also provide coverage for you if you were to borrow or rent a vehicle. 

Biking and the City Part 2: What If You Hit Someone Else?

What happens if you cause damage or injury to someone else or yourself while you’re riding your bike? A renter’s insurance policy will provide liability coverage if you ride into someone on the sidewalk and injure them or damage their bike. In this scenario, your policy will pay for their medical bills and the cost to fix their bike. 

However, a renter’s insurance policy wouldn’t cover the cost of any damages to your bike that you caused. For example, if you hit a large pothole (hello Boston roads in the spring) and bend your wheel rim, you’ll have to pay to fix it on your own. Even if you were swerving to avoid a vehicle in the bike lane. Yeah. Bummer.

Built-in Protection You Don't See

Some days, we wish we could ride around town in bubble wrap and give tickets to all the cars parked in the bike lane. While we can’t do that, we can be prepared.

That means:

  • Paying attention to your surroundings

  • Avoiding distractions like headphones and cellphones (and don’t be like that guy who was vaping on a scooter)

  • Wearing safety gear (Helmets! Lights! Did I say helmets? Helmets!).

It also means carrying insurance that protects you whether you’re biking, walking, or just sitting in your apartment.

Surround is changing the way you protect yourself. Gone are the days of having to carry more than one policy to provide you with all the protection you need. Surround provides the protection of both a renter’s and a non-owned auto insurance policy all in one convenient Starter Pack. So, you and your bike will be protected when you travel around the city, no matter what happens. We are making it simple to get the coverage you need whenever you need it. 

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