Does Health Insurance Cover Accidents

Various insurance types cover car accidents medical costs, not just for drivers.

Almost every state mandates bodily injury liability or PIP, ensuring financial protection.

Health insurance also covers car accident expenses.

Having both health and car insurance is advisable. Payment order and amounts can vary by state, insurer, and injury severity.

Health insurance coverage for accidents
Car accidents health coverage: Photo source (

Does health insurance cover car accidents?

Health insurance covers car accidents medical expenses based on your policy limits.

If you have a high-deductible plan, like $8,000, you pay that deductible, even if not at fault.

Car insurance types help with medical costs, including deductibles, copays, and out-of-network expenses.

These should be billed before health insurance.

Personal injury protection (PIP)

PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is no-fault car insurance covering medical costs for you and passengers, required in 16 states/territories. It includes:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Child care costs
  • Death/funeral expenses
  • Disfigurement
  • Dismemberment

States with PIP laws often limit suing at-fault drivers, so ensure you have enough coverage per your state’s laws.


MedPay, or medical expense coverage, pays for some medical costs for you and passengers, regardless of fault. It’s optional and available in states without PIP requirements. Often sold in smaller amounts, like $2,000, it covers:

  • Ambulance services
  • Doctor, hospital, chiropractic services
  • Surgery, X-rays, prosthetic implants
  • Professional nursing services
  • Funeral expenses

For someone with an $8,000 high deductible health plan, buying $8,000 or more of MedPay can let hospitals bill the car insurer directly for medical expenses.

Liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage

If you cause an accident, your bodily injury liability insurance covers the other driver’s medical costs.

You’re legally responsible for their expenses, so get the highest affordable coverage.

If the other driver’s fault and you use health insurance, it pays your medical bills per policy limits.

Later, your health insurer sues the at-fault driver via subrogation.

No insurance from the other driver? You can sue, but it takes time.

With uninsured motorist coverage (UM), your car insurance pays your medical bills, matching your bodily injury liability coverage.

Higher liability limits mean more UM coverage.

Should you get PIP or MedPay if you have health insurance?

PIP and MedPay are useful alongside health insurance. If PIP/MedPay covers more than your medical costs, bill your car insurance directly, avoiding health insurance claims.

If expenses exceed PIP/MedPay, use health insurance for the bills and rely on PIP/MedPay for deductibles, copays, and out-of-network expenses, such as lab tests or anesthesia.

Who pays first: Car insurance or health insurance?

Typically, car insurance takes precedence.

If you have PIP, MedPay, etc., share your car insurance details with the medical facility for direct billing.

You can also give both car and health insurance info to the provider, with car insurance as primary and health insurance as secondary.

Do I have to pay my health insurance back after a car accident?

If you receive a settlement after a car accident, the health insurance company may be entitled to some or all of the money to reimburse them for their costs.

This depends on a number of factors, including what your health insurance policy says and how much your health insurance paid out in expenses due to the accident.

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