California is a “fault” state when it comes to auto accidents, which means that the person who caused the car accident (and their insurance company) are responsible for covering the costs of the crash. Most states use this fault-based system, but there are at least a dozen states that take a no-fault approach. In these no-fault states, drivers are usually required to include personal injury protection (PIP) on their insurance policy.
In fault states, PIP coverage is typically an optional add-on to an insurance policy. Here in California, there is no insurance product called personal injury protection, but drivers have the option of adding medical payments coverage (MedPay), which is essentially our state’s version of PIP. We’ll discuss MedPay in today’s post.
What does it cover?
According to the California Department of Insurance, MedPay covers the costs of medical care for you, your family members and your passengers if you are ever involved in an auto accident, regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
MedPay also covers medical costs you incur if you (or others on the policy) are struck as a pedestrian/bicyclist, while riding as a passenger in another person’s car, or while utilizing public transportation (such as riding the bus).
The amount of payout you can expect depends on your coverage limits. Minimum limits for MedPay coverage in California are $1,000 for each person injured, but you can (and arguably should) opt for a plan with higher coverage limits.
What kinds of expenses are covered?
Specific coverage may depend on your policy, but MedPay generally covers any necessary medical costs (up to policy limits) related to the accident/injuries. This includes ambulance rides, hospital bills and physician visits, medical imaging and any necessary medical equipment (like a neck brace or crutches).
If the accident results in disability or death, MedPay may also cover things like:
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Physical therapy
- Prosthetic limbs
- Certain specialists like chiropractors
One of the biggest benefits of MedPay is that most expenses are directly covered, meaning that the insurance company pays the providers directly. For certain expenses, you may need to pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement, however.
Are there downsides to MedPay coverage?
There are some downsides to MedPay. First, it does not cover auto repairs or other property damage. Second, it can be expensive. Because it is an optional insurance add-on, your rates will likely go up significantly by adding coverage.
Finally, if you are involved in a highly injurious accident, your MedPay coverage limits likely won’t be enough to cover all your costs. If the other driver was at fault, you’ll be able to (and will likely need to) seek additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Learn more about your options by contacting our firm
Our skilled attorneys are ready to answer all your questions about insurance coverage and your legal options after a serious car accident. To take advantage of a free initial consultation, contact us today.