What kind of insurance covers you when you’re injured on your bike because of a child? I’m Jim Dodson, the Florida Bike Guy. Want to talk to you a little bit about how homeowners insurance works in Florida and how it works to help you and cover you while you’re on your bike.
We had a case recently that I think illustrates something about homeowners insurance that most people probably don’t understand. I had a client who’s a very experienced cyclist, retired to Florida, riding in the bike lane in a residential neighborhood, approaching a condominium. And unbeknownst to him, there’s this 15-year-old child riding her bicycle in the parking lot of the condominium. She was blocked from his view and they couldn’t see each other. As he approached, the child rode out of the condominium parking driveway right into him in the bike lane and he crashed, and he was thrown down, and suffered a pretty significant injury to his shoulder that later required surgery. This is a homeowner’s claim.
I’ll tell you, this case had some unique circumstances as to why we were able to successfully get it resolved. The thing that I want us to remember as cyclists is that if you injure somebody and you’re on your bike, your homeowners insurance, if you own a home, or if you have renters insurance if you rent, will provide protection for you if you drive into someone, you ride into a pedestrian or somehow cause an injury that someone wants to bring a claim against you. But it also protects you as a cyclist when you need to hold someone financially responsible for an injury you suffered because of something that they did.
The circumstances of this case, which really kind of perfectly came together and illustrate what I want to talk about. The first thing that happened in this situation was that someone called the police. This wasn’t a motor vehicle collision, so everybody doesn’t think about calling the police when you’re injured in this type of a crash. It happened on a public roadway so therefore the police responded and the police did not know what to do really when they got there but they did write a report. What’s the significance of that? The first thing is it identified the child. It identified secondly, that the collision occurred in the bike lane, which is a very important part of the investigation. And it identified the name of the parents of the child, really critical information. So many times, I’ll have someone call me, they’ve been injured on the trail for instance by another cyclist, whether it’s an adult or a child, but the cyclist rides off and we don’t have any idea who they were. Your ability to pursue a claim in that situation totally disappears when that cyclist, who is unidentified, simply disappears down the trail. First, we identified who the cyclist was.
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Secondly, so they’ve identified the child, they’ve identified the parents of the child, we then had the address for the parents and wrote a letter to them requesting their homeowners insurance. The second thing that came together was that the parents responded and they gave us their homeowners insurance and luckily for our client, they owned a home and had good coverage. Then we were able to write to the homeowners insurance carrier and put them on notice of the claim and ultimately get it resolved when my client was finished with their treatment.
The takeaways for us as cyclist, if your ever injured on your bike because of someone who’s walking, someone who’s on one of these rental E-scooters, someone who is walking their dog, or the dog injures you, whether it’s parents or a child, whether they’re on a bicycle, on a scooter, on their tricycle, however it happens, that is a potential homeowners claim. And you need to make sure you identify who they are so that we can identify who the homeowners insurance company is. There’s no public record of that information. It has to come directly from the person who has the policy. But it also protects you as a cyclist. Things can happen in our lives as well. If you inadvertently run into a pedestrian, or run into another cyclist, or cause injury to somebody in some way, your homeowners insurance, if you own a home with homeowners, or if you rent, I definitely urge you to get renters insurance if you rent in an apartment or don’t own your home, because it provides essentially the same coverage that homeowners does and it’s very inexpensive.
I think the takeaway is for us to understand how broad homeowners insurance covers. Like, in this situation, the people lived in North Carolina, they’re visiting relatives in Florida, their homeowners insurance in North Carolina provided the coverage that we used to make my client whole in the settlement of their case.
That’s our tip of the day in terms of getting coverage to protect you or to pay the damage that’s done by somebody else if you’re injured by a