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Do you have medical benefits, including chiropractic coverage, available to you and your passengers under your automobile insurance policy if you or your passengers sustain injuries due to an auto accident?

So many patients tell me, “I have full coverage, so I am sure I do.”  You may be surprised to learn that you may have “full coverage,” but you may not have medical coverage under your auto insurance policy.  Full coverage generally encompasses only what is required by California Law.  This would include Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability as well as Uninsured Motorists Coverage.  Any other coverage is considered optional and increases the cost of the insurance premium.  For this reason, many people do not even consider other coverages, including Medical Payments.  So who pays for your medical costs if you sustain injuries due to an automobile accident?

I believe Medical Payments or Med-Pay coverage is something everyone should at least consider as part of their automobile insurance coverage.  Due to the economy many of my patients no longer have health insurance benefits.  Furthermore, many health plans do not even offer chiropractic benefits; and if they do, they generally have some limitation for chiropractic care.  One last consideration, can you guarantee that your passengers have insurance that would cover them for the cost of medical treatment in the event you are involved in an automobile accident?

Med-Pay is purchased in various limits such as $2,000, $5,000, $10,000, etc.  These limits are a per person, per accident maximum benefit.  Furthermore, there is no limitation on the number of injured people you may have in your car.  Med-Pay covers medical expenses for bodily injuries caused by an accident.  Med-Pay will cover you and your passengers in your car and it will cover you, your spouse, and children as passengers in someone else’s car.

When you have Med-Pay, your chiropractor will generally bill your automobile insurance carrier directly for medical treatment rendered, and payment is then made directly to the provider.  Med-Pay covers a variety of medical services.  These include, but are not limited to:  Chiropractic treatment, X-rays, MRIs, medical treatment, physical therapy, dental, ambulance and emergency services.

Many people believe that if they use their Med-Pay for injuries sustained in an accident that was not their fault, their auto insurance premiums will increase.  This just is not true.  The California Insurance Code prohibits this from happening. So, if you are not at fault for the accident and you use your Med-Pay, your insurance premium will not increase.  However, don’t let the issue of “fault” determine how and when you use your Med-Pay benefits.  When you have injuries due to an automobile accident, Med-Pay is there for you to use regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

I personally carry $25,000 per person of Med-Pay on each of my vehicles.  The cost is approximately $72 per year per vehicle.  In my opinion, that is inexpensive health insurance and definitely worth it.   So, I encourage you to contact your automobile insurance agent to discuss Med-Pay coverage for you and your family.  Look for Med-Pay that is considered primary (not secondary to your health plan) to the auto accident and does not have a deductible or co-pay.

The most important thing about Med-Pay is that it is coverage you should have but hopefully will never need.