Does Auto Insurance Cover Medical Bills?
Your car insurance covers you in an accident, so naturally, it will cover your medical bills from that same accident, right? The short answer is, maybe. It depends on your coverage type. Read on to learn about the various types of auto insurance coverage that could pay for your medical bills, and what you can do to help make sure you’re covered in the future.
Does Car Insurance Cover Medical Bills?
In some cases, yes. Car insurance can cover medical bills. But not always. The type of coverage you have will determine whether medical bills are covered. What follows is a breakdown of the kinds of coverage that could pay medical bills stemming from a crash.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
If you cause an automobile accident, you will be legally responsible for medical bills of the people who are injured as a result.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage applies to injuries that you — the designated driver or policyholder — cause to someone else, the Insurance Information Institute says.
In nearly every state, motorists are required to carry a certain amount of Bodily Injury Liability Coverage and Property Liability Coverage. Depending on your circumstances, having just the minimum amount of liability coverage might not be enough to protect you financially. For example, if your automobile insurance is insufficient to cover the injured person’s medical damages, your other assets like your bank accounts, etc. could be at risk.
Adding more Bodily Injury Liability Coverage than your state requires might cost you a little more money every month, put it could help you feel more peace of mind on the road. Ultimately, you need to decide whether you want to pay for the extra coverage or risk the chance that you might have to pay even more out of your pocket to cover someone else’s medical bills.
Medical Payments Coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
If you’re wondering, “What is medical coverage on auto insurance,” then you might be asking about one of these two coverages: Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection.
With Medical Payments Coverage (also known as Med Pay) or Personal Injury Protection (also known as PIP), medical bills for you and the people covered under your policy who are hurt in a wreck would be covered up to the applicable limits, regardless of who caused the accident.
Both PIP and Med Pay pay for immediate, necessary medical services following a car accident that causes injuries suffered by you and your passengers.
PIP pays for your medical bills in addition to other injury-related expenses, including income loss, regardless of which driver was at fault. The at-fault driver could be you, the other driver, or a hit-and-run driver.
PIP covers you if you’re injured as a passenger in a vehicle, as a rider of public transportation, or as a cyclist or pedestrian who’s been struck by a vehicle.
PIP coverage varies from state to state, but it generally helps cover bills for things such as:
- Ambulance transportation
- Dental care
- Psychiatric treatment
- Chiropractic services
- Lost wages
Med Pay is similar to PIP, but it doesn’t cover as much. While it covers the policyholder, other drivers listed on the policy, members of the insured driver’s household, and passengers after an accident, it only covers the care that’s connected to physical injuries.
Med Pay coverage typically includes medical expenses and dental care. In some cases, it might cover health insurance deductibles and other out-of-pocket medical expenses that don’t fall under your health plan.
Med Pay, like PIP, typically covers you if you’re injured as a passenger in a vehicle, as a rider of public transportation, or as a cyclist or pedestrian who’s been struck by a vehicle.
Only a couple of states require Med Pay, while more than a dozen states require PIP. Elsewhere, this coverage is optional.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage pays your medical bills and those of your passengers in they’ve been hurt in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist or in an accident with a hit-and-run driver, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In some states Uninsured Motorist Coverage is mandatory, in others you have the right to reject it.
Even when an at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance, he or she is responsible for paying all accident-related medical bills. But getting reimbursed by an uninsured (or underinsured) driver eats up a lot of time and energy. There’s a chance you might never be reimbursed. For that reason alone, Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage is a valuable coverage and if it is optional in your state, you should consider buying it.
Emergency Protection Plan
Although separate from an automobile insurance policy, an optional Emergency Protection Plan can help with all sorts of medical expenses following an auto accident. For instance:
- If you’re hospitalized after a crash, an Emergency Protection Plan can pay cash to you for each day you’re in the hospital. This money could go toward rent, utility bills, childcare or any other expense.
- If you’re treated for crash-related injuries, you can be reimbursed for some out-of-pocket medical expenses that don’t fall under traditional coverage, such as insurance deductibles.
- If you’re transported by ambulance from the crash scene to a hospital, you can be reimbursed for part of the cost.
|Medical Coverage & Auto Insurance|
|Coverage Type||Basic Definition||Examples of Covered Medical Expenses||Is Fault a Factor?||Required by Law?|
|Bodily Injury Liability||Helps pay for injuries sustained by the driver (and their passengers) who is not at-fault in a crash||Ambulance fee,
Emergency room and other medical expenses
x-rays, and stitches
|Medical Payments||Covers direct medical or surgical care that result from accident for policyholder and passengers||Medically necessary
expenses, dental care, direct surgical care related to injuries from auto accident
|No||Only in two states: Maine and New Hampshire|
|Personal Injury Protection||Pays for your medical costs in addition to other injury-related expenses||Medically necessary expenses
Ambulance fees, x-rays, prostheses, psychiatric treatment
|No||Required in 15 states; optional where otherwise available|
|Uninsured Motorist Coverage||Helps pay for your medical expenses that result from a car accident with a hit-and-run driver, uninsured driver, or one that has too little coverage||X-rays, hospitalization, surgery||Yes||Required in some states; optional in others|
|Medical Coverage & Supplemental Plans|
|Emergency Protection Plan||Helps pay for unexpected costs that result from a car accident||Hospital stay, reimbursement for: ambulance fee and immediate medical attention after an accident||No||No|
Certain optional auto insurance coverages can come to the rescue by paying for medical bills after an accident. Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT or come in to learn more about what car insurance covers and when it applies to your medical bills.