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Judge and Gavel
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  • Richard L. Duquette

Taking a Risk Could Lead to Bankruptcy

It was such a pleasure to again sponsor the Encinitas Sports Festival. There were some great races and rides, great people, and of course it was great FUN! But, while I was in the midst of so many capable bicyclists I couldn’t help but think about the danger many of these road warriors face sharing the road with cars. Bankruptcy.

During these hard economic times, I continue to see serious bicycle accidents happen to people who don’t have adequate insurance coverage. According to a recent Harvard University study, 62% of injury victims are driven into bankruptcy. Moreover, about 78% of the bankruptcy filers burdened by health care expenses were insured, according to an American Journal of Medicine survey (Los Angeles Times Business Section, 6/4/09)

During the recession, many people will scale back and take a chance in order to save a few bucks. Some will go bare, some will go underinsured, and some will go with cheap insurance companies. Don’t be tempted. Instead, I urge you to retain strong auto insurance (including under and uninsured) coverage, because in this economy it is more important now than ever. Think about it: the stranger who hits you may be underinsured or uninsured entirely! Studies show that about 13% of all US drivers are uninsured. While that doesn’t sound like a very high number, it translates into 32 million uninsured motorists on the road—which is more than enough to cause trouble! (North County Times Business Section, 6/17/09)

One sure-fire solution to this frightening problem is to carry strong un/under insured motorist auto coverage with a back-up umbrella policy that extends to under/uninsured motorists. Read your policy carefully, though, as there is a trend to exclude this type of coverage if injured while riding a bicycle. (Rumor has it, AAA is doing this).

Many bicyclists are unaware of how important it is to carry a strong automobile uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage policy. Most people think it only protects you in your car, but it will also protect you if you are hit by a car while on your bicycle or on foot. It seems counterintuitive that a bicycle injury is covered by your auto insurance carrier, but it’s true!


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