In the United States, car insurance covers both vehicle damage and medical bills. What happens if you need to take an ambulance after a car accident? Will car insurance cover an ambulance ride? Or will you need to pay for the ambulance ride out of pocket?
Different types of insurance cover different types of ambulance rides. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how car insurance covers ambulance rides in the United States.
Car Insurance Will Cover Ambulance Rides When Medically Necessary
If your ambulance ride was medically necessary, then your car insurance will cover the cost of that ambulance ride.
Let’s say you are seriously injured in a car accident. Paramedics arrive on the scene. They treat you and then determine that your injuries are serious enough to be taken to a hospital. This ride is medically necessary: you need care immediately.
Generally, an ambulance ride is considered medically necessary when:
- You need medical care immediately after the car accident
- You need medical supervision on the way to see a doctor
If you have suffered serious physical trauma from a car accident, then you might need to visit a hospital immediately. Obviously, in this situation, your ambulance ride is covered by car insurance.
However, many drivers are surprised to learn that their injury falls into the second category above. Car insurance covers ambulance rides when you need medical supervision on the way to see a doctor – even if that injury isn’t an emergency that needs to be stabilized immediately. Transportation might be medically necessary for a concussion or spinal injury, for example: you cannot safely drive your vehicle on your own and you need medical supervision.
Typically, it’s in your best interest to play it safe and take an ambulance if you are seriously injured in a car accident.
Will Car Insurance Cover an Ambulance Ride If My Car is Undriveable?
Your car may be undriveable after an accident. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee a free ambulance ride to the hospital. Just because your car is undriveable does not mean car insurance will cover it.
If you have a serious injury that needs immediate medical attention and your car is undriveable, then your ambulance ride will likely be covered.
If you have a minor injury, however, and your car is undriveable, then your car insurance will not likely cover the cost of the ambulance ride.
What Type of Car Insurance Covers Ambulance Rides?
Some states require you to have personal injury protection, which functions similar to health insurance. In other states, ambulance rides fall under ordinary liability coverage. Any of the following types of car insurance might cover an ambulance ride:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): 12 states in America are considered no-fault states. These states typically require you to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage functions like medical insurance. It covers your medical expenses regardless of whether you or the other driver is at-fault. If you require emergency medical treatment after an accident, then personal injury protection should cover the cost of your ambulance ride.
Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage is optional in most states. It’s typically available in states that do not have PIP coverage requirements. Like PIP coverage, medical payments coverage is specifically designed to cover your medical expenses.
The Other Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: All drivers on the road in the United States are required to have bodily injury liability coverage. Every state (except New Hampshire) requires bodily injury liability coverage. This insurance policy covers the medical expenses and other bodily damages you inflict on other drivers. If you were injured by another driver, then the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage should cover your medical expenses – including an ambulance ride.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If the at-fault driver does not have car insurance or has too little car insurance, then your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will cover your medical expenses and ambulance ride. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is required in some states but not others.
Your Health Insurance Might Also Cover the Ambulance Ride
Your car insurance comes first when covering any damages involving your car or an accident.
If your car insurance policy limits are reached, however, then your ordinary health insurance might cover any remaining expenses. If you have $10,000 of medical payments coverage, for example, and your ambulance ride and medical expenses came to $15,000 total, then your car insurance will cover the first $10,000 before being exhausted, at which point your health insurance will cover the remaining $5,000.
If you need to use health insurance to cover an ambulance ride (or any other medical expenses) after an accident, then you may need to pay a deductible. Typically, you do not have to pay a deductible when using your car insurance’s medical coverage, but you will have to pay a deductible on most health insurance plans.
A single ambulance ride in the United States can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. That’s more than some car repairs! Thanks to car insurance, however, your ambulance ride should be covered – assuming the ambulance was medically necessary.