Despite the availability of additional insurance coverage options, most drivers only carry liability, collision and comprehensive insurance. These three are known as “full-coverage”. However, you would be mistaken to think you are actually fully covered – especially if you are injured in a car accident. One of the most important add-on coverages you should have is Medical Payments Coverage (aka “Med Pay”).
Med Pay is additional car insurance coverage that helps pay for medical and funeral expenses associated with car accidents. Anything from ambulance fees, to hospital visits, surgeries, nursing care, at-home therapy and funerals can be paid for by Med Pay. This coverage applies to the policyholder, driver and passengers in the insured vehicle at the time of the accident – no matter how many people are in the car at the time of the accident. Most importantly, Med Pay applies no matter who is at fault for the accident.
If you don’t know if you have medical payments coverage, first look on your car insurance card or your car insurance declarations page. If you don’t have easy access to this documentation a phone call to your car insurance company will provide the answer within a few minutes.
If I Have Health Insurance, Do I Need Med Pay?
Many drivers question whether they need Med Pay because they have health insurance. However, some health insurance companies do not cover injuries sustained in a car accident. Further, some doctor’s offices do not treat patients injured in a car accident, unless they pay upfront. Even if your health insurance company covers your injures in a car accident, you will likely have to pay a co-pay or pay up to your deductible before your health insurance will pay for the rest. Med Pay can either reimburse you for these out-of-pocket costs or be sent to the doctor’s office directly.
If I Use My Med Pay Benefit Will My Rates Increase?
Another common concern that many accident victims have relates to the fear that using their Med Pay will result in increased car insurance premiums. Georgia law prohibits car insurance companies from increasing your premium or cancelling your policy following a multi-vehicle car accident so long as the insured was not at fault for the accident (See O.C.G.A. 33-24-45). Using Med Pay will not affect your car insurance rates, will protect you and your passengers, and will often allow for greater recovery in your personal injury case. There is no reason to keep this additional car insurance coverage if you do not intend to use it. You have paid for this extra level of protection, make the most of it!
Why Should I Use My Insurance – I Wasn’t At Fault?
Personal injury clients who have medical payments coverage, many times, ask “why should I use my insurance when the accident wasn’t my fault?” The insurance company for the at-fault person will ultimately be responsible for your losses. However, your medical bills will still have to be paid out of your personal injury settlement. Having Med Pay allows you and your passengers to have peace of mind and achieve a quicker recovery while waiting for a resolution to your personal injury case. The insurance company and at-fault driver will not benefit from the fact that you have protected yourself by adding Med Pay to your car insurance.
As a sidenote, in many states, personal injury clients must pay back any Med Pay out of their personal injury settlement. However, a highly skilled Georgia personal injury attorney can use current Georgia law to eliminate the amount paid back to the insurance company.
How Much Does Med Pay Cost?
The cost of adding Med Pay to your car insurance policy will depend on the amount of medical payments coverage you purchase. The higher the coverage, the more your car insurance premium will increase. The most common coverage limits per person, per incident are $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. The cost per month for one of these policies can range from $7.00 per month to $40.00 per month, respectively (contact your car insurance company for an exact quote).
Protect yourself and your passengers by adding a medical payments coverage clause to your car insurance. Paying a small fee now can help avoid a lot of grief and headache if you are ever involved in a car accident. You can choose to add Med Pay to your car insurance policy at any time. It’s just a few clicks or a short phone call. Don’t wait – it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.