Will Auto Insurance Pay for Physical Therapy After an Accident?

If it's medically necessary, auto insurance will pay for physical therapy after an accident. The at-fault driver's car insurance will cover physical therapy, but if you live in a no-fault state it will be your auto insurance policy that covers it instead. If your physical therapy surpasses the limits of the auto insurance policy, then your health insurance may kick in to cover the rest. Read our guide to learn more.

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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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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

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2021

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Many people require physical therapy after a car accident. If you need physical therapy after an accident, will car insurance pay for it? Or will you need to pay for physical therapy out of pocket?

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about whether or not car insurance pays for physical therapy after an accident.

Car Insurance Generally Covers Physical Therapy If It’s Medically Necessary

If a doctor prescribes physical therapy after an accident, then car insurance should cover the cost of physical therapy. Generally, a car insurance policy will cover physical therapy when it’s medically necessary.

If you live in an at-fault state, then physical therapy should be covered by the car insurance policy of the at-fault driver. If another driver hits your vehicle and gives you whiplash that requires physical therapy, for example, then the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage should cover the costs of physical therapy and other rehabilitation.

Certain states – including most no-fault states – require drivers to have medical payments coverage. Medical payments coverage functions just like health insurance: it covers your own medical bills after a car accident. You may be able to use medical payments coverage to cover physical therapy regardless of who was at fault.

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The At-Fault Driver is Legally Required to Cover Physical Therapy Expenses After an Accident

The at-fault driver is required to make any injured parties ‘whole’ again after an accident. This can include covering medical bills, physical therapy costs, and other expenses.

If the at-fault driver’s car insurance is used up, then the at-fault driver is still required to cover these expenses. In this situation, the injured parties could sue the other driver for compensation.

If you were injured by another driver and require physical therapy, then consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer specializing in car accident injuries. A lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident.

Physical Therapy Clinics May Provide Treatment Upfront While Waiting for a Settlement

Some physical therapy clinics will provide treatment upfront at no cost while you wait for payment from your car insurance company or the at-fault party.

If your car insurance company is investigating the claim prior to paying out the claim, for example, then you may find a physical therapy clinic willing to provide treatment upfront.

Similarly, a physical therapy clinic may also provide treatment upfront while waiting for the outcome of a lawsuit. If you sued the other driver in a personal injury lawsuit, for example, then a physical therapy clinic may provide treatment with the expectation of a future settlement.

Health Insurance Can Also Cover Physical Therapy After a Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident, then your car insurance policy will be your primary insurance. You will use this insurance first up to the limits in your policy.

Once your car insurance limits are used up, however, you may wish to use your health insurance to cover remaining expenses. Health insurance companies will generally cover physical therapy if it’s medically necessary.

You may have to use your health insurance after an accident if you have insufficient coverage. Medical payments coverage, for example, typically only covers up to $10,000 of medical bills after a car accident. If your medical bills, physical therapy costs, and other expenses add up to over $10,000, then you may need to use your health insurance.

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Auto Insurance May Not Always Cover Physical Therapy

There are certain situations where auto insurance will not cover physical therapy.

If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, for example, then your physical therapy expenses may not be covered. Approximately 1 in 8 drivers in the United States have no car insurance. If an uninsured driver hits you, then you can sue the other driver for medical bills, physical therapy expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Or, you can use your own car insurance policy’s uninsured or underinsured driver insurance to cover certain costs.

Alternatively, if you only have basic liability car insurance and you were at-fault for an accident, then your car insurance may not cover your own medical bills or physical therapy expenses. Drivers in at-fault states who cause an accident, for example, may not receive physical therapy coverage (or any medical bill coverage) after an accident.

Some drivers also maintain too little car insurance coverage. If the at-fault driver only had the state’s minimum required amount of car insurance, for example, then the limits may be used up long before you begin physical therapy treatment.

Some people receive physical therapy after an accident even when it’s not medically necessary. If a doctor did not prescribe physical therapy, but you undergo therapy regardless, then your car insurance may refuse to cover your bills. Generally, car insurance will only pay for medical bills and therapy after an accident if it’s medically necessary.

Final Word

Generally, car insurance will cover any physical therapy that is medically necessary after a car accident. If your doctor prescribes physical therapy after a car accident, then the car insurance of the at-fault driver should cover the costs. The car insurance company of the at-fault driver is required to pay for physical therapy expenses – along with your other medical bills.

In no-fault states, medical payments coverage will cover medically necessary physical therapy up to the limits of your policy.

If the car insurance limits are used up, or if you’re the at-fault driver, then you may be able to use your health insurance to cover physical therapy expenses.

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