Whether it’s a middle-aged woman going out for a jog, a senior on their daily walk or a youngster riding their first bike, vehicles threaten walkers and cyclists.
In 2020 alone, an average of 18 pedestrians a day were killed in the United States, leading to more than 6,500 deaths a year. In the case of injuries to a pedestrian, expenses can pile up in the form of medical bills, pain and suffering, and an inability to work.
Auto insurance covers or helps cover pedestrian injuries in an accident, but what is covered depends on your insurance type and your policy limits. Keep on reading for more information related to car insurance coverage for pedestrians.
- Talk to your agent to understand how your auto insurance can cover the costs of injuries if you hit a pedestrian or if you are hit as a pedestrian.
- In most states, the bodily injury liability portion of your insurance will pay for medical bills and related expenses in a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident, if you are at fault.
- In other states, injured pedestrians might be covered through the driver’s auto insurance or through their own Personal Injury Protection coverage.
- Does car insurance cover you as a pedestrian or cyclist?
- Does car insurance cover you if you hit a pedestrian?
- What to do if you hit a pedestrian
- How does insurance work with pedestrian/vehicle accidents?
- Will your car insurance rates increase if you hit a pedestrian?
- Final thoughts: Car insurance and pedestrians
- Resources & Methodology
Does car insurance cover you as a pedestrian or cyclist?
Car insurance covers you if you are hit when walking or biking or if you are a driver that hits a pedestrian or cyclist. The bodily injury liability portion of your insurance or Personal Injury Protection coverage typically kicks in to pay for damages. Which portion of insurance provides coverage depends on your state.
For example, if you live in a tort insurance state, your bodily injury liability should cover expenses related to pedestrian accidents. Likewise, if you are hit as a pedestrian, the driver’s bodily injury liability should cover expenses related to you if they are at fault.
Does car insurance cover you if you hit a pedestrian?
The short answer is yes, as long as your policy limits are high enough. The portion of your insurance known as bodily injury liability pays for the medical expenses of a pedestrian if you hit someone while driving. However, these payouts will be limited by the amount of bodily injury liability you purchase.
For example, if you purchase a 25/50/25 policy, your insurance company will pay up to $25,000 per person per accident and up to $50,000 in total per accident for the medical bills, funeral expenses, or even loss of income that your actions may cause. If bills exceed your policy limits and you are at fault for the accident, you are liable for the remainder.
But if you are the one who is injured as a pedestrian. Insurance payments can be processed through your own insurance or the driver’s insurance depending on whether you live in a no-fault state or in a tort state.
If you live in a no-fault state, you should talk to your auto agent to understand how coverage works, but the part of your policy known as Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) could cover payments for your own injuries, according to Lauren Mckenzie, insurance broker/agent with A Plus Insurance.
“These coverages are offered by law in each state and the limits may vary,” she said. “Some common limits are $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. If you have this additional coverage on your auto policy, your insurance will pay out that set amount if you suffer injuries while walking and are hit by a vehicle.”
What to do if you hit a pedestrian
If you hit a pedestrian while driving, the first thing to do is stop your vehicle and get out to check on the pedestrian. Leaving the scene of an accident is a hit-and-run and is a crime in every state, according to alllaw.com.
Once you have stopped your vehicle, you should:
- Call 911 to get medical help for anyone who needs it
- If anyone is injured, even slightly, contact the local police department and file a police report
- Exchange contact and insurance information with anyone involved
- You may want to take pictures of the accident scene or talk to any witnesses who saw what happened
- Report the crash to your car insurance company
How does insurance work with pedestrian/vehicle accidents?
In most states, if you are found to be at fault in an accident that involves a pedestrian, the bodily-injury liability portion of your insurance covers the payments for the pedestrian’s medical bills and other expenses.
That said, there are a dozen states, known as no-fault states, where you could file a claim with your insurance company to be reimbursed for medical expenses. To do this, you must have Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments as part of your insurance package.
“It is important to speak with your insurance provider as coverages vary in each state, and some states are considered no fault,” said Mckenzie.
Although at many times, pedestrian accidents are caused by driver attention, a pedestrian also may be negligent if they jay-walked or were not in a crosswalk and stepped out in front of you. A driver is not always automatically at fault, according to alllaw.com.
Will your car insurance rates increase if you hit a pedestrian?
Your rates may increase if you hit a pedestrian. You can reach out to your insurance provider and ask these questions after an accident. A rate increase depends on whether you’ve had other recent claims, if you have a poor driving record or the type of coverage you have.
Some insurance companies allow you to make a claim or a certain number of claims before they raise your rates. Be sure to ask your auto insurance provider about these details.
Final thoughts: Car insurance and pedestrians
Another related scenario is when the driver of a vehicle hits a pedestrian and the driver is uninsured or he or she leaves the scene, committing a ‘hit and run.’ Then another portion of your insurance can kick it. Mckenzie called it the Uninsured Motorist portion of your insurance, but this insurance may be mandatory or optional in the state in which you live. You may want to ask your agent about this, too.
No matter the situation, it’s essential to understand your auto insurance policy so you are fully protected in an accident, whether with a runner, walker or cyclist or if you are injured as one of these.
“Check with your insurance provider about the additional coverages offered that may need to be added to your auto policy to ensure you would be covered medically for any injuries suffered if you were hit by an automobile while out walking,” Mckenzie says.
Resources & Methodology
Alllaw. “What if my car accident involved a pedestrian?” Accessed April 2023.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Pedestrian Safety.” Accessed April 2023.
De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers. “Does a Hit & Run Increase My Insurance?” Accessed April 2023.
United States Department of Transportation. “Everyone is a Pedestrian.” Accessed April 2023.
Why you can trust CarInsurance.com
The CarInsurance.com editorial team bases its reporting on data it commissioned Quadrant Information Services to gather on average auto insurance rates for more than 34K ZIP codes across the United States. Typically, averages are based on rates for a single, 40-year-old male, with no violations who commutes 12 miles to work each day and has a full-coverage policy with limits of 100/300/100 and a $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage.