Will Car Insurance Pay for Funeral Costs After a Fatal Accident?

Last Updated on November 11, 2020

Car insurance covers car damage and medical bills. But will car insurance also cover funeral costs?

Yes, certain types of car insurance will cover funeral expenses after a fatal accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage (MedPay), for example, can cover any funeral costs for you or your passengers after a fatal accident.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about car insurance paying for funeral costs after a fatal accident.

Will Car Insurance Pay for Funeral Costs After a Fatal Accident?

Types of Car Insurance

Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to have a specific minimum amount of liability insurance.

Liability insurance pays for damages you cause to other people’s property. It also covers any medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses incurred by any other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians you hit on the road.

There are two types of liability insurance, including bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. Coverage is typically expressed as three numbers. A policy might be written as 25/50/10, for example, which means:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $10,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident

Your car insurance will pay up to the limits of each policy. If there are other expenses beyond those limits – say, if someone has $100,000 of medical bills due to an accident you caused – then you need to pay these expenses out of pocket.

Liability insurance is required in most states, although it does not cover funeral expenses. To cover funeral costs, you’ll need personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MedPay). 16 states require you to have either PIP or MedPay.

What’s Covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and MedPay?

Personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage (MedPay) will cover any medical bills incurred by you or your passengers if you are injured in an accident.

Both coverages can also cover funeral costs.

If you or your passengers die in an accident, then you may be able to claim any funeral expenses through PIP or MedPay.

In most states, both PIP and MedPay are completely optional. 15 states, however, require PIP, and two states require MedPay.

States Requiring PIP Coverage

15 states require PIP coverage, including Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Each state has specific minimum PIP limits. In Florida, for example, drivers are required to have $10,000 of PIP coverage per person, while in Massachusetts, drivers need $8,000 per person.

Some states also require a minimum level of funeral coverage or death benefit. In Utah, for example, drivers need $3,000 of PIP coverage per person, $1,500 of funeral coverage, $3,000 of death benefits, $250 per week of lost income, and $20 per day of lost household income coverage.

Delaware requires $5,000 of funeral coverage per accident, Kansas requires $2,000 of funeral coverage, New Jersey requires $2,000 of funeral coverage, and New York requires $2,000 of funeral coverage.

States Requiring MedPay Coverage

One state requires medical payments (MedPay) coverage: Maine.

MedPay is also included on all auto insurance policies in New Hampshire, although drivers in New Hampshire are not technically required to have car insurance or MedPay coverage whatsoever.

Which Funeral Costs Are Covered?

PIP or MedPay will cover the cost of ceremonies, burial expenses, and/or cremation.

An average funeral costs between $7,000 and $12,000, including viewing and burial, basic service fees, transporting remains to a funeral home, a casket, embalming, and other preparation.

The average cost of a funeral with cremation is $6,000 to $7,000.

Other Death Benefits Included with PIP

Personal injury protection coverage can provide other benefits in the event of a fatal accident.

Specific coverages vary between states. Generally, however, PIP covers all of the following:

Medical Expenses: PIP may cover any medical bills related to the accident, including bills from doctors, surgeons, ambulances, paramedics, hospitalization, nursing care, medication, drugs, medical supplies, psychiatric care, dental care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and more.

Funeral Costs: PIP should cover ceremonies, burial expenses, and cremation.

Lost Income: PIP should cover some or all wages lost due to injury after a car accident; it may also cover the cost of temporary employees for any self-employed insured individuals.

Childcare and Household Expenses: If an accident made the insured unable to care for children or maintain the home, then PIP may cover the cost of childcare and other household expenses.

Survivors’ Loss: PIP can cover the breadwinner’s income for surviving dependents. If you die in the accident and you have dependents who relied on your income, then your dependents may get a survivors’ loss benefit.

If you are injured in an accident, then you can file a claim with your own insurer for PIP benefits.

If you die in a fatal accident, then your family can make a claim through your insurance company for PIP benefits – including funeral expenses.

Other Death Benefits Included with MedPay

Medical payments coverage is similar to PIP, although it covers far fewer things. Generally, MedPay functions like health insurance: it covers medical bills and other costs you’d expect health insurance to cover.

In most states, MedPay supplements health insurance coverage. It can function as primary or secondary insurance after an accident.

The main benefit of MedPay is that it pays medical bills quickly, regardless of fault. In most states, you are responsible for your own medical bills if you are at fault. MedPay covers these medical bills no matter what.

MedPay has no deductible or co-pay, unlike a health insurance plan.

MedPay also covers you if you are injured as someone else’s passenger, if you’re injured as a pedestrian or cyclist, or if you’re injured on public transportation.

Some people also buy MedPay to boost the limits of their PIP coverage or health insurance, giving them added peace of mind.

MedPay, like PIP, should cover funeral expenses.

Final Word on Auto Insurance and Funeral Costs

Normal car insurance will not cover funeral expenses in most states.

However, drivers with personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MedPay) may be covered for funeral costs and other expenses after a fatal accident.

Personal injury protection and/or MedPay are required in 16 states, although they’re optional in most states.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
Back to Top