Auto accidents are unfortunate for everyone involved. For the person at fault, an accident creates a specific set of problems. In addition to dealing with your injury and recovery, medical bills can start piling up in a hurry. Knowing that you have the right insurance and that your medical bills will be covered can be a welcome relief after such a stressful event.
Here is how to know if your car insurance will cover your medical bills if you are at fault in the accident.
Knowing your policy
Knowing the differences in types of auto insurance policies is key to understanding medical coverages.
For example, "Liability coverage protects you if you are at fault for a collision. It pays for medical expenses and vehicle damage for the other driver and passengers," according to USA.gov.
"In its broadest sense, liability insurance covers the conduct of a person, persons, or a business following an incident resulting in injury or death and helps protect them from the risk of liabilities imposed by lawsuits or similar claims," says Thomas J Henry Law.
While liability insurance does not cover the at-fault driver's medical expenses, purchasing a "no-fault insurance" can cover medical costs for the policyholder, regardless of fault, according to DMV.org. Purchasing this option is only available in no-fault states and not only covers medical expenses, but it also covers lost wages, funeral expenses, child care and household maintenance.
In addition to personal injury protection, there is a supplemental policy you can add to your auto insurance called medical payments coverage. This is similar to personal injury protection coverage in that it will aid paying for your medical bills, even if you are found at fault. It is best to keep this in mind as only supplemental coverage for medical bills and funeral expenses. Medical payments coverage will not typically pay for lost wages or other items that would be covered by your personal injury protection policy.
While this might sound like a great option to protect yourself, don't be overzealous in wanting to buy this supplemental policy without first checking with your health insurance, says Value Penguin. Many insured drivers find they probably don't need it to cover expensive medical bills because their health insurance provides excellent coverage for injuries you suffer in a car accident.
In general, if you buy only liability coverage, be ready to assume the risk of covering your injuries if you are at fault in an accident. Oftentimes, the state required minimum limit is very low and would be used up quickly, even if the injury being paid for is minor. Because of this, be sure to assess and consider how much more you may want to afford to pay in your premium for increasing your liability limits.
While raising your coverage means that you will pay more per month for your premium, this option costs far less than being responsible for paying for the medical treatment of everyone involved in the accident. Ideally, you would have the coverage needed to cover any of these medical expenses so that you wouldn't have to pay out-of-pocket.
Increasing your liability limits or additionally purchasing either personal injury protection or medical payments coverage must be considered a priority for anyone on the road with only basic liability insurance.
When the unthinkable happens on the roadways, the experienced car crash lawyers at Thomas J. Henry can help ensure that your case is handled correctly and with care. Call them today to set up a free case review.