YOU ASK:

Should health insurance pay first in an auto accident rather than auto insurance?

WE ANSWER:

For insurance, one guiding principle is that no claimable event should be paid twice.

That means if you figure in a motor accident, you can't expect to receive payments from both your auto insurance and your health insurance. In fact, most health insurance policies will not pay for auto accidents since these are protected against by mandated vehicle insurance.

That means for medical expenses arising from auto accidents, the motor vehicle insurance is treated as the primary insurance and your health insurance will only be the secondary coverage. This is because all vehicles that go out on the road are required to be covered with motor vehicle insurance, including any liability the driver or the vehicle may incur. This includes paying for the medical expenses of any person injured.

There should be coordination between the two kinds of insurance to insure that what they call "double-dipping" does not happen.

What may happen is that you can first claim against your health insurance while you're receiving emergency treatment or during your stay in the hospital to recover. That way, you don't have to wait for the auto insurance company to process your claim for you to get treatment. However, when you receive treatment at the hospital, you should make sure to state that the injuries you have are due to a motor vehicle accident.

Then, when the auto accident insurance pays you the benefits due you, you should reimburse your health insurance company for the expenses they have covered. Otherwise, if your auto accident insurance pays and you don't inform the health insurance provider of that fact, you may be faced with a lawsuit for insurance fraud, because in effect you got paid "twice" for the same covered event, i.e. your injuries.

The health insurance will only kick in for medical expenses that are not paid by the auto accident insurance. This is the case when you have exhausted and exceeded the medical benefits limit of your auto accident insurance. But you should still check with your health insurance company to see the extent up to which they can pay in case of an auto accident.

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