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Written by:
Shivani Gite
Contributing Writer
Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.
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Reviewed by:
Laura Longero
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Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Question: Does liability auto insurance cover medical expenses for a severe burn from an exhaust pipe? My son was putting sporting equipment into the back of an SUV on a friend’s car when his leg was burned on their extended exhaust pipe.

Answer: No, usually the SUV owner’s bodily injury liability wouldn’t cover this type of injury to your son because he was not injured during an actual auto accident.

If a car insurance policy covered this type of injury, it would be by personal injury protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) because they give more leeway with how an injury occurs than bodily injury liability does. With these types of coverages, there is a possibility your son’s burns from the hot exhaust system could be covered.

If you have PIP or MedPay as part of your auto insurance policy, speak to your agent to see if this medical coverage would cover the injuries your son sustained. If you don’t have the coverage, ask the SUV owner if he/she does. If he has either PIP or MedPay, see if he will speak to his agent and see if his coverages will pay for your son’s medical expenses.

Whether PIP or MedPay will cover your son’s burns will depend upon state laws that govern these coverages and the terms of the car insurance policy. Some PIP and MedPay policies allow for claims for injuries that arise from the ownership, maintenance or use of a vehicle.

Putting sporting equipment into the vehicle may be considered use of the vehicle, so it’s possible that PIP or MedPay would pay out if he made an auto insurance claim.

It is possible the claim could be denied because the vehicle wasn’t being driven at the time, which may be what the policy describes as use. Or the insurer may not pay out because they find your son negligent for not taking due care and being close enough to a hot extended exhaust pipe to get burned.

If there is no car insurance coverage available for your son to place a claim against, then you may want to contact a liability lawyer to see if the car owner would be responsible for the burn to your son’s leg if you wanted to pursue the owner for payment of his medical bills.

— Penny Gusner contributed to this story.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.