Does auto insurance cover ambulance rides after an accident?

Auto insurance will cover ambulance rides after an accident if they are medically necessary. Personal injury protection, underinsured motorist coverage, and comprehensive coverage all act as auto insurance for ambulance services.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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If you are injured in a car accident, then emergency personnel may arrive on the scene. If your injuries are serious enough to require a hospital visit, then an ambulance might take you to the hospital. Does car insurance cover an ambulance ride after an accident? Or are you required to pay for ambulance transportation out of pocket?

Ambulances Are Covered By Car Insurance When Medically Necessary

Why is car insurance mandatory for most states? It is mandatory because traffic accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Car insurance is specifically designed to cover certain expenses after a car accident – including your medical expenses. If your ambulance ride was medically necessary, then your car insurance policy should cover the cost of the ambulance ride – just like any medical expense would be covered after an accident.

An ambulance ride is deemed to be “medically necessary” when you need urgent medical care. If you need medical supervision on the way to see a doctor, for example, then the ambulance ride might be medically necessary. Ambulance rides may be required for those with spinal injuries or concussions, but not for those with minor scrapes or bruises.

Unfortunately, an ambulance ride isn’t considered medically necessary just because you have no other vehicle to drive. If your car was totaled in an accident and you need to visit a doctor, for example, but you don’t have serious injuries, then your car insurance policy may not cover the cost of the ambulance ride.

Just because your car is undrivable doesn’t mean you receive a free ride in an ambulance – unless, of course, the emergency ambulance service is deemed medically necessary.

However, not all car insurance policies will cover ambulance rides. If you caused the accident, for example, and have the least amount of car insurance legally required, then your ambulance ride may not be covered by car insurance.

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Which type of car insurance covers ambulance rides?

Different states have different rules regarding car insurance. Depending on your state and your car insurance policy, different types of car insurance may cover your ambulance ride.

Some of the types of car insurance that could cover your ambulance ride include:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP): 12 states in America are no-fault states. These states require drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) car insurance. This type of coverage will pay for your medical bills after an accident regardless of who was at fault. Your ambulance fee will be covered under your PIP coverage.

Medical Payments: Medical payments coverage is an optional type of car insurance policy available but not required in most states. It functions in a similar way to traditional car insurance and is somewhat similar to PIP. Medical payments coverage will cover your ambulance ride after an accident.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Not all drivers carry auto insurance coverage. Approximately 1 in 7 drivers in the United States does not have car insurance. Many drivers carry too little car insurance – like only the bare minimum amount legally required. For this reason, you might be unable to claim expenses like an ambulance ride even if the other driver was at fault. In this situation, you could use your own uninsured or underinsured driver insurance. Some states require you to have this coverage.

The Liability Coverage of the Other Driver: If another driver is at-fault in the accident, then the other driver’s liability coverage may cover your ambulance ride. All drivers in America are required to have bodily injury liability coverage to cover the medical expenses of other people they injure while driving. If the other driver was at-fault for the accident, then your ambulance ride can be claimed under the other driver’s liability coverage for bodily injuries.

If you are at fault for the car accident, then your auto insurance coverage may not cover your emergency transport or ambulance ride. Your ambulance ride will only be covered in an at-fault accident if you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage. In certain cases, however, your medical insurance or health insurance policy may cover ambulance expenses.

Your Health Insurance Policy May Cover an Ambulance Ride After an Accident

Does insurance cover ambulance rides? Typically, car insurance policies will cover all applicable costs of an accident, including ambulance rides. If your car insurance is used up, or if the other driver’s car insurance is used up, then your own health insurance may cover ambulance rides.

Your own health insurance may also cover ambulance rides if your car insurance doesn’t cover ambulance rides whatsoever. If you were at fault for the accident and have no personal injury protection coverage or medical payments coverage, for example, then your health insurance may be the primary insurance used to cover an ambulance ride after an accident.

How much does an ambulance ride cost after an accident?

The cost of an ambulance ride varies widely across the United States. Sometimes, an ambulance ride can cost you “just” $500 or $1,000. In other cases, a single ambulance ride can cost $5,000 or $10,000.

If an ambulance simply shows up at the scene of an accident and doesn’t take anyone away, then there may be no charge. Even if the paramedics provide basic emergency support – like applying bandages to victims – the ambulance may not charge a fee.

Other factors that determine the cost of an ambulance ride or emergency transport include your location, whether the ambulance company that arrives on-scene is for-profit or non-profit, and the type of medical service you receive from the paramedics.

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Ultimately, if you have car insurance or health insurance, then your ambulance ride should be covered. You can claim an ambulance ride under your medical payments coverage, your personal injury protection coverage, or the bodily injury liability coverage of the other at-fault driver. If you are at fault for the accident, however, and do not have medical payments coverage or personal injury protection coverage, then your ambulance ride may not be covered.

The interaction between insurance policies and insurance companies can be complicated. In some situations, your health insurance policy may cover the ambulance ride first. In other cases, your car insurance policy will be first. The best way to determine who will cover your ambulance ride after an accident is to contact your insurance provider.

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