Your car insurance policy covers many things. More important than having insurance for repairs due to collisions, or personal property costs after a theft, is the coverage provided for medical care when someone is hurt during an accident. Whether you’re the injured party or the other driver, these situations can frighten and worry you. Make sure your car insurance medical coverage is not only up-to-date, but adequate to handle common situations.
Medial Coverage for Car Insurance Is NOT Bodily Injury Liability
A basic auto insurance policy is called a “liability” policy. It covers your responsibility to other drivers if you’re in an accident. This includes “bodily injury” coverage if another driver or passenger is hurt by your actions. Your bodily injury limits should be at least $50,000 per person, and some states require $100,000 of coverage or more. Why? Medical bills are expensive, and accidents are common. If someone spends a week in the hospital and needs surgery, you could owe well over what your insurance company will provide.
Having liability coverage which includes adequate amounts for bodily injury protects you from being sued. It also provides help for anyone you may hurt in an accident. It doesn’t, however, provide any medical coverage for you should you be in an accident with someone without insurance, without enough insurance, or if you’re in a one-car accident where you are hurt.
Med Pay, PIP and UM/UIM
Car insurance medical coverage can be broken down into three basic types, some required by law for every driver on the road. It depends on the state you live in. Remember though that legal limits may not be realistic for paying all your medical bills.
- Med Pay Insurance – This is an all encompassing form of car insurance medical coverage. It will pay your medical bills if you’re hurt in an accident, whether you were at fault or not. It will pay whether you’re driving your own car, or any car, and will also cover the costs for care for any of your passengers.
- PIP (Personal Injury Protection insurance) covers more than just medical costs. Like MedPay, it will pay for you or your passengers, but it pays for more items. Medical bills, time off of work due to injury, or – in the worst cases – funeral expenses. PIP is required in a handful of states.
- UM/UIM – Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage protects you when the other driver doesn’t have the means. Not surprisingly, carrying this coverage is a requirement of car insurance in many states. UM provides for your medical care when you’re in an accident with a driver who has no insurance, or when you cannot identify the driver of the other car.
- UIM differs from UM in that it covers the gap between what insurance the other driver has, and your actual medical expenses.
How Much Medical Car Insurance Coverage Do You Need?
To a degree, your limits depend on your state or local laws. That doesn’t mean the lowest limits will be adequate to pay your bills or keep you out of trouble. To protect yourself and your passengers, make sure you choose insurance that is able to help you through car insurance medical payments in order to protect both your wealth and your health.