Your Auto Insurance May Have Many Differing Types of Coverage:
This coverage is mandated by law and covers or pays for damages caused by an accident that is your fault. There is a component for property damage: damage to vehicles and/or walls, buildings, etc and for bodily injury: medical costs for injuries to people in the other vehicle.
This is optional coverage to pay for repairs to your vehicle if you are involved in an accident, whether the accident is yours or another driver's fault.
Another optional coverage to pay for things like vandalism, theft, acts of nature (falling tree), animal damage, etc
- Uninsured Motorist:
Optional coverage to pay for damage done to your vehicle (property provision) and/or medical costs (bodily injury) in the event you suffer an accident caused by an uninsured driver. You must check your policy to make sure it contains both property and medical provisions. Always get a license plate of a car that hits you; if the car flees the scene and you cannot prove they do not have insurance, your uninsured policy may not be available. As many as 1 in 3 drivers on the road have no coverage, so this is an important provision to have.
- Underinsured Motorist:
An optional coverage to assist you in the event you suffer an accident and the other person's policy limits are too low to adequately cover all of your expenses (injuries, property damage). As an example you suffer a significant accident and the case is determined to be worth $50,000, but the responsible party only has minimal $15,000 coverage; your policy then steps in and covers the remaining $35,000.
- Medical Payments Coverage:
Medical payments coverage or “Med Pay” may be called PIP (Personal Injury Protection) in some states. This optional coverage pays for medical treatments related to a car accident. It doesn't matter if the accident is your fault or caused by another motorist. Unlike health insurance which may have many restrictions, deductible, co-pays and a narrow network of doctors to choose from, Med Pay will cover any licensed doctor, hospital, ambulance, etc with the only restriction being how much coverage you buy. Policies range from $1,000 up to $100,000 or more. Beware of policies that contain a deductible or that require you to pay them back after you use the coverage. These gimmicks are to ensure profits to the insurance company and work against you. Demand a no-deductible, non-reimbursable policy.
Why Some People Don't Have Medical Payments Coverage
Many people are completely unaware of the coverage and what it's for. I blame this on the insurance agent/salesperson. In order to give you the lowest quote possible, agents will omit the coverage and sell you a bare bones policy. Other times, an agent will ask if you have health insurance. When you say yes, they will skip over Med Pay.
Why You Should Have Med Pay Insurance on Your Car
You cannot rely on your health insurance to cover your auto accident injuries. Besides restrictions, doctors that work within an HMO are not versed in auto accident injuries, do not like taking care of them, provide minimal and often inappropriate advice and treatment, and frequently use the wrong language in your file that can be used against you later when trying to settle your case.
Med Pay covers ALL doctors, your health insurance may have restrictions on chiropractic (the most common and most effective treatment for car accident injuries), physical therapy, etc
Med Pay will pay for an MRI, CT scan and specialists without a referral from your primary care physician.
How Much Med Pay Coverage Should I Buy?
Coverages begin at $1,000. An ambulance ride to an ER can be more than $1,000. A first visit at en ER or private doctor's office with exam, x-rays and treatment can meet or exceed $1,000. After the initial visit, you can count on approximately $1,000 a month for chiropractic care, $1,500-2,000 a month with a physical therapist.
Based on this, a minimum policy should be $5,000. A $10,000 or $25,000 policy is better for obvious reasons. With high costs of medical care and the frequency with which accidents occur, you need as much coverage as possible in case you are seriously injured and need prolonged care.
Med Pay Coverage is Cheap
Typical coverage for Med Pay is very affordable; $5,000 policy might cost $40-60 per year. A $25,000 policy might be $100 a year. There is no reason NOT to have Med Pay.
When Should You Purchase Med Pay Coverage?
Right now. Simply call your insurance agent and ask if you have it, how much you have and if not ask to add it immediately. You never know when you will be involved in a car crash and it will be too late after the fact, so act now.
There are multiple separate policies within your auto insurance policy. To insure the best possible medical treatment after an accident, make sure you have adequate Med Pay coverage as part of your policy.
Questions About Your Car Accident or Auto Insurance?
Call us (714) 938-0575. We are friendly and enjoy talking to people about how car insurance works and provide assistance.
Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor
1745 W Orangewood Ave #114
Orange, CA 92868