What is the relationship between car and health insurance?

Car insurance and health insurance both cover someone who is injured during a car accident. However, health insurance should be used immediately to cover medical bills.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you’re injured in an accident, you will see the relationship between car and health insurance coverages
  • It can be confusing to understand which insurance will pay for what
  • Some states require that you carry medical insurance as part of your auto coverage

A car accident will quickly reveal the relationship between car insurance and health insurance coverage to anyone wondering where these two forms of insurance overlap and where they diverge. You may ask, will my health insurance pay for an auto accident?

Familiarizing yourself with the fine print of any relevant policy long before an accident is the wisest way to ensure a smooth process when it comes to getting coverage for medical expenses in an emergency.

Here is key information that all drivers need to know about these two types of policies. Be sure to enter your zip code in above for your free car insurance comparison!

Health Insurance Comes First


The health insurance of an accident victim, if he has it, should be used immediately for the treatment of his injuries.

It is risky to rely on car insurance payouts, whether they come from the policy of the person who caused the accident or from your own MedPay or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy.

Car insurance companies are often slow to come through if they come through at all.

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Finding Fault and Getting Paid For It

In “tort states,” a victim can go after the liability insurance of any “at fault” driver. A “tort” is the legal term for liability that results when harm is done to another person either intentionally or through neglect.

In “no-fault” states, each party involved in an accident is responsible for his own damages, whether in the form of property, bodily injury, or both.

While it is still possible for a victim to sue a driver he considers to be at fault, the process is much more difficult and drawn out, requiring very specific requirements and injury thresholds to be met before a case can be settled.

Injuries must be proven to be sufficiently severe using criteria that determine the impact of the injuries on one’s life or on his finances.

Current “no-fault” states are:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas, Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

Either way, the insurance payment made to a victim through a car insurance company is not handled the same way health insurance is.

While health insurance companies pay for services as they are received, car insurance payouts are more likely to come later, after much dispute.

Maintaining Good Credit Throughout

If you forgo the use of your own health insurance, choosing instead to wait for coverage provided by the at-fault driver, a risky wait ensues. Dealing with another driver or that driver’s insurance company is usually a long process.

If the case goes to court, the wait will get considerably longer. All the while, the doctors, hospitals, ambulance companies and assorted medical practitioners who provided care immediately following the accident, and in its aftermath, will also be waiting for payment.

The situation becomes bleaker if the at-fault driver is not found to be at fault after all, leaving all responsibility to the driver who had been considering himself the victim.

Any bills not paid in a timely manner will likely be sent to a collection agency, which will leave a black mark on the credit of the accident victim that will affect his financial picture for a long time to come.

When a Health Insurance Provider Wants Its Money Back

Buried deep in the fine print of many health insurance policies is the “subrogation clause.”

As an example of the relationship between car insurance and health insurance coverage at its most adversarial, the subrogation clause is verbiage that allows the health insurance company to get a piece of the action in the event of a successful lawsuit against an at-fault driver.

As an example, let’s say that Driver 1 is injured in an accident caused by Driver 2. Driver 1 uses his health insurance to pay for his medical treatment immediately.

Shortly thereafter, Driver 1 goes after Driver 2 (through his insurance company) in a lawsuit seeking compensation for pain, suffering, and medical expenses.

If Driver 1 receives such compensation, the right of subrogation allows his health insurance company to file its own lawsuit to recoup the money it paid out for his injuries.

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How to Find the Most Beneficial Relationship between Car Insurance and Health Insurance

The Internet is the ideal resource for finding car insurance quotes personalized for each policyholder. Comprehensive quote comparison tools allow users to study the options available at several different car insurance companies.

There is also the opportunity to study the fine print, which varies widely from insurer to insurer.

By analyzing each quote thoroughly, consumers will be able to make a more knowledgeable and informed choice when it comes to purchasing the protections that will definitely save them money, and which could save their lives.

Why not start that process today? Enter your zip code below.

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