If you’re injured while riding as a passenger, you might wonder, are passengers covered by car insurance? It depends on the state laws, as well as your insurance. But, knowing who covers what and where to file your claim is an important part of getting the funds you need to deal with your injury.
Are Passengers Covered By Car Insurance?
Whether or not a passenger is covered will depend on the state laws and type of insurance coverage. In most cases, passengers are covered by the responsible driver’s insurance policy. However, depending on your insurance coverage and who is responsible for the accident, there may be alternative solutions to this dilemma.
Passengers injured in an accident can file a claim for compensation from:
- Their driver’s insurance company
- The responsible driver’s insurance company
- Their personal insurance company
One of these available options should cover your medical bills and lost wages. In some cases, they may all cover your damages, which means they will have to decide who pays what.
Important Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident as a passenger, it is important that you take certain steps to protect not only yourself but also your eligibility to file a claim. Some of these may include:
Collect information from other drivers involved in the accident, including their names and insurance providers.
- Collect evidence: If possible, take some photographs or videos from the scene of the accident. These may be important to proving who is at fault for the accident.
- Get medical records: It is also important to get a copy of all medical records for any treatments that you receive.
- Track any lost wages: If you have to take time off from work to receive treatment or for recovery, you will also want to track this.
- Notify the police: Having a copy of a police report can also be helpful when filing an insurance claim later on.
- File a claim: Determine if you should file a claim with your own insurance company or the at-fault drivers.
Depending on the outcome of filing a claim, you may also decide to hire a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer may be helpful to your case if there is a question as to who is at fault, or if the insurance company refuses to provide you with enough compensation.
What Is Liability Insurance?
While insurance requirements vary from state to state, most states require liability insurance. Liability insurance covers any injuries that the at-fault driver causes to other drivers or passengers. In some cases, some states may be considered no-fault states. A no fault state, which means if you are in an accident, your own insurance company will pay, regardless of who is at fault.
What Other Types of Insurance Are Available?
It is also helpful to know what other types of insurance may be available to you as a passenger:
- Personal injury protection (PIP): PIP insurance covers damages, regardless of who is at fault for an auto accident.
- Medical payments: (MedPay): MedPay covers your bills after an accident, whether you were the driver or a passenger.
- Bodily injury liability: Bodily injury liability applies to damages following an accident and comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
- Uninsured/underinsured: Uninsured/underinsured insurance may cover your damages as a passenger, if the at-fault driver has little, or no, insurance coverage.
It is important to note that some of these insurance policies may come with a deductible. This means that you have to pay out-of-pocket to access your insurance benefits. The amount of the deductible will vary from provider to provider.
A passenger may also be able to turn to their personal health insurance for coverage. If you have coverage under more than one of these available policies, it can be confusing to determine who owes what. In this case, you want to notify each involved insurance company that you were in an accident and injured. The company will figure out the details for you.
Filing a PIP or MedPay Claim
If you are a passenger of the vehicle that is at fault, then you will likely file a PIP or MedPay claim. According to WalletHub, the process of filing is straightforward, since both cover your damages, regardless of who is at fault. But, not all states require that drivers carry PIP or MedPay. If you live in one of these states, and you are injured in an accident in the same vehicle as the at-fault driver, then you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This doesn’t apply if you live in the same household with them.
If you are not in the same vehicle as the at-fault driver, then you will turn to their bodily injury liability insurance for coverage.In this case, you are limited to the policy’s maximum coverage amount. If your injuries are severe, or if more than one passenger is injured in the accident, the costs can quickly exceed the maximum amount allowed. You would then need to pursue compensation from somewhere else.
This process also requires that the person who is at fault for the accident is identified. According to ValuePenguin, this can take months, especially if there are discrepancies or disagreements as to who is at fault. This is where PIP or MedPay is convenient. You can use it to cover your up-front medical costs. In some cases, your health insurance may also cover your medical bills initially. Then, they will look for reimbursement from the at-fault party.
Stay Safe When Riding as a Passenger
Navigating insurance requirements when you are injured as a passenger is not always easy. It is best to be proactive and ensure that you are protected if you are injured while riding in someone else’s vehicle:
- Collect the insurance information from all drivers as soon as possible.
- Wear a seatbelt and avoid distracting the driver.
- Check your own insurance coverage.
- Know when to hire a personal injury lawyer for your case.
It is always a good idea to know what your own insurance covers. This includes knowing if they will cover you as a passenger involved in an accident.
You have a few options available if you are injured as a passenger. The best way to navigate your options is to collect insurance information from everyone involved. Then, receive the medical care you need and notify all parties that you were in an accident.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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