Does Auto Insurance Cover Medical Expenses?
After a serious accident, auto insurance is the last thing injured people think about. Some drivers are only concerned about the welfare of their family members and passengers. Those who are injured just want to be able to go to a hospital to receive much-needed medical assistance without worrying about staggering bills.
After a person recovers from the accident, the real shock sets in. They receive expensive medical bills related to their accident from healthcare facilities that expect them to pay.
Although no one wants to think about being involved in an accident, but it's essential to know whether or not you have enough medical coverage on your policy before the worst happens. In this article, you'll learn under which circumstances auto insurance will cover your medical expenses.
Your Auto Insurance Company Determines Who Is at Fault Before Paying Your Medical Expenses
Car accidents usually involve law enforcement. The police officer dispatched to the scene will do an investigation to determine who is at fault for the incident. That driver is then responsible for paying for vehicle damages and any resulting medical bills.
If you have personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage, you'll have insurance to pay for you and your passengers' medical bills. These insurance policies will only pay up to the coverage amount on the auto insurance policy.
Do Auto Policies Cover Medical Expenses?
Yes, car insurance can pay your medical expenses following an accident, but the coverage depends on four factors:
Your state's auto insurance laws.
Which driver is at fault for the accident.
Which insurance coverage you have on your vehicle?
Whether or not you have medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP).
Who Pays for Medical Expenses Following an Accident?
If you cause an accident, you won't receive health care coverage unless you have the right insurance in place. Here are three scenarios that could impact your healthcare coverage after a car accident.
Who Pays for the Medical Bills?
You are (or a family member is) responsible for the accident
Auto insurance (MedPay/PIP) or your health Insurance
The other driver is responsible
The other driver's liability insurance
Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP)
The Other Driver Is Responsible
Each state has minimum auto insurance requirements for drivers. Most states require bodily injury liability, which pays for another driver's healthcare expenses if you cause an accident.
If the other driver causes the accident, their bodily injury liability would pay for your expenses up to their policy's limits. If your expenses exceed insurance medical payments limits, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover the rest.
You're Responsible for the Accident
If you're at-fault, your insurance may not cover your healthcare expenses unless you have the right coverage options. Your healthcare expenses will be covered if you have Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP). These options pay for drivers' medical expenses, regardless of who caused the accident, up to policy limits.
You Live in a No-Fault State
Check to see if you live in a no-fault state. If you do, your Personal Injury Protection will pay for your medical coverage, rehabilitation costs or funeral expenses, up to policy limits.
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Which Auto Insurance Covers My Medical Expenses Following a Car Accident?
Medical payments coverage is part of some auto insurance policies. It may pay for medical expenses for you or your passengers. Insurers sometimes call this coverage "medical expense coverage" or "MedPay."
Medical payments can cover the following medical expenses:
- Ambulance and emergency technician (EMT) fees
- Doctors or hospital visits
- Deductibles and co-pays for health insurance
- Professional nursing services and care
- Prosthetic limbs
- Emergency surgery following an accident
- Screenings such as X-rays
- Injuries you sustained as a pedestrian while riding a bicycle when a vehicle hits yourself
- Funeral expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
MedPay coverage follows the policyholder. This coverage protects you if you're involved in a car accident while walking, riding in another person's or using public transportation. It also follows you throughout the country.
MedPay doesn't apply to every car accident situation. For instance, MedPay won't provide coverage if you have an accident in an attached trailer.
How Does Medical Payments Coverage Work?
After an accident, your medical payments or PIP coverage is usually the primary insurance that covers your hospital bills. However, some car insurance companies have changed their rules so that a person's health insurance is the primary insurance to cover the charges. See which applies to your car insurance policy. Contact your local insurance agent for more information about your insurance policy.
In order to get reimbursed for medical bills from your auto insurance policy, you must file a claim. There are two ways that MedPay helps pay for medical bills and claims:
Medical Payments as the Primary Coverage
MedPay requires you to pay for your medical bills first. After you've paid your bill, you can file a claim with your auto insurance company to reimburse you for your expenses. This coverage doesn't have co-payments or deductibles.
MedPay as the Secondary Coverage
Your health insurance company would pay for your health care expenses. MedPay may pay for your deductibles and co-pays.
How Does Medical Payments Coverage Differ from Bodily Liability Coverage
Most states require auto liability insurance by law. If you cause an accident, liability coverage will pay for:
Property damage. Property damage liability coverage reimburses another driver for damages that you caused to their personal property following an auto accident.
Bodily injury. Bodily injury liability coverage reimburses the other driver and their passengers for their medical expenses following an accident you caused. It also pays for their rehabilitation and funeral costs.
Bodily injury liability coverage doesn't pay for your medical expenses or those of your passengers. You must have optional medical payments or PIP coverage to be covered. Your bodily injury coverage would only pay for the other driver and their passengers' injuries if you caused the accident.
If you don't t have these optional coverages, you'll have to pay for your medical expenses out of pocket, unless you have a personal health care insurance policy.
What Is the Difference Between Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
Personal injury protection (PIP) is similar to medical payments coverage. Both coverages pay for your or your passengers' medical expenses following an accident, regardless of who caused it. There are some fundamental differences between these two coverages, however.
PIP is available in no-fault states. It is designed to pay for medical costs and lost wages resulting from an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Some states require personal injury protection and use medical payments as supplemental coverage.
Medical payments coverage is auto insurance that pays for medical bills, regardless of who is at fault, but this coverage is optional. It is not available in all states.
Medical Payments Coverage Limits
Medical payment insurance has a coverage limit. It is the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay for your accident-related expenses in a covered accident. Any expenses that exceed your policy's coverage limits are your responsibility.
When signing up for a policy, you should think about the short-term expenses. For instance, what if you have healthcare insurance that pays for most expenses, but requires you to pay a $1,500 deductible? You can have your auto insurer pay that amount while your medical insurance pays the rest of the bill.
Do you need an affordable auto insurance policy that covers medical bills following a car accident? You can use SmartFinancial's online insurance comparison tool to find an auto policy that's right for you. Just enter your zip code below to get started.
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