Going carless; it seems like it is becoming more popular these days in Chicago. Though traffic congestion seems as daunting as ever, a lot of city people are choosing to live, work, shop and play without a car. Many use public transportation, bicycles or plain shoe leather to get around and find that they simply don't miss their old four wheeled motorized friend, and the cost and negative environmental impact that went with it. For those occasions when a car or truck is necessary, renting a vehicle by the hour is easy and relatively cheap via services like iGo and Zipcar. While I own a car, I must tip my hat to those who do without by choice. However, there is at least one important downside to not owning a car, not having car insurance.
As I've described in the past, a bicyclist's own motor vehicle insurance may provide coverage if he or she is seriously injured by a motorist who either lacks insurance or who has insufficient coverage. Even when riding a bicycle, the uninsured or underinsured motorist provision of a cyclist's own car insurance may protect him or her in this situation. For example, a car owning bicyclist is out riding around when he is struck and injured by a driver. The cyclist sustains $100,000 in damages as a result. The driver only has a $20,000 insurance policy, and the biker has $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. In that circumstance, the driver's insurer should turn over the $20,000, and the cyclist's own insurer should cover the remaining $80,000 to fully compensate the bicyclist. But what of the carless bicyclist? To protect himself or herself, the carless person would be wise to purchase a non-owners car insurance policy. These policies are offered by many insurance companies and tend to cost considerably less than a car owners policy. Importantly, they will protect the non-car owning bicyclist who is injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. These policies may also protect the non car owning pedestrian who is injured by a driver. The other nice thing about non-owners policies is that if you decide that the no car thing is not for you, you will have established an insurance history which may help you get a fair rate on car insurance.
Not all insurance policies are the same. Non-owners car insurance policies may differ materially from one to the other, so make sure that you ask your insurance agent lots of questions, making sure you understand exactly when the policy you are buying will and will not cover you.
Click here to read more about non-owners car insurance.