Many people don’t know the answer, but adding Med Pay to your car insurance is a simple way to maximize your coverage.
By Kat Ikonomidis, Intake Specialist, Burnett & Williams
As an Intake Specialist, I spend a lot of time interacting with prospective clients. One of the first questions I ask them is: Do you have Med Pay? Honestly, I didn’t even know what Med Pay was the first few times I asked a caller that question, which made me realize that it’s something a lot of our potential clients could use information about.
In my own life, Medical Expense Benefits or Medical Payments — “Med Pay” for short — was not something I ever thought to worry about, and it sounded unnecessary since I already had health insurance. However, in my time here at Burnett & Williams, I quickly learned that Med Pay is one of the most underutilized assets the insurance company doesn’t seem to want you to know about.
Many people are surprised to learn that paying for Med Pay coverage costs very little.
I can tell you that I’m not the only one to be confused by what Med Pay is and how to get it — the responses to my question about Med Pay vary from “Ummmmm” to “Where would I find that?” I tell callers to look at their Declarations Page on their car insurance, and as they flip through papers on the other end, I hear them muttering “I know I have full coverage” or “I have no idea, what is Med Pay?” Others ask, “What is a Declarations Page?”
When you purchase car insurance, your insurance company sends you a big package full of complicated phrasing and lots of fine print. Somewhere in there — usually near the beginning — is a page with “Declarations” written on it. If you have Med Pay, you’ll find it on your Declarations Page, or “Dec Sheet.” In Virginia, Med Pay is an “optional coverage,” meaning that although the insurance company must offer it, you must elect to pay for it. Many people are surprised to learn that paying for Med Pay coverage costs very little. For me, the easiest way to explain Med Pay to a prospective client is to tell them their auto insurance pays up to a limit they choose for medical expenses that result from an accident regardless of who’s at fault, with no deductible or co-pay. The payments are typically processed relatively quickly by the insurance company as they receive supporting medical bills and records. Also, your premiums don’t increase when you use Med Pay. Generally speaking, it moves with you, your family, and others riding in a vehicle in case of an accident. That sounds great doesn’t it?
I realized that just like all the people I was talking to, I had no idea how vulnerable we all are without Med Pay, and how little it costs to change that. If you were to be injured in an accident that another insured driver caused it could take months (or longer) for their car insurance to pay your medical bills. Even worse, what if you are hurt and the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
I started doing a little research of my own and getting quotes from a lot of different insurance companies. I was shocked to find that on every plan for which I received a quote the recommended amount of Med Pay coverage is $0. Why wouldn’t the insurance company want you to have a coverage that is in your best interest? The answer is they don’t want to pay any more than they absolutely must in the case of bodily injury, and as most people don’t seem to understand the importance of it — and the insurance companies rarely take the time to explain its benefits — many people take the recommended amount of $0. I played with and adjusted quotes to find that increasing my own coverage from $0 to $10,000 only increased my premium by about $20 to $31 every 6 months, depending on the insurance company. In other words, for just a few more dollars per month, you could be protected — at least to a certain extent — in case of injury in an automobile accident.
Listening to caller after caller stress over the bills that are piling up, not knowing how to handle them, and knowing that what could have helped them costs about the same as lunch out with a friend, has made me quite an advocate for Med Pay. It’s a well-kept secret that I think everyone needs to spend a few minutes looking into. You will not regret it, and I’ll bet that you won’t even notice the few extra dollars you pay to guarantee that you have more coverage available in the unlucky event you happen to be injured in an automobile accident.
If you’ve been in a car accident and have any questions about your coverage and what your next steps should be, call me at Burnett & Williams today, (703) 777-1650, and I’ll be happy to help.