Car Insurance Coverage When You’re a Passenger in an Accident

Car insurance for passengers in an accident should be covered by the person who is at fault, but you need to be aware of what your policy covers before you make this claim.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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: May 26, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you are a passenger in an auto accident, then the insurance company for the “at fault” driver should be the insurance that covers your medical costs
  • You need to be fully aware of what your policy covers before you try to make this claim
  • However, if you are in the vehicle where the driver was at fault and they don’t have auto insurance, the driver in the other vehicle’s insurance won’t be responsible for paying your medical bills

What do you do if you are a passenger in a car accident? If you are the passenger in a vehicle and you are in an accident, your personal car insurance may cover your medical costs if you sustain any injuries while you are in an accident.

What coverage pays for injuries to passengers in your car when the accident was your fault? Are passengers covered by car insurance? Whether or not your insurance will cover you will depend on a number of factors we will address below.

The truth is that if you are a passenger in an auto accident, then the insurance company for the “at fault” driver should be the insurance that covers your medical costs.

This is not true if you live in a no-fault state. With no-fault coverage, each driver’s own policy must cover their costs. Personal injury protection is required in these states.

Will your health insurance cover you in a car accident? In addition, if you’re injured in a car accident, you should also consider your personal health insurance to cover your costs if you have health insurance. The reason for this is that auto insurance that covers medical costs usually comes with a hefty deductible of about $1,000.

Many people choose even higher deductibles only to find that their medical bills aren’t high enough to pay for the insurance to pay for the medical costs and they have to pay everything out of pocket at once.

Deductibles for car insurance, both for medical costs and repair costs for vehicles, are renewed for each accident.

In other words, there is no max on how much you pay out of pocket a year or anything like that. Your deductible is your deductible for every accident that you have.

In addition, if you make a claim on your insurance for medical costs, even though you weren’t a driver in an accident, your insurance rates will increase. Most car insurance companies base rate increases on claims made; keep that in mind before you make this decision.

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If I’m a passenger in an accident, will my car insurance cover my medical costs?

There are a couple of different situations where your personal car insurance can be used to pay for your medical expenses when you are in an accident.

But, before we get into that, each insurance policy is different, so it is possible that your insurance company won’t cover this cost at all. You need to be fully aware of what your policy covers before you try to make this claim.

The first scenario where it is possible to make a claim with your own car insurance company is if neither drivers involved in the auto accident have auto insurance.

In most instances, this will be very rare as it is the law in every state for every driver to carry car insurance or at least proof of ability to pay for an accident you cause

If the at-fault driver in an accident doesn’t have auto insurance, but the driver in your vehicle does, then their insurance should cover your costs, as well as their own. In addition, you will have the right to sue the uninsured at fault driver in most states, as will the driver in the vehicle that you were in.

However, if you are in the vehicle where the driver was at fault and they don’t have auto insurance, the driver in the other vehicle’s insurance won’t be responsible for paying your medical bills.It doesn’t work that way.

In this case, if you don’t have health insurance, then you will want to make a claim with your own auto insurance company.

Another situation where you might want to make a claim with your auto insurance company is if neither driver in the accident has enough medical coverage to cover your full medical costs.

Again, if possible, skip making a claim with your insurance company and go straight to using your health insurance instead.

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If my insurance company won’t pay, can I sue them?

If you are a passenger in a car accident who do you sue? This really depends on whether or not your policy has a rider in it that says that the insurance company will pay your medical bills in an accident where you are a passenger.

If the insurance policy doesn’t make a statement, either way, you can talk to a lawyer to see if you can sue, but frankly, you probably won’t win this type of case.

In states where they sell PIP insurance those no-fault states, it is more likely that you will have passenger medical coverage than in other states. However, this is no guarantee. The bottom line is that you are better off having other alternatives.

However, this is no guarantee. The bottom line is that you are better off having other alternatives.

What are my options if I can’t get my medical costs covered?

As mentioned above, there are no caveats when using your health insurance. They will pay for all of your medical bills from a car accident. In addition, you may want to look at your homeowners insurance, especially if you have an umbrella policy, to see if that will cover your medical costs.

Naturally, you are going to want to sue the at-fault driver for your medical costs if you can.

This may lead to nothing to be truthful as if the at-fault driver doesn’t have any money or assets, then there is nothing for you to sue for, but you should check out this avenue before giving up.

Understanding your car insurance policy is important before you get behind the wheel of any vehicle, and it’s important that you never ride in a vehicle where the driver doesn’t have car insurance either.

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References:

  1. https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/auto-accident/passenger-injury-claims.html
  2. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/passenger-injury-claims-after-car-accident.html
  3. http://web.finweb.com/insurance/car-accident-with-no-insurance-what-are-your-options.html#axzz2aeokifHB
  4. https://wallethub.com/edu/passenger-in-car-accident/14089/
  5. https://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/who-was-injured/passenger-accidents/

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