With the start of 2012, you can add another resolution to your list that will provide significant security and comfort to you and your loved ones -- updating your auto insurance policy to include medical payments or "med pay" coverage. Med pay coverage provides money for doctor visits and hospitals when you, a passenger or someone on your policy is involved in an accident tha results in injury or death -- regardless of who is at fault.
Why Do I Need Med Pay If I Already Have Health Insurance?
Many people believe that med pay is redundant to their health insurance and will only increase their insurance premium and therefore avoid adding it to their coverage. This can be a big mistake. Given the limitations in many health insurance policies, combined with the slow pace of insurance settlements med pay can provide instant money to deal with injuries and other needss following an accident. Here's the bottom line, med pay covers your medical bills up to the coverage limit for you, your family and others riding in your vehicle. The coverage travels with you, whether you're walking, riding with a friend or happen to be on public transportation, in-state or out -- as well as with your insured vehicles regardless of who is driving. Med pay does not require a deductible or co-pay.
For example, if you're injured in an accdent caused by another insured driver, it could take months for their car insurance company to cover your medical bills. Even if you have health insurance, the high deductibles and co-pays could require you to shoulder some of the payments. The beauty of med pay is that it kicks in immediately. And, it covers expenses that might not be covered by health insurance, such as chiropractor visits, dental examinations and prosthetics.
According to Christy Moulton Perry, directror of product management for Great Northwest Insurance Company, med pay makes sense even if you already have health isnurance. For example, if your health insurance has a $1,000 deductible and a 20% co-pay, you would end up being responsible for paying $1,800 on a $5,000 medical bill. With the ever increasing cost of medical care, even having health insurance does not guarantee you won't have to pick up the costs in the event of an accident. As noted by Ms. Perry, "but with med pay, you would have to pay zero out of pocket." That can make a world of difference.
Will Med Pay Increase My Premiums?
Many people decline med pay as part of their insurance coverage, or opt for a very small amount, based on the belief that it will increase their premiums. This is misplaced thinking. According to Shawn Wainwright of Brown & Brown Insurance of Florida, the cost to move from $2,000 to $10,000 in med pay coverage on a Travelers auto policy is only around $10 a year. Despite the obvious advantages of med pay, only one in four drivers insured by State Farm choose to have it states company spokesman Kip Diggs.
According to Christy Moulton Perry of Great Northwest Insurance Company, "going up to $50,000 or even $100,000 usually costs very, very little and can be worth it." Perry states "I know one case where the driver only had $5,000 in med pay and had a serious accident in which she was disabled for a long time. A year and a half later after her accident, her credit had been ruined because she had all of the hospital bills she couldn't pay. Even though the other car insurance company acknowledged liability, she had to wait for the entire claim to be closed before she could get that recovery."
Get Med Pay!
These days, the road is an unpredictable place. In the event of a tragic and catastrophic accident, a person needs all the help and resources they can get. At Cohen & Padda, the law firm deals with injured persons day in and day out. The effects of injuries can linger for years. Before you get behind the wheel, you need to make sure you're covered in the event the worst happens. Not having med pay is risky and foolish, especially when it only cost a few extra dollars per year. Get med pay!