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Medical Payments Coverage in Auto Insurance

Medical payments coverage in auto insurance is a specialized part of an auto policy that handles a specific set of expenses in claim situations. Generally speaking, medical payments coverage takes care of medical expenses and sometimes other related costs like rehabilitation or funeral costs that result from an accident involving the covered driver and passengers in the car. It can also cover the family of the insured if they get injured by another car while walking or riding a bicycle. This particular part of a policy has its value, but sometimes includes protection that overlaps with existing policies, such as drivers' health insurance plans. It is important for anyone thinking about adding this area of coverage to their auto insurance plan to really take a close look at what it covers and also get a good sense of their need for this specific protection. The way to do this is to look at the protection offered by medical payments coverage and also to find out what kind of coverage, based on location and auto insurance, for these situations they may already have.

Medical Payments Coverage Basics

Medical expenses you might rack up as a result of a car accident are covered by medical payments insurance on an auto policy. They can be extended to any member of the household who happen to end up with injury claims after an accident, even if they were involved as pedestrians. Different states have different specific methods for framing the requirements and definitions of this particular coverage, so it is important for auto owners to know the law in their home state and to be aware of their rights and responsibilities as policy holders.

Not all states require medical payments protection in their auto insurance policies. It is strictly optional in many states. And not all of them offer this policy form in exactly the same manner. Before you purchase any coverage of this kind, get familiarized with the requirements in your state as well as the optional aspects of this area of a policy. A dozen states as well as Puerto Rico utilize the no fault system of auto insurance. In these states each driver is required to carry a form of medical payments coverage called PIP or personal injury protection. PIP is unique in that it may help cover the covered victim's medical expenses as well as other losses like the cost of child care, lost wages, rehabilitation, and so on. Some no fault states allow policy holders to designate their health insurance policy as their primary medical coverage for auto claims, a practice which can drive down the cost of auto insurance for motorists who choose to do so.

Health Insurance and Auto Injuries

Drivers who have good health, home and car insurance policies often have built in protection already existing in these plans against the kinds of expenses covered by auto insurance medical payments plans. Policy holders with life or short and long term disability coverage in states that do not require PIP or some other medical based coverage on their auto insurance plans really have no need to include this kind of protection as a supplement to their car policies. One potential difference that policy holders should keep in mind and probably explore in greater depth before coming to a decision either way is the fact that auto insurance medical payments coverage is not usually part of a PPO or HMO and thus often provides patients with greater flexibility in the choices they make about where to go for their care after an accident.

Every portion of an auto insurance policy should be examined on its own merits as well as in the context of how it fits in with your overall bundle of coverage. If you have comprehensive health benefits from the various policies you may already have and this area of protection is not mandated by your home state, it is probably best to opt out of this policy to save money on coverage that might be superfluous and unnecessary. But if upon examination you recognize a gap in your stable of protection and see where a policy offering this kind of service could benefit you, it is good to take the time to consider the additional cost and to decide if that cost is justified by the extra service it provides and the value it adds to your policy.

Auto Insurance Coverage vs. Cost

In the end, this is the essential question facing all auto insurance policy holders any time they evaluate their policies as a whole or evaluate component parts to judge their worthiness. As drivers, we want to be protected; but as consumers, we need to know that the money we spend is a good investment. Determine the return you get on investment in medical payments coverage in auto insurance to help you decide.


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