The Importance of SUM insurance for Bicycle Accident Victims

by kiernanh on December 13, 2012

Indulging in the world of cycling is not only healthy and exciting, but it is also dangerous and potentially hazardous to your life. When you are forced to share the road with thousands of pounds metal and inattentive drivers, you are subsequently putting yourself in harm’s way where bicycle accidents can sometimes be inevitable.

When these accidents occur, as a victim of someone else’s carelessness, you are entitled to compensation that helps cover the cost of the resulting medical bulls. The driver’s insurance is required to hire representation and pay for the compensation that the judge awards the plaintiff. However, the insurance companies are only required to cover the costs up to a certain point, where then the defendant is left to cover any discrepancies. If the defendant cannot cover the remaining costs, then they will be deemed as “judgement-proof” and the injured cyclist will have little recourse to collect the remaining balance.

To make more sense of this, we will use an example from New York. In New York, a motorist is only required to have $25,000 in liability coverage. If this motorist ends up getting in a car accident and harming someone else, their insurance is only responsible for costs up to this point. Since medical bills, especially those that occur when a cyclist is involved, can go well over this $25,000 and quickly into the $100,000 range, it is most likely that the motorist will be left with outstanding costs that they cannot pay and thus the cyclist never gets.

This is where Supplementary Underinsured Motorist coverage comes in to play. If the cyclist had purchased this additional coverage generally referred to as SUM, then instead of being stuck with these outstanding medical bills, their SUM would kick in and cover the difference up to their policy limits. Thus, instead of being forced to suffer another misfortune in the form of life changing medical bills, the cyclist simply uses their SUM coverage to make sure that this isn’t the case and that they are able to get their life back.

The reason not everyone already has SUM coverage is because most people are not willing to pay an additional fee for insurance that they think they will never have to use. Nobody wants to picture themselves going through an accident, but the truth is that accidents happen. They are unintended and unexpected, as represented by the very nature of the name accident, and almost impossible to avoid when they do present themselves. As a cyclist, you are even more at risk considering that you are less noticeable by inattentive drivers and the collision is more traumatic due to the size of your bike compared to the mass of a vehicle. While SUM coverage should be purchased by all motorist as a safety precaution, it is for the aforementioned reasons that it is of an absolute essence for cyclist to purchase it.

Do not let a bad thing become worse and ultimately life-altering. Know the nature of the activities you participate in and the risks that accompany it, and be prepared for the worst case scenario so that in the ill-fated event it does occur, you are fully prepared and can limit the extent of the repercussions.

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