Plain Talk Series: A Basic Explanation of Your Auto Insurance Policy-Medical
Medical Payments Insurance Coverage
The “declaration page” of your insurance policy lists the different types of insurance coverages available under your particular insurance policy. In other words, the declaration page is a basic summary of the insurance coverages that you pay for as part of your insurance premium. An explanation (in plain English) of medical payments insurance coverage is below:
Medical Payments Insurance Coverage (or “Med Pay”): This coverage is optional in Georgia. In the event of an auto accident or auto related injury, med pay covers the costs of medical, dental and funeral expenses for you and your passengers. Med pay is different from health insurance in that there are no copays or deductibles. Instead, med pay is a dollar-for-dollar benefit up to the insurance policy limits. Frankly, whether you have health insurance or not, med pay protects you.
Med pay covers you and your passengers for their auto related injuries whether the accident is your fault, someone else’s fault or nobody’s fault. Only your vehicle’s occupants are entitled to your med pay benefits so it only matters if your vehicle has med pay coverage. Med pay can even protect you if you are a pedestrian, cyclist or a passenger in somebody else’s vehicle.
Many people take the position that “I have health insurance, so I don’t need med pay.” This might be okay but it depends on the specifics of your health insurance plan language. Many health insurance plans try to deny claims because the injuries relate to an auto accident. Other plans have very high deductibles or expensive co-pays. Almost every health insurance plan wants to be reimbursed for the payments that they made for the auto accident related injuries.
While auto insurance companies do try to be reimbursed for the payments that they make under the med pay claims, these attempts are mostly unsuccessful.
Other people often ask “Why should my auto insurance company pay for my medical expenses when it’s the other driver’s fault?” The answer is simple, if you pay for med pay insurance coverage, you should use it (or stop paying for it). The bottom line is that med pay will help you get and pay for medical treatment for auto accident injuries at less expense to you. Not using your med pay insurance is similar to not cashing in a life insurance policy after someone passes. If you are not going to use the insurance benefits, stop paying for them.
The biggest question injured people ask is, “Will using my med pay increase my insurance premium?” Georgia law says no. Specifically, an insurance company cannot increase an auto insurance premium or even cancel the insurance policy as a result of the insured being involved in a multi-vehicle auto accident so long as the insured was not at fault for the accident.
Additional information is available through the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner (http://www.oci.ga.gov/ConsumerService/AutoInsurance.aspx).
You have rights. Know them and protect them.
For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.