It is no secret that a car accident might cause severe injuries to those involved. You likely carry liability insurance in case you cause harm to other drivers. However, what if you or your passengers also get hurt? How can your policy help you?
Most car insurance policies can contain options that might help you with your personal costs that result from accident injuries. The most-common policy options are Medical Payments coverage (commonly called MedPay) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP coverage). Quite often, they are vital policy options. However, you should pay close attention to each policy element to make sure you can use it to your advantage.
Medical Payments And PIP Coverage In General
These elements of your car insurance exist specifically to help you pay for your medical costs following a car wreck. So, they serve the important purpose of helping you afford recovery costs. They can also help you avoid the risk of medical debt. Coverage can often apply to both drivers and their passengers.
MedPay and PIP insurance are not the same things. They often cover different medical costs. Therefore, pay close attention to your choices. Sometimes, one policy element will provide better benefits, depending on what you are looking for. In some cases, you can carry both MedPay and PIP insurance on the same policy, since they might cover separate costs. In these cases, PIP coverage usually will be the primary payer.
Medical Payments Insurance
Medical payments coverage is, generally speaking, the most-basic type of medical assistance on car policies. It might pay a variety of cost, such as:
- The costs of treatment
- Copayments and deductibles not covered by health insurance
- Emergency service/ambulance fees
- Death or funeral benefits in case of a fatality
These plans usually don't have deductibles attached. They might apply to you, members of your household, you family or even guest passengers. They can also generally apply regardless if you are a driver or passenger. Some even apply if you are a passenger in someone else's car, are riding a bike, walking as a pedestrian or even taking public transportation.
Personal Injury Protection
PIP coverage is typically thought of as a fuller version of medical payments insurance. It not only can cover many of the same costs as MedPay coverage, but also can cover such additional costs as:
- Lost wages or income arising because of an injury
- A benefit paid to survivors in the event you die in a wreck
- Rehabilitation costs
- Childcare costs
PIP policies often don't cover costs related to your health insurance personal responsibilities, such as your copayments or deductibles. Nevertheless, if you have a MedPay coverage in place, that policy might be able to step in to cover those extra costs.
Are These Health Insurance Policies?
No. Neither PIP nor MedPay insurance are health insurance coverage.
Yes, they help cover your medical costs. They do cover many of the same costs that health insurance might. However, in no way do they cover all the costs of your medical care. This is so because MedPay or PIP coverage will only apply to the injuries and costs related to car accidents. They won't pay for checkups that anyone can receive every day.
Still, these policies can prove beneficial, even if you have health insurance. In some cases, health insurance won't cover certain costs related to car accidents, though these instances are very rare. Also, remember, MedPay coverage might help you pay for the copayments and deductibles that your health insurance requires.
Therefore, even though you have health coverage, you can often still benefit from a degree of PIP or MedPay insurance. Indeed, many people with health insurance carry PIP coverage because it can pay for the costs of lost income (which health insurance doesn't).
Car Insurance's PIP And MedPay Requirements
In most states, there are requirements in place for drivers to carry car insurance. Most states require auto liability insurance. Some also require drivers to carry medical payments and PIP coverage on top of liability insurance.
State regulations regarding PIP and MedPay Coverage differ considerably.
- If your state requires PIP or MedPay insurance, it will usually require you to carry minimum amounts of coverage. You must obtain at least these policy limits.
- No-fault states are usually those that have the most-stringent requirements for PIP or MedPay coverage. In no-fault states, your own policy, rather than someone else's liability coverage, will cover your injuries.
- In some states, insurance companies are required to offer you PIP or MedPay coverage options on your policy. However, you might not have any obligation to accept this coverage. Still, you might have to specifically tell your agent that you do not want it. They might not automatically omit coverage unless you request it.
- Neither PIP coverage nor MedPay insurance will cover such costs as pain and suffering.
Outside of requirements set by your state, you do have choice when it comes to selecting your medical coverage's limits and values. Therefore, you should compare your policy options to determine where you will receive the most practical help in the event you need to make a claim. We're here to help you do so, so don't hesitate to get in touch.