How Car Insurance Policies Cover Passengers

Who pays for passengers’ injuries and losses in an accident depends who is at fault, available coverage and on state rules. Each state has minimum auto insurance requirements before anyone can start driving and this coverage is mainly for the benefit of unsuspecting citizens and road users in case they suffer injuries and damages in vehicular accidents. There are other insurance covers to help passengers and at times they may pay for injuries, depending on the state rules, determination of fault and whether at-fault drivers have any or sufficient liability coverage.

Usually, at-fault driver’s liability coverage pays for injuries and damages suffered by other drivers, passengers and pedestrians up to the policy limits. Bodily injury liability coverage pays for medical bills and other consequential losses like lost wages and includes death benefits. Property damage liability coverage pays for physical losses like damages to vehicles and personal items.

In no-fault states, each party pays for their own injuries so your own Personal Injury Protection may need to pay for your injuries when you are a passenger in other vehicles. If you don’t have such coverage, PIP coverage of the driver of the car you are in may pay for your injuries. It depends on the state rules as to which policy is the primary and which one is secondary in such cases. PIP pays regardless of fault.

In states where PIP isn’t available, Medical Payments coverage can pay for your injuries when you are a passenger in someone else’s car or your and your passengers’ medical bills when you are driving.

On the other hand, the relationship between at-fault drivers and the passengers in their cars may need to be established first to determine if they are entitled to any compensation under Liability vehicle insurance coverage. Family members are not included under the third party policies for the simple reason that they are not third parties. At fault drivers and family members need Personal Injury Protection if they want to be protected in case they get hurt in a traffic accident.

Motorists should check if they have coverage in place to pay for hospital bills in case of an accident suffered (should there not be others to blame). Most health insurance plans pay for such medical bills. If so, you may not need to spend any more money on premium for PIP. Nonetheless, a health cover does not pay for loss of wages.

Also, Uninsured Motorist Coverage of the vehicle owner can pay for passengers’ injuries, if the at-fault driver in another vehicle has no insurance. In addition, people’s own Uninsured Motorist Coverage would normally pay for their injuries suffered when they are passengers or pedestrians and hit by an uninsured driver.

Passengers can gather information and take pictures of the accident where possible. This can help determine who was at-fault for the accident and responsible for damages. Then, they should gather medical reports and bills and determine which insurer they will lodge their claims with.

At times, passengers may have to claim from their own health insurance or Personal Injury Protection coverage and let them chase the responsible driver for payment. Companies can get the money they paid you from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider at the end but it can take a while to determine who must compensate for the damages. Even several companies may end up sharing the bills, depending on the determination of fault and state rules.

Generally, they cannot be fare-paying passengers as well because they are excluded in personal auto insurance policy. If they are, you may have to compensate them out of pocket. Only a commercial policy or business use extension would note such activities and cover fee paying passengers.