Why Cyclists Need Extra Insurance


You may think you have good insurance that fully protects you against injury while you are riding. The truth is, though, that if you crash you will probably face the unpleasant surprise of finding, too late, that your current insurance is not enough. 

Balance for Cyclists, our new supplemental injury insurance policy built exclusively for cyclists is now available in most states. Balance insures you whenever and wherever you are on a bike – because crashes are unpredictable. The policy pays you directly to provide money you can decide how to use for costs that your primary insurance may not cover – or for any other purpose.  

Most policies have large coverage gaps.You could be financially responsible for the following:

Deductibles. That’s the amount you have to pay up front each year before your health insurance kicks in. Most people today have a deductible that exceeds $3,000 for a single individual and can be as high as $15,800 for a family. 

Coinsurance. Even after you have satisfied your deductible, many health policies require you to share some of the subsequent costs with the insurance company. Typically, your share will be 20%.

(In 2019, by law, insurers will be permitted to require you to pay up to a total of $7,900 annually in deductibles and coinsurance as an individual and $15,800 if you have family coverage).

Balance Billing. This is a big one. It’s the amount of the bill you can be stuck with if you are treated by a medical service provider that does not participate in your insurer’s network and charges more than what the insurance company considers “reasonable and customary.”  This problem is particularly acute with air ambulance services which often charge $20,000 to $75,000 for a medical emergency flight.

Service Fees. Typically imposed by hospitals, these are charges that are not specifically for medical treatment and, therefore, not covered by insurance. Emergency rooms, for example, often add a separate“trauma team activation fee”to the bill.  The nominal purpose is to cover the cost of having all the necessary specialist medical personnel and equipment available and ready-to-go when a seriously-injured patient arrives. Service fees are unregulated and vary widely by hospital, ranging from $5,000 to $60,000.

Health insurance only covers medical expenses. You’re on the hook for everything else. After a serious crash, one involving life-altering injuries (like paralysis, loss of limbs or traumatic brain injury, you can face thousands of dollars of non-medical costs. Here are some examples:

Loss of income.

Reduced future earning capacity.  

Family travel and living expenses while receiving treatment at a faraway, specialized hospital or rehabilitation facility. 

Home and/or vehicle adaptations or new purchases to facilitate mobility.

Attendant caregiver costs.

Cost of moving to be near medical providers or family.

Legal expenses.

Non-covered extended treatment for rehabilitation exceeding insurance coverage.

These kinds of unanticipated expenses can rapidly deplete a family’s savings. Apart from the physical pain, the financial consequences of a crash can be devastating. It’s a sad fact that medical-related debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States today. You have to ask yourself:  how prepared am I to handle such a financial burden? This is a question for today, before you go out on your next ride. Because crashes happen.