Why Is My Car Insurance Paying For My Medical Expenses?
When we speak with a client the first time and collect all the information regarding their accident, we always ask for their automobile insurance information and whether they may have any Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and/or Medpay coverage on their policy. This coverage covers up to a certain amount of medical expenses incurred as a result of the automobile accident, regardless of who caused the accident. Many of our clients ask why should their auto carrier pay for their medical bills when they were not at fault for the accident, and they believe the at fault insurance carrier is supposed to pay for those bills. This is a common concern (misconception) many of our clients have.
The adverse insurance company for the at-fault driver is not like a health insurance company. They will generally not agree to pay your bills as you treat. Ideally, you complete your medical treatment and the adverse insurance carrier makes you a settlement offer, the offer should include the amount of the entire amount of your incurred medical expenses. However, it is generally up to the injured party to ensure that their medical expenses are paid, regardless of the source from which they recover compensation. Therefore, if you have PIP and/or Medpay coverage, your accident related medical expenses may be submitted into your auto carrier to pay up to your coverage limit prior to settlement with the at-fault party or their insurance. This reduces the amount of money which will need to be deducted from your settlement to pay your medical bills, thus putting more money in your pocket. It also eases the financial burden on you as there will be fewer bills to pay when your case resolves. In fact, utilizing medical coverage in many cases, limits your exposure, should your case be unsuccessful, and the medical bills become your responsibility to pay.
Many people ask whether those medical bills paid under PIP or Medpay will still be considered by the at-fault auto insurance carrier. In Maryland and Virginia, the answer is generally yes. The payment of some or all of your medical expenses by you or from some other source, is generally irrelevant when the adverse auto carrier evaluates your claim.
Another common question is do I have to pay my auto carrier back for the accident related medical expenses which they have paid? In Maryland and Virginia, the answer is No.
Another common question we are asked is whether the use of PIP or Medpay under their policy will increase their insurance rates. The short answer is that it’s not supposed to increase your premium. However, with many insurance companies, the answer may be more complicated. The answer might depend on your claims history and how many claims you or anyone else in your household has made against your policy within a certain period. The best way to get an informed answer to this question would be speak with someone in “underwriting” at your insurance company.
In Maryland and Virginia there is frequently no drawback or downside to asserting a medical payments/PIP claim. Further, there is an enormous benefit in carrying PIP and/or Medpay coverage on your policy and using that coverage when it is available to help you. Please review your Declaration Page to determine whether you carry this coverage or contact your agent. We highly recommend adding this coverage to your policy if you do not carry it. If you do carry it please evaluate the coverage amount you carry to see if you feel it’s enough money to cover any medical expenses you may incur should you be injured in an accident and require medical treatment.