How To Cover Medical Expenses Through Car Insurance
Medical expenses resulting from an auto accident are covered under liability bodily injury insurance, personal injury protection (PIP), and medical payments (MedPay). Depending on your state you may be required to carry either liability or PIP/MedPay.
Know What Your Car Insurance Policy Covers
When it comes to medical coverage on your auto insurance policy, it's in your best interest to be absolute certain of what it specifically covers. Don't assume. The time to file auto claims is not the time to find out what you're policy covers; otherwise, you may be in for a financial jolt when you discover your accident claim has been rejected.
Liability Bodily Injury Protection
Currently every state except New Hampshire requires all motorists to carry varying amounts of liability protection or prove financial responsibility in some other way (generally, by posting a surety bond of some sort).
However, a liability policy is the most common, and this policy covers the medical bills―up to the designated insurance limits―of motorists and/or pedestrians injured due to your driving negligence. Hence, the name "liability."
This policy DOES NOT cover your injuries if you're at fault. This is a common misunderstanding of many car insurance holders.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection, or what many refer to as no-fault insurance, will cover your medical costs regardless of fault. Even if you're the one who caused the accident by running a red light, you and your passengers will be covered up to the limits on your PIP policy.
In addition to medical costs PIP also covers:
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Child care
- Household maintenance
Currently PIP is required in Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington D.C.
If you reside in a tort state (one that requires liability insurance) you may be able to carry PIP as an option, in addition to your liability coverage. It's availability will depend on your state, so be sure to talk with an insurance provider.
Medical Payment (MedPay)
MedPay, like PIP, is commonly referred to as no-fault insurance. In the states requiring no-fault coverage (see listings above in PIP section) you're usually given the option of carrying either MedPay or PIP.
MedPay, compared to PIP, is more limited. It only covers medical costs and funeral expenses, and, unlike other forms of coverage, when you file a MedPay car accident injury claim, you'll be required to pay for all medical costs up front, out of your own pocket. To be compensated you'll then need to supply your provider with your hospital and/or medical receipts.
Even if MedPay is not required in your state, it's always a wise insurance option to own, especially if you carry little or no health insurance.