Most people purchase car insurance based on price alone, but there are some important differences in coverage that you should be aware of. One type of supplemental coverage you should consider adding to your policy is MedPay coverage. MedPay is not a legally required type of auto insurance, but it can offer some important benefits if you're ever involved in a car accident as either a driver or passenger.
About MedPay Coverage
MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, or PIP, is intended to pay for the cost of medical care after an accident regardless of fault. This includes expenses such as:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room visits
- X-rays and diagnostic tests
- Physical therapy
- Professional nursing services and care
- Dental procedures
MedPay coverage follows the policyholder, which means you're still covered if you get into an accident while riding as a passenger in a friend's vehicle, walking, biking, or using public transportation. Other members of your household receive the same protection from your MedPay coverage. However, MedPay will not apply if you're injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident that should be covered under workers' compensation law.
MedPay vs. Health Insurance
If you already have health insurance, you might wonder whether MedPay is worth the added expense. Although this is a question that's hard to answer because each policy is different, most insurance agents agree that MedPay offers benefits to everyone except those with no deductible or copay platinum level plans.
Some health insurance policies specifically exclude injuries from car accidents, while others come with high deductibles and/or copays that can be a financial burden when an accident has left you unable to work. In either of these cases, MedPay coverage would be a good investment.
Although terms will vary from policy to policy, MedPay coverage is typically intended to supplement your existing health insurance. Coverage limits are relatively low, but it's an inexpensive way to add peace of mind knowing that you'll be able to handle immediate medical expenses after an accident.
When You're a Passenger in Someone Else's Vehicle
If you're injured as a passenger in another person's vehicle, the vehicle owner may have MedPay benefits that can be used to pay for your medical care. If the owner doesn't know whether he has MedPay coverage, this information can be found on the declarations page of the policy.
Since MedPay provides coverage regardless of who is at fault, using the driver's MedPay benefits to pay for your emergency medical needs can give you some financial breathing room to decide how to proceed with your claim.
Paying Back MedPay Benefits
If MedPay is used to pay for your accident-related medical expenses and it's later determined that the other driver was at fault for the accident, your insurer will want to collect reimbursement from the other driver's insurance. The legal term for this is subrogation. However, if your medical expenses exceed the at-fault driver's coverage limits, you do not have to repay the difference due to Louisiana's "make whole" doctrine.
After a car accident, MedPay coverage can be used to alleviate some of the immediate financial concerns associated with your injuries. However, you may also want to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including those that MedPay has already covered, as well as any anticipated future medical expenses
- Loss of wages during your recovery, including applicable loss of future earnings if you've been left permanently disabled from the accident
- Pain and suffering, including the physical and emotional effects of the accident
Retaining legal representation ensures that your rights are protected throughout the settlement process. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are committed to helping Louisiana residents who've been injured in an auto accident receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation. Appointments are available at six convenient office locations throughout the state.