Cyclists don't need insurance to ride their bikes. That's a good thing. But this might get a cyclist into some binds. There are, however, things you can do to make sure that you and your bike are covered in the case of a collision or fall. The following information is specific to Ontario, Canada but might be relevant for other areas as well. You're best to speak with an insurance broker in your city if you have more questions.
If a cyclist is in a collision with a car, any damage to your bike can be claimed under the insurance policy of the car driver. You need to make sure you actually get the insurance number and name of their insurance company. If it's a hit and run try to get the license plate number so you can try to track down the driver through the police.
Police will not come to the scene of a car/car collision with less than $1000 in damages. Instead a police report will need to be made at one of the reporting centres. It's more likely that police will come if there is a likely injury. Police will attend any car vs. cyclist/pedestrian collision in Toronto. Cyclists and pedestrians are not required to attend a collision centre. This is from an agreement with former Chief Boothby and turned into an order by former Chief Fatino years later.
If a cyclist is involved in a collision this is where no-fault insurance kicks in. This means that a driver will always claim first under their own policy for accident benefits due to injuries. Now, many cyclists don't have car insurance themselves, but might be covered under a family member's car insurance if they are a dependent. If that's not the case then the cyclist will claim accident benefits under the car driver's policy. No-fault insurance also means the cyclist cannot sue the car driver unless injuries exceed a certain threshold.
If there is a hit and run that causes injuries the cyclist would be best off getting the license plate number, or having a witness around that can support the police report. In this case a cyclist with proof of a hit and run can make a claim under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Fund. Also the cyclist should get an ambulance or go to a hospital themselves to get a doctor's report as evidence. It's quite easy to underestimate the damage to your body since you often go into shock after sustaining injuries. Always keep this in mind and get checked out by paramedics. Internal head injuries might not become evident for 6-12 hours, by which time it might be too late to avoid death.
If the collision causes serious, permanent damage then the cyclist can sue. Time for the cyclist to get a good lawyer, have good witnesses and a hospital report.
If an insurance agent is uncooperative there are ways to put on the pressure. You can first ask to speak to a supervisor or case manager. If this doesn't help, in Ontario you can ask to speak with the Consumer Complaint Officer (use exact phrase) which will let them know that you know what's going on. The CCO must respond in writing within 48 hours to your complaint. Then if you aren't happy with the CCO response you can speak to the ombudsman of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, or even directly with the FSCO for arbitration or mediation. This is when it gets really serious and the FSCO can audit the agent or even the entire company. Companies want to avoid this hassle as much as possible so they are likely to be much more cooperative if threatened with the FSCO. If you are traveling in another province or country please make sure you get travel insurance. Ontario can still cover you, but you are better off with the travel insurance which will cover hospital stays, luggage replacement and things of that nature. If you feel that the fall or collision is due to faulty public infrastructure such as potholes then you can make claims to the municipal, provincial or federal governments. All claims must be made within 7 days of the incident and you must prove damage to your bike or injuries. Take photos of the scene, your bike. Get estimates of fixing the bike, and get a hospital report if you have injuries.
Source: Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists