WHY YOU NEED MED PAY BENEFITS ON YOUR CAR INSURANCE

Why You Need Med Pay Benefits on Your Car Insurance

What are medical payment benefits? It is a health insurance benefit within your car insurance policy that pays medical and funeral expenses for bodily injury sustained by a covered person in a car accident. It pays regardless of who's at fault in the accident. Each person occupying your car is covered for up to the limit you choose. Because there are no deductibles or coinsurance requirements, this coverage starts paying with your first dollar of incurred expenses. It is an unbeatable coverage one cannot afford not to have.

What does it cover: Any medical bill or funeral bill. It covers you if you are in your car, your neighbor's car, walking and hit by a car, changing a tire and the car falls on you, in other words, anything "car" related.

What if I'm in my employer's car? It will still cover you in most cases. The car you are riding in has the primary responsibility for medical pay benefits, but then when those benefits are exhausted, your own medical pay kicks in up to the limit of your bills not covered by the car in which you are riding.

Will my rates go up? No. By North Carolina law, your rates cannot increase by using your medical pay coverage.

Why would I want the coverage when I have heath insurance? Most health insurance policies have deductibles and co-pays. Even if you have great coverage on you health insurance, this coverage will pay quickly and will cover any amounts not covered by your health insurance.

Do I have to pay it back or is there subrogation? No. You are not required to pay medical payments back unless you are qualified for Medicaid and have double coverages.

Does the State of Limitations for filing claims apply? Yes, there is the usual three-year statute of limitations for filing your claim. If there is a death, then the usual two-year statute of Limitations applies.

Will this coverage pay for experimental treatment or research projects? No.

Will it pay for x-rays, acupuncture, purchase/rental of medical equipment? Yes.

Does the doctor have to be a licensed medical provider? Yes.

How can I get a better rate for this coverage? Your premium may be lowered if your policy is multiple line, have air bags, and be accident-free.

What amount of coverage can I get? Medical pay is available in North Carolina in increments of $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

How it works:

You or someone in your family or residing in your household is in an accident. Even if you are at fault, this coverage pays to cover your bills. If you are not at fault the other insurance company takes its own good time helping you with your bills. Many times these companies pay no up front money. You use you health insurance, but you are going to be out of work for a long time. You have doctor's appointments and MRI's and other bills. Your co-pays are taking too much of a bite of your ability to survive until you can settle your claim. Your attorney reads your declaration's page of your policy and sees $10,000 in medical pay. The attorney (or you) files the $10,000 worth of bills you have and you receive a check for $10,000 in the mail usually within ten days. You now have money to pay these co-pays and the rest of the money helps to bind you over until you can reach a resolution of your accident case.

Many people have no idea they have this coverage until we point it out to them. Sometimes it is the difference between surviving until you can go back to work and not having money to buy medicine or groceries.

Is it expensive? No. It is the cheapest form of insurance available on your car insurance and one of the most important you can buy. $10,000 in medical pay coverage averages about $13.50 for six months ($2.25 per month) and $25,000 averages about $17.50 for six months ($2.91 per month).

We help people find these coverages on their policy and file it as a courtesy to our clients without charge. When you are in an accident, the last thing you need to worry about is having food on the table or money to buy your prescriptions or pay for your physical therapy. Protection of your rights is important.

We are here to help you with any accident or coverage questions you may have.

Frances Knox is an attorney with Knox Law Center and has just been elected to Who's Who in American Law for 2007. She is a member of the Board of Governors of North Carolina as a Trial Attorney. You can contact her at 704-315-2363 or 866-704-9059 (Toll free)(Charlotte) or fknox@knoxlawcenter.com. You are invited to our ribbon cutting ceremony for our new Denver office on July 31 at 11:00 a.m. We are across from Advance Auto and next to Avason Dental at Highways 16/73 intersection. We would like to meet you and say hello.