Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance in California

California does not require PIP insurance, also called medical payments coverage, or “med-pay.” However, motorists might be interested in purchasing it anyway. Consider the following factors when deciding whether to purchase medical payments coverage.

What is PIP or Med-Pay?

Most people know what liability insurance is. If you get in an accident, the driver who is responsible for the collision will have insurance that pays for medical care for other people. For example:

Michael rear ends Annie at an intersection, causing Annie to slam against her driving wheel and suffer multiple broken bones as well as a concussion. Because Michael is at fault for the collision, Annie can file a claim with Michael’s insurer. His bodily injury liability insurance (BI) will pay for Annie’s medical bills and replace any lost wages.

What happens, though, if Michael is injured in the same collision? Because he is at fault for the crash, he cannot make a claim with Annie’s insurer. He also cannot make a claim with his own liability insurance, which only covers injuries to other drivers.

This is where med-pay benefits come in. These benefits will pay for Michael’s medical care, regardless of who was at fault. In no-fault insurance states like Florida, these benefits are called PIP. In California, they are called med-pay.

Should I Purchase Med-Pay?

As stated above, med-pay insurance is not required in California. However, it can provide vital coverage in the event of an accident. Med-pay also covers injuries to your passengers, as well, so it affords extra protection. You should contact your insurance carrier to check how much more it will cost to get med-pay insurance benefits.

What Does Med-Pay Cover?

Your medical payments benefits will cover medical care that is:

● Necessary
● Reasonable
● For injuries sustained in the accident

Med-pay benefits typically do not cover experimental treatment or treatment for an injury that you had before you got into the car crash. You should read your policy closely to understand what medical treatment will be covered. For example, acupuncture or massage might not be covered, since some policies do not consider it necessary (even if they are often helpful).

Should I Make a Claim with My Med-Pay Insurer?

Many injured motorists worry that making a claim for med-pay benefits will cause their insurance rates to increase. However, California law prohibits an insurer from increasing your rates for filing a claim if the accident was not your fault.

Conversely, if you were at fault, then making a claim could result in an increase to your premiums. In this situation, you might want to reconsider filing unless you have major injuries that you cannot afford to treat on your own.

Involved in a Collision? Speak to an Orange County Car Accident Lawyer

After a collision, many motorists are completely confused about what to do. We understand. At RMD Law, our car accident lawyers can help you understand your options, whether they be negotiating a settlement with the other driver or filing a lawsuit. Please contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Aria Miran
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