Monday, March 21, 2011

Under Insured Motorists and Bicycles in Illinois

As of the date of this post the mandatory minimum legal limits of insurance coverage to drive an automobile in the state if Illinois are $20,000. An effort was made this year to increase the liability limits, but it was killed almost immediately.

I estimate that about half of all drivers with insurance in Chicago only have $20,000 of insurance coverage. Think about this... One night in the hospital could cost way in excess of $20,000.

Most people in Illinois aren't overly worried about under-insured motorists becuase most people in Illinois carry under-insured motorist insurance coverage as part of their regular bundle of auto insurance. Car-free cyclists, on the other hand, typically do not have auto coverage, so if they are involved in an accident with a negligent motorist the only insurance is the motorist's.

I suggest that bicyclists carry their own auto coverage for only the under-insured/uninsured motorist coverage. An operator's policy costs less than a couple hundred dollars a year, and it can offer a good deal of coverage for under-insured motorists, uninsured motorists, and hit-and-run motorists.

Safeco and Progressive both offer such coverage as "operator's policies" or non-owner policies. It's cheaper than regular auto coverage becuase you don't own a car. I know car free cyclists who sometimes rent a car. If they have a non-owner's policy they can forgo the rental insurance. If you rent a car a few times a year, the money you save in optional insurance will pay for the non-owner's policy, and it will cover you all year round.

If you have questions about this type of coverage please feel free to call to talk about it.