When purchasing any automobile insurance policy, your brain can become overwhelmed by the amount of add-ons available to you. Add-ons range from rental car coverage, to towing coverage, to glass coverage. There is one additional coverage that is often overlooked by potential insurance purchaser and can be confusing to understand: medical payments coverage.
What is medical payments coverage?
Medical payments coverage is an additional coverage you can purchase with your auto policy which will pay for your medical bills in the event of car crash. Most, if not all, policies in Missouri will allow you to purchase medical payments coverage, the amount of which is determined by your liability coverage limits. For example, if you wanted to increase your medical payments coverage to $10,000, you would be required to purchase additional liability coverage to offset the limits of the medical payments coverage.
The purpose of medical payments coverage, some times referred to as “med pay,” is to pay your medical bills incurred after a car crash. Even with health insurance, medical bills stemming from a car crash can be back-breaking. The average person with health insurance has a $1,000 deductible and a 20% co-pay. If you incurred $5,000 worth of medical bills, your out-of-pocket costs would average $1,800. With medical payments coverage, the additional $1,800 of out-of-pocket costs would be paid through your med pay.
One of the greatest perks of carrying medical payments coverage is that it follows you from vehicle to vehicle and is available to you regardless of whether you were found at fault in the car crash or not. Additionally, if you were involved in a car crash and had passengers in your car, the medical payments coverage would be available to all of your passengers. Another little known fact is that if you have, for example, $5,000 in medical payments coverage, everyone in your vehicle, including yourself, would each be allowed to collect $5,000 in coverage.
Medical payments coverage also does not require a deductible or co-pay. The approximate cost of med pay is around $20 per year per $10,000 worth of coverage. This coverage is a good idea for those who do not have health insurance, as it can assist you with medical bills after a car crash. If you are involved in a car crash and found to be not at fault, you can submit your bills to the at-fault insurance company for processing. However, this process can take several months to years before the insurance company actually pays the bills. This can leave you stranded with mounting medical bills, and could ultimately lead to a poor credit rating if you are unable to pay them in a timely manner.
In Missouri, your insurance company cannot raise your rates for collecting medical payments coverage if you are not at-fault in the car crash
Pursuant to 20 CSR 500-2.600, if you collect medical payments coverage, your auto insurance company cannot raise your rates if you were found not at-fault in a car crash. Depending your policy language, you may be able to “stack” medical payments coverage if you carry the coverage on more than one vehicle that you own. It is not common practice, but can be done in some cases.
Now that you are aware of medical payments coverage, it may be a good idea to contact your insurance agent. In the event you are involved in a car crash and are unsure about med pay, your personal injury attorney should be able to guide you through the process with ease.
Contact our firm if you have additional questions about medical payments coverage following a car crash.