Does Car Insurance Pay Medical Bills For The Insured Driver Who Is At Fault?

Does car insurance pay medical bills for the insured driver who is at fault? "Your insurance policy will compensate you for your injuries when you are at fault for the accident only if you have purchased medical payments coverage," says Clark Jackson, President and CEO of Jackson and Jackson Insurance Agents and Brokers in Glendor.

"Your insurance policy will compensate you for your injuries when you are at fault for the accident only if you have purchased medical payments coverage," says Clark Jackson, President and CEO of Jackson and Jackson Insurance Agents and Brokers in Glendora, California.


"This is normally a relatively small coverage, around $5,000 in limits, so if there is a serious accident the insured at-fault driver's health insurance is likely to be the primary payer of the driver's medical care costs. It is also not a very expensive coverage for that very reason. Most health insurance plans have what is called a coordination of benefits provision. Under the terms of your health care insurance or plan, you are obligated to inform the insurer or plan if there is other insurance that may provide compensation for your injuries and reimbursement to the hospital, doctors, and emergency personnel who treated you following the accident and injury. Your health insurance plan (HMO) or health insurer will have a right to collect for sums it has expended for your medical care where there is another coverage, such as medical payments coverage under your auto insurance, that may provide reimbursement for the same expenses. Under no circumstances will the insurance of the driver who is not at fault provide coverage for your medical expenses as the at-fault driver."




Medical payments coverage is known as a "first party" coverage. "In other words," says Jackson, "it is a benefit that is available to you as the insured rather than to third-parties to whom the insured may be liable. It is not a required coverage, but if you have no health insurance or health insurance with a very high deductible or co-payment, then this is a coverage you should consider purchasing."

Buying medical payments coverage is part of a process that the insurance consumer should periodically go through to determine their overall insurance needs. This includes an assessment of your health insurance coverage and other coverages you might have. Jackson notes, "The health insurance market is very competitive, and for those who are self-employed or work for an employer that does not offer health benefits, the options may surprise you. The cost of insurance may be high, but the consequences of not having the coverage you need when you need it are even higher."

Another coverage that should be considered if you have significant personal assets is umbrella coverage. This is called "excess" insurance and provides greater protection under both your auto and homeowner's policy if a serious accident occurs for which you are liable.

For those who are liable for an accident, especially a serious accident, the costs can be staggering. While your liability insurance will help pay for the costs you are obligated to pay to the other driver, often in a serious accident there are enormous costs for the at-fault driver as well. "Insurance is often a product we don't think of until we need it", says Jackson, "but if it isn't there when we do, the results can be very serious."

Insurance can be a very intimidating thing to try to understand. Working with your agent or broker, and looking at information provided by your state's department of insurance, however, can make the process less daunting.

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