I am always surprised at the number of people I talk to who have been involved in an automobile accident and have no idea about the various coverages that might be available to them under the terms of their own auto insurance policies. In the coming weeks, I’m going to go through a number of the coverages we often see in auto policies, to assist the reader in understanding all of the benefits that could be available. Benefits that you have paid for, by the way.
In my experience, a large percentage of auto insurance policies contain what is known as “medical payments” coverage, more commonly known as “med pay”. Med pay coverage typically applies to anyone who suffers an injury from an accident while riding in the vehicle to which the med pay coverage applies. In fact, sometimes med pay coverage will apply when you are injured while riding in someone else’s vehicle. Everything depends upon the language of the policy in question.
In simple terms, med pay coverage will reimburse you for medical expenses you incur for the treatment of injuries you sustain while riding in the vehicle to which the policy applies. Importantly, it doesn’t matter who caused the injuries you sustained. If you are driving your vehicle and you fall asleep at the wheel and run into a tree, med pay coverage will apply. If you are going the speed limit through an intersection and another driver runs a red light and hits you broadside, med pay coverage will apply. Fault is not an issue; the only issue is whether the injury is caused by the incident.
That leads me to an important tip. When you contact your insurance carrier to put them on notice of your med pay claim, be sure to tell them they are not permitted to pay any med pay benefits to anyone but you. Here’s why: Let’s say you are injured in an accident, and you have good health insurance available through your employment. Let’s also say that your bill for treatment at the emergency room is $3000. If the hospital sends that bill to your health insurance carrier, the insurance company will pay something around half of the total bill, and the hospital will have to accept that amount as payment in full. That is the deal the hospital and the insurance carrier negotiated in advance. If, however, the hospital is able to send the bill to your auto insurance carrier instead of your health insurance company, they will collect the entire $3000 (assuming you bought that much coverage). So, if the hospital bills the health insurer, they collect $1500 or so, and you have $3000 in your pocket from where your auto carrier paid you directly from your med pay coverage. In the situation where the hospital bills your auto carrier, the hospital collects $3000, you get nothing, and the health insurance you are also paying for has gone to waste. Not a good scenario for you.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of med pay coverage and how it can benefit you. Should you have any questions about this article, feel free to give us a call.
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