Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A claim brought against the policy of another is called a Third-Party Insurance claim
  • You may need to make multiple claims to provide coverage for all of your expenses
  • The insurance carried by the other driver would respond to help pay for your injuries

What if you are involved in an accident and injured while as a passenger? Do you, as the passenger, have any liability for an accident in which the driver is involved?

Who pays for your medical bills?  As with many insurance questions, the circumstances make the difference in coverage.

Here are two things that make the difference:

  • If the accident is the fault of the other driver involved in the accident
  • If the accident is attributed to the driver of the car in which you are the passenger

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Accident Occurs at the Fault of Another Driver


Automobile drivers in most states are required to purchase certain minimum limits of bodily injury liability. The insurance carried by the other driver would respond to help pay for your injuries.

If that driver does not have insurance, the underinsured-uninsured motorists coverage purchased by the driver of the auto you occupy will respond.

One of the advantages of the no-fault system is that it reduces lawsuits and insecurity about payments for injuries.

States that require no-fault insurance have a different method of covering passengers. Drivers in these states are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP).

This type of insurance pays for the passenger’s medical expenses and lost wages no matter which driver is at fault.

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Accident Occurs at the Fault of the Driver of the Car in Which You are the Passenger

If your driver were at fault, in most states the driver would need to have purchased Medical Payments insurance coverage to pay for the costs to passengers.

Unfortunately, Medical Payments Insurance is not required by law in most states, so your driver may or may not have this insurance.

In no-fault states, the driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) extends to injury to passengers, so you will have coverage as a passenger.

Other Options for Payment of Passenger’s Medical Expenses


Sometimes the driver does not have the correct insurance to cover your medical expenses.

You have two options, should this occur:

  • Use your own insurance. Your health insurance will respond to pay for your medical bills. You could also ask for coverage under your personal automobile insurance policy’s underinsured/uninsured motorists coverage.
  • Sue the driver. This is a delicate point since you may be related to the driver.

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Third-Party Insurance Claims

A claim brought against the policy of another is called a Third-Party Insurance claim since you are making the claim under a policy that is not yours.

First, make a claim against either of the insurance policies as follows:

  • The policy of the driver or owner of the car you were riding in at the time of the accident
  • The policy of the driver or owner of another vehicle involved in the accident

You may need to make multiple claims to provide coverage for all of your expenses.

Please note that you are able to only collect a number of verified bills.

That is to say, you could not collect $25,000 in medical bills from one insurance policy and then collect another $25,000 in medical bills from another policy if they are the same bill.

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Overview of Coverage Available on Auto Policies


Here is a brief overview of the average coverage available:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – This covers medical treatment, rehabilitation, and funeral costs incurred for your own passengers as well as other drivers, their passengers, and even pedestrians injured in the accident. Legal liability must be adjudicated for this coverage to apply. States have limits, but they are usually inadequate; purchase at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident to defray costs.
  • Property Damage – This pays for repair or replacement of other people’s cars and property. Considering auto costs purchase $50,000.
  • Uninsured Motorists Coverage – This insurance pays when hit-and-run drivers or someone without adequate insurance strikes your car. It pays for medical, rehabilitation, and funeral costs of people in your car. It also insures members of your household as pedestrians. Purchase the same limits as you purchase on Bodily Injury Liability.
  • PIP– or no-fault coverage is required in states that use this insurance as a basis. It pays for medical, rehab, and funeral costs for household members.
  • Medical Payments – This type of coverage will pay the deductibles and co-payment amounts not covered by your health insurer or the insurer of your passengers. Consider deductibles on health insurance when purchasing this coverage.
  • Physical Damage Coverage – Comprehensive pays for fire, water, and other damages; Collision pays to repair or replace your car after an accident. A deductible will apply to both these coverages.

Purchasing an Automobile Insurance Policy

When purchasing automobile insurance, be careful that you choose your insurance company and coverage carefully.

Here are a few steps to follow during the purchasing process:

Finding a company

Narrow down your choices to at least three insurance companies and begin your research.

The company’s financial condition, licensing with the state, and record on claims are important.

Here are a few sources of more information:

  • Your state’s insurance department for licensing, and claims information
  • A.M. Best for financial ratings
  • Standard and Poors for financial ratings
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners for financial ratings and overall claims results.

Getting Quotations on premiums

Discuss insurance coverage with representatives of the companies you have chosen.

Be certain to tell them of the following:

  • Your financial situation allows them to recommend limits of coverage
  • Your family situation, particularly if you have teen drivers or elderly drivers over 65
  • Any special concerns that you have

Choosing the Best Deal

Once you have obtained quotations, using the same figures, examine the costs of the policies. Compare the costs with the financial ratings for each company to make an informed decision.

Knowing that not only your monetary well being apply in this case, but your responsibility to your family and passengers.

Your Responsibilities

Read and assess the quotations offered, then choose your insurance company. Remember that a policy must be paid for to ensure that you have coverage.

After you receive the policy, be certain to read it carefully to understand all the clauses. Make sure it has the coverage agreed upon in the quote.

Remember to examine your name, address, car make and model, as well as the VIN number.

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