In the personal auto policy, one of the most misunderstood, but most valuable coverages is medical payments (Med Pay). When cost and benefit are compared, the coverage simply brings more bang for the buck. When you consider that it provides coverage for the insured and all passengers in the insured vehicle, the value becomes even greater.
Med Pay is like an accident plan that follows the insured around. It covers the named insureds while occupying their vehicles or any other vehicle including public transportation. It also covers all occupants in the insured’s vehicle. This coverage is triggered by any automobile accident, including pedestrian accidents for the named insured.
Med Pay is purchased by the limit selection which is usually $1,000 to $100,000. The higher the limit selected, the higher the premium charged by the insurer. Med Pay is available no matter who is at fault and pays an immediate benefit for medical and ambulance expenses. It works perfectly to fill gaps in medical plans caused by deductibles and copays. The limit selected applies per person, not per accident which brings even more value to the policy. A typical example of med pay coverage is as follows:
Suppose you and three friends are on the way to the golf course in your vehicle. After stopping at a light and then proceeding through the intersection, your vehicle is struck by another which ran the light. You and your three friends are pretty banged up and are rushed to the emergency room by ambulance. The other driver is charged with the accident and, therefore, his/her Bodily Injury Liability coverage will respond for injury expenses once the company accepts liability and only to the limit of the other driver’s policy. However, you were smart enough to select a $50,000 med pay limit and your policy immediately responds to the accident and will cover you and your friends up to the limit you selected. That amounts to $200,000 ($50k X 4 occupants) for the accident! With med pay, your insurance company responds immediately without determining liability, so the emergency room and ambulance service are paid very quickly.
Many people consider medical payments to be redundant coverage if you have an individual or group health insurance policy, and in some instances that may be true. In almost every case, your health insurance policy will pay for injuries resulting from an automobile accident, but in those cases, there are typical deductibles and co-pays that must be dealt with out-of-pocket. Also, your health care insurer may elect to wait until the liability for the accident is established by the authorities; that could take several days. In the meantime, your health care provider will want assurance that all medical expenses will be paid for by an insurance company or the patient.
You should also consider that your med pay coverage also protects the passengers in your vehicle who may or may not have health insurance. With med pay on your personal auto policy, all passengers are covered up to the limit on the policy and not subject to deductibles.
When you are shopping for your auto insurance, ask your independent broker about the rates for med pay and buy as much as you can afford. You’ll be glad you did.