Previously in our blog series, we discussed how bodily injury liability coverage pays for the physical injuries of others in an accident if you were responsible for causing the crash. But what would happen if you or your loved ones were injured in an accident?
Medical payment benefits and personal injury protection (PIP) pay for medical expenses in the event of an accident. However, medical payment and PIP benefits depend on whether or not the state where you live is a no-fault or traditional tort liability state. Indiana, like most states, is a tort liability state, meaning the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for the other driver’s property damage and/or personal injuries. In tort liability states, personal injuries are covered by medical payment coverage. In no-fault states, personal injuries are covered by PIP policies. Although PIP policies and medical payment coverage are both optional forms of coverage that pay for medical expenses, it is important to note that they function differently.
Medical Payment Coverage
Medical payment coverage pays for the medical expenses that you and your passengers may incur if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault for the crash. It normally covers medical expenses that are considered necessary and reasonable, such as doctor and hospital visits, surgeries, x-rays, and emergency medical services such as EMT and ambulance fees. Depending on your policy, medical payment insurance may also provide coverage for injuries that you sustain as a pedestrian or bicyclist. Unlike PIP policies, medical payment insurance pays for medical costs quickly and has no deductible or co-pay. It is a relatively inexpensive option and worth adding to your auto insurance policy, especially in tort liability states like Indiana where you are responsible for initially paying for your own medical expenses, regardless of who is fault.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Another type of coverage that can help if you are injured in a car accident is personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Although it’s not available everywhere, it is required in some states. PIP typically helps cover medical expenses associated with an accident, similar to those covered by medical payment coverage. However, PIP is generally more comprehensive than medical payment benefits. For example, PIP may be able to help compensate you for lost wages due to your injuries, and help pay for child care and household expenses if your injuries prevent you from taking care of your children or maintaining your home.
At this point, you may be wondering why anyone would add medical payment coverage or PIP benefits to their auto insurance policy if they have health insurance. Certainly, it is important to consider factors such as health insurance in determining whether to add medical payment coverage to your insurance policy. But if you have less than optimal health insurance benefits, or if you have co-pays, deductibles or limits to your coverage, the protections of medical payment insurance may be significant and helpful in the event you are injured in a crash. Even if you have excellent health insurance, you could be stuck paying out-of-pocket medical expenses, deductibles or out-of-network costs. These types of expenses are generally covered by medical payments coverage. Finally, it is also important to remember that unlike health insurance, medical payment coverage and PIP extends to the passengers in your vehicle, as well as those covered under your auto insurance policy, which is an added layer of protection.
Adding medical payment coverage to your auto insurance policy can help protect you and your loved ones and prevent you from potentially paying for your own medical expenses if you are involved in a car accident.
If you are a victim of a traffic accident, the attorneys at Langer & Langer are here to help. We have extensive experience in personal injury claims and have represented clients across the state of Indiana. Please contact us if you have any further questions or are in need of legal assistance.