Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who Needs Medical Coverage On Your Car Insurance Anyway?

If you've paid much attention to your car insurance this year, you probably noticed your monthly price went up about $5 per month for each car you have insured. If you were wondering why, it was probably the addition of $5,000 medical payments to each one of your cars. The question is, do you really need it? Although new legislation made it mandatory for insurance companies to add medical payments to all Colorado auto insurance policies, it is NOT mandatory for individuals to keep it. So here is the info you need to decide whether medical payments should be on your car insurance policy.

How it works: $5,000 medical coverage for you or your passengers if you are hurt in, on, or around your car (i.e. falling out of a truck bed, car crash, slamming your finger in the door). The first $5,000 of medical and rehab needs is paid on your behalf regardless of fault or other health insurance you may have. It can be used for a checkup, chiropractor visits, ambulance rides, etc.

The good: No more wondering whether or not it is o.k. to go get checked out after a car accident if you feel you need it. If you are in a minor accident and you feel you need a visit to your doctor or chiropractor, medical payments will pay for the visits (up to your policy limits) no matter whose fault the accident was - no co-pays, no deductibles, and no out of pocket expense. Without the medical payments coverage you would be forced to either use your personal health insurance and deal with pre-authorizations, office co-pays, etc, OR deal with the other driver's car insurance company IF the other driver happened to be at fault. "The medical payments coverage is making it much easier for people who are hurt to get the treatment they need, and that's what the coverage is all about", says Dr. David Lauritzen of Chirocare Recovery Center in Colorado Springs. The medical payments provide coverage for ALL passengers in your car.

The bad: The medical payments coverage brings a new cost to Colorado drivers, and perhaps is just a preview of things to come in the future. When personal injury protection was removed from Colorado auto insurance a few years back, most drivers in Colorado saw large reductions in their monthly payments. If medical payments become a mandatory coverage or lead to the return of a no-fault system, higher insurance prices will most likely follow. Medical payments may also duplicate some of your personal health insurance coverage - especially if your health insurance has low, or no deductibles for chiropractic and major medical needs. It is important to find out how your health insurance handles payments for ambulance rides, emergency room visits, rehabilitation, etc.

Overall: For now, medical payments coverage will cost you an average of $5 per month per car - a relatively small cost. Even if you have health insurance, one of the best reasons to keep the medical payments coverage is that it provides protection for any passengers you may have in your car with you. It is far easier to pay a few extra dollars per month now than find yourself at the receiving end of someone else's medical bills. If you slide on the ice and your passenger is injured you may be responsible to get them fixed up.

Although you can choose to remove the medical payments coverage from your auto insurance and save a few dollars per month, make sure you weigh the pros and cons first. Check your health insurance policy, and keep your passengers in mind as well. Make sure you talk to your local, professional agent and get a recommendation for your individual needs, and for even more detailed information visit Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association web site on Colorado Medical Payments.

By Robert Edgin

Tell us what you think! Will you be keeping the medical payments?

1 comment:

Tricia Lauritzen said...

Not only did I keep the medical payments I added $25,000!! My husband is a chiropractor here in the Springs and we have seen MANY patients who wouldn't be able to afford medical care if they didn't have this option. When you stop and add up hospital costs and continuing care it can add up really fast.