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  • Writer's pictureWise Men Insurance Services, Inc.

Does the PAP Cover Passengers or Pedestrians?

Auto accidents are not usually caused by passengers or pedestrians. However, there are exceptions. It is possible for a passenger to cause an accident by distracting a driver, grabbing the steering wheel, or engaging in some form of horseplay. An accident might also be caused by a pedestrian who carelessly steps into the path of a car, causing the driver to swerve and strike another vehicle or object. The negligent passenger’s or pedestrian’s auto liability insurance or the personal liability insurance in a

homeowners policy, might apply in these unusual cases.

Liability Coverage

A person cannot be liable to himself/herself. Therefore, the PAP’s liability coverage does not pay for BI to a driver who causes an accident in which he or she is injured. However, a driver can be liable for injury to a passenger—provided the accident was caused by the driver’s negligence. A driver who is not negligent cannot be held legally responsible for a loss, and the liability coverage does not apply.

Several exclusions limit this coverage. For example, the PAP doesn’t provide coverage for BI to an insured’s domestic employee who is eligible for workers compensation, and it doesn’t cover liability for injury to a passenger while the vehicle is being used in a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Detailed discussion of all PAP exclusions is beyond the scope of this blog.

Medical Payments Coverage

The liability coverage we just discussed applies to passengers’ injuries only when an insured is at fault. But the PAP’s medical payments coverage applies on a no-fault basis to anybody who is accidentally injured while occupying a covered motor vehicle or trailer designed for use on public roads. This includes necessary medical or funeral expenses for the insured, any family member, or anybody else in the car.

Coverage also applies if the named insured or family member is a pedestrian who is struck by a motor vehicle and injured.

There’s an issue here that sometimes confuses insurance agents and their clients. Homeowners policies also include medical payments coverage on a no-fault basis, but the homeowners coverage does not apply to the insured or family members. That’s why the homeowners coverage is titled “medical payments to others.”

As with the liability coverage, a PAP’s med pay coverage does not apply if the vehicle is being used as a public or livery conveyance or as an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Other exclusions also apply. One of the more noteworthy exclusions precludes coverage that occurs during the course of employment if workers compensation benefits are required or available. This “fellow employee” exclusion leaves a gap in coverage for insureds who sometimes drive a car that includes coworkers as passengers.

UM Coverage and UIM Coverage

Uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverages apply when an insured or a family member is injured by an accident caused by the operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle or a hit-and-run vehicle. Coverage applies whether the injured party is a vehicle occupant or a pedestrian.

UM and UIM coverage also apply to persons other than family members who are occupying a covered auto. Again, exclusions apply.

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