Does Health Insurance Cover Car Accidents?

A car accident can be physically and emotionally traumatic for you and your family. Whether you’re left with scars of the mind or body, life after a car accident can be incredibly complicated, especially when it comes to paying your expenses for medical care.

If there are a number of different insurance policies in place, including both health and auto, figuring out who is liable to pay for the injuries sustained in your accident can rapidly become convoluted and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. We’re here to help.

So does health insurance cover car accidents? In this article we cover the information that you’ll require should you have a car collision as we aim to provide you with some steps to take to help you get through this difficult time. 

Here’s what you need to know about using your health insurance after a car accident:

Seek medical assistance immediately following an accident

You should always seek medical assistance immediately if you’ve been in a car accident, even if you initially think that you feel fine.

The physical effects of a crash are not always immediately apparent, and a doctor will have the right tools to detect any injuries that you may not be aware of due to adrenaline or shock caused by the accident. 

A claims adjuster might try to suggest that you wait for their referral to see a doctor, but you should know that this could potentially damage your insurance claim.

This is because the more time that passes between the time of your accident and the time of medical care, the easier it will be for the auto insurance company to claim that your pain and injury were not caused by the car accident in question. As a result, it’s best that you seek medical attention as soon as you can regardless of the scale of injury. 

Health insurance carriers can recover the cost of your medical expenses through a process that is known as subrogation. Subrogation is a term describing a right held by the majority of insurance carriers to legally pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured.

If your provider successfully recovers these expenses, they will have to divide the amount received proportionally. As a result, any funds that you paid towards a deductible will be returned. 

Figure out what your insurance plan covers

Before making a claim, you’ll need to figure out what your insurance plan covers. To do this, we suggest that you carefully review both your auto and your health insurance policies.

This is subject to change between insurers, but some health insurance companies classify auto accident injuries as secondary coverage. It is worth noting that these policies won’t cover your medical expenses until the auto insurance limit has been met.

While your health insurance can help you cover the cost for the medical expenses after a car accident occurs, it might be worth considering including Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage to your policy. This can help offset potential costs associated with a car accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

What is Personal Injury Protection?

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of automobile insurance that will reimburse you for medical expenses and can cover some other costs after a car accident.

Dissimilar to other types of car insurance, you do not need to prove the other driver was at fault, and you'll typically see a quick reimbursement once you file your claim.

Depending on the exact terms of your policy, PIP can cover: 

  • Reasonable medical costs, such as surgeries and other treatments.
  • Rehabilitation therapy.
  • Ambulance services.
  • Loss of income.

However, despite having PIP and/or health coverage in place, it is still possible for a person to have to pay if they get into a car accident. If this occurs, filing a lawsuit may be the best option to ensure that the victim is fully compensated for their losses caused by the car accident in question.

Some people, therefore, consider PIP an additional, unnecessary cost. Adding PIP to your car insurance coverage is a decision that is ultimately up to you. If in doubt of whether you should add the extra, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How likely am I to get in a car accident that requires medical care?
  • What does my health insurance plan cover?
  • Would I personally be able to afford the medical expenses of a car crash if my health insurance did not cover them?
  • Is the additional expense worth the peace of mind it provides?

Will I still have to pay if my health insurance covers my accident?

Generally speaking, in the majority of instances, what is covered or not will depend on the terms of your health insurance policy itself. Depending on the situation, injured car accident victims may still have to pay: 

  • Deductible amounts under their health insurance policy.
  • Charges and expenses not covered by the policy.
  • Any required co-payments under the health insurance policy.

Why is it such a complicated system?

This is a good question, and the answer is simple. The system is so complicated to deter and prevent people from making claims. Often big companies care more about their profit than your accident and injury.

By making the process difficult to manage, the inexperienced individual is more likely to give up on the claim before receiving any compensation that they are entitled to for their injury or losses.

Seek legal advice 

If in doubt, your best bet to beat this complicated system is to protect your rights as a victim of a personal injury and seek legal advice and representation from an attorney.

A lawyer can alleviate a lot of the stress for you, as they will help you effectively communicate with the different insurance companies, to ensure that you don’t end up giving away more of your settlement than is fair. 

By seeking legal advice and allowing your case to be represented by an experienced accident attorney, you will avoid any of the traps and pitfalls that the insurance company relies on and will in turn achieve the best possible results for your case.