Will Car Insurance Cover Medical Bills After an Accident?
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Car insurance will pay for medical expenses if you purchased medical payments coverage, personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Certain coverage types will step in depending on the car accident — uninsured motorist insurance pays when the other driver was liable but doesn't have coverage, for instance.
Keep reading to learn how medical coverage through your auto insurance company works.
When Does Car Insurance Pay for Medical Bills?
Traditionally, the liable driver should pay for the other driver’s medical expenses, whether it’s through auto insurance or out of pocket. If you were the at-fault driver, you can still enjoy some first-party medical benefits if you purchased the following coverage:
- Medical payments (Medpay) and personal injury protection (PIP) pay for your medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident or for single-car accidents.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance covers your medical costs if the other driver was at fault but does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage.
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What Type of Car Insurance Do You Need to Cover Medical Bills and Expenses?
Depending on where you live, purchasing Medpay or PIP will provide medical coverage through your medical insurer.
Medpay is designed to provide medical expense coverage for you and your passengers in the event there is a car accident regardless of who is at fault. Maine and New Hampshire require residents to have Medpay. Below are situations when your Medpay coverage would be used:
- You or a family member are injured in your car while driving
- You’re injured while in a different vehicle than your own
- Funeral expenses resulting from an accident
- You’re struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian
- You’re struck by a vehicle while riding a bike
Personal injury protection, also called no-fault insurance, offers the same protections as Medpay plus coverage for lost wages if you’re unable to work while recovering. PIP is available only in no-fault states.
Liability coverage kicks in depending on who was responsible for the car accident. If you were the at-fault driver, your liability insurance would pay for the other driver’s medical bills. If the other driver was at fault, their liability insurance would cover your costs. If they don’t have insurance, your UM/UIM coverage would step in.
What if You’re Injured by a Driver Who Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Assuming the other driver was at fault, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance would pay for your post-car accident medical expenses, funeral costs and lost wages if the other driver has no insurance or their liability limits are too low. For example, say your medical costs after a car accident total $20,000. UM insurance would pay for the full amount, while UIM insurance pays the difference if the other driver only has $15,000 in liability coverage. UM/UIM is legally required in some states.
How Does Insurance Handle Medical Bills When I’m the At-Fault Driver?
Multiple types of coverage can come into play when you are the at-fault driver. Any injuries the other driver sustains from the car accident will be covered by your auto liability insurance. If you sustained any injuries, then you will need to rely on either your Medpay or PIP coverage.
If you have no car insurance, you will be held personally liable. This means you are legally obligated to pay for the other party’s medical costs out of pocket.
What To Do if Car Insurance Won’t Pay for Medical Bills
You have a few options if auto insurance won’t pay for your medical expenses.
- Use your health insurance. Check to see if your deductible will need to be met before your insurance will cover your medical costs.
- Use your own coverage if the at-fault driver can’t cover your medical expenses. If you purchased Medpay, then your insurer will cover your medical expenses. Similarly, UM/UIM insurance will step in if the other driver’s liability coverage limit is insufficient for covering your medical bills.
- Go to court. You can file an appeal if you think your insurance company wrongfully denied your claim. You can also go to court and file suit against the offending driver if they don’t have proper coverage.
- Ask for a payment plan. Hospital bills can be a huge financial burden if you do not have medical coverage through your auto insurer. Fortunately, many medical facilities allow patients to divide their large bills into manageable payments over time.
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