As e-bikes become more popular, the unfortunate reality is that there are more kids ending up in harm’s way on our roadways. Even if they follow all the rules, there remains the possibility of them being struck by a car while sharing the road with vehicles. Wearing a helmet, knowing the rules of the road, and staying off busy streets is always the priority. Most parents who purchase e-bikes for the children are protecting them and coaching them up properly. However, many parents may not also appreciate that their children are covered by their auto insurance while on the road.
How to use UIM coverage
Every auto policy in California is required to provide uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage (UIM). This coverage is triggered if a covered individual is injured by a vehicle which has no insurance or has less insurance than their policy provides. A minor child – even if not of driving age and not specifically listed on an auto policy – is considered a covered individual for purposes of UIM protection.
This coverage is triggered so long as a vehicle makes contact and causes injury. The person injured does not need to occupy a vehicle identified in the policy. They could be a pedestrian, riding in an Uber/Lyft, or riding on a scooter, bike or an e-bike. For this reason, if you purchase an e-bike for your child, it is important to look to your auto policy and make sure that you have enough UIM coverage to provide financial protection should an accident happen.
What amount of UIM coverage is enough?
In California, a driver is compliant with the law if they have $15,000 in liability coverage. This was established in 1975. The cost of medical care has increased exponentially since then. Even a one-night stay in the hospital could end up being two to three times that much. We encourage you to increase your UIM limits to the highest figure you can manage. At the very least, make sure your UIM limits match your liability limits. Sadly, many insurance companies drop the UIM limits to reduce premiums while leaving liability limits high. Check your policy and make sure you have ample coverage.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, you want your focus to be on your child and not on how the medical bills are going to be paid. Having good UIM coverage on your auto policy can provide that peace of mind.