UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Drivers can be left with aches and pains after an accident. Many drivers seek relief through massage therapy. But will car insurance cover the cost of massage therapy after an accident? Or will you be forced to pay for massage therapy out of pocket?
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about whether or not car insurance covers massage therapy.
Most Insurance Companies Do Not Cover Massage Therapy
Generally, car insurance companies will not cover the cost of massage therapy after the accident. Car insurance can cover your medical bills – or the medical bills of any other people you injured. However, massage therapy does not typically fall under this coverage.
If you live in a no-fault state, then your medical bills will be covered by your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you live in an at-fault state (like most states), then the bodily injury liability coverage of the at-fault driver will cover any medical expenses.
Insurance Companies May Cover Massage Therapy If Prescribed By a Doctor
It’s rare for car insurance to cover the costs of massage therapy. However, it’s not totally unheard of.
Your best option is to get a prescription for massage therapy from a doctor. If a physician prescribes massage therapy to treat your injuries after an accident, then your auto insurance – or the auto insurance of the at-fault driver – may cover the costs of massage therapy.
Some massage therapists work specifically with car insurance companies. Payments are made directly from the insurance company to the massage therapist.
Massage Therapy Must Be “Medically Necessary” and “Reasonable”
To determine whether or not massage therapy should be covered, your insurance company will investigate whether or not your massage therapy is “medically necessary” and “reasonable”.
Is your massage therapy genuinely needed to help you get better? Are you medically required to get massage therapy as a direct result of your auto accident injuries? Or is massage therapy just something that will make you temporarily feel better?
Furthermore, does the massage therapist charge reasonable prices? Is the price of massage therapy similar to the prices charged by other providers in the region? Is the client receiving too much massage therapy? Or is the client receiving a normal number of massage therapy sessions compared to car accident victims?
If you legitimately need massage therapy to make yourself ‘whole’ again after an accident, then it’s possible for car insurance to cover the cost of massage therapy.
Some Drivers Commit Insurance Fraud When Requesting Massage Therapy Coverage
If massage therapy is medically necessary and priced reasonably, then your car insurance company could cover it.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often push back against massage therapy coverage because there’s a huge problem with fraud.
It’s difficult for the insurance company to determine if massage therapy is medically necessary and reasonably priced, so they just refuse to cover it at all.
“Scam artists have found a way to milk this [no-fault car insurance] cash cow with “swoop and squat” car crashes…and in some instances, they even create fake crashes using only paperwork.”
After creating a crash scene, the fraudsters visit massage therapists and other professionals who are aware of the scam:
“The ringleaders, or brokers, organize “spider webs” of chiropractors, massage therapists and fake clinics to provide nonexistent X-rays and fraudulent diagnoses that overwhelm insurers with thousands of claims that are rushed through immediately after the “accident.””
Stories like this are particularly common in no-fault states, where personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is specifically designed to cover the immediate costs after an accident. Scammers take advantage of these systems to rack up fraudulent claims – like for massage therapy.
This is one reason why insurance companies are hesitant to cover massage therapy after an accident.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
If the insurance company is pushing back against you, or if the insurance company is using its own lawyers to intimidate you, then you may want to hire your own attorney. A good car accident attorney will push back against the insurance company, fighting to make sure your massage therapy costs and other expenses are covered.
An attorney can also help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, holding the other driver personally liable for any additional expenses beyond what’s covered by car insurance.
Conclusion: It’s Rare for Car Insurance to Cover Massage Therapy (But Not Unheard Of)
Generally, car insurance companies will not cover the costs of massage therapy. However, if massage therapy is deemed “medically necessary” and “reasonable” after your accident, then it’s certainly possible for massage therapy to be covered by car insurance.
Ask your doctor for a prescription for massage therapy. Without a prescription, it’s unlikely car insurance will cover the cost of massage therapy.