Med Pay and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance: Coverages You Can Not Afford to be Without
As an operator of a motor vehicle, you are required to carry liability insurance. If you are involved in an accident and are the at-fault driver, this coverage will help pay for damage to the other driver's property and costs associated with his injuries.
More importantly, liability coverage does not provide coverage for you or your family's injuries if you are hit and injured by another driver that does not have insurance or if the driver's insurance is insufficient to fairly compensate you for your injuries. There are several relatively inexpensive policy coverage additions that you can purchase which protect you and your family and which makes available to you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation if you are involved in an accident in which you or a loved one is injured.
Medical Payment (Med Pay) Insurance: In the event you or a loved one are injured in an accident, this insurance pays medical bills up to your coverage limit for you, your family, and other passengers in your vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. If your insured vehicle is involved, Med Pay will pay for medical expenses associated with the treatment of your injuries.
While health insurance may cover your medical bills, your health insurance plan may also require significant deductibles or co-pays that leave you with significant medical bills. Med Pay, on the other hand, carries no deductible or co-pay. Additionally, it covers out-of-pocket costs such as ambulance fees, chiropractic and dental care, prosthetics, and, in the event of the worst outcome, funeral expenses. These are items that may not be included under your health policy.
According to Jeffrey Lasky of the Savannah personal injury law firm Lasky Cooper Law, less than 25% of insured motorists have Med Pay. He recommends that individuals carry as much as Med Pay insurance as they can afford, but at minimum, at least $5,000.
Uninsured and Underinsured (UM and UIM) Insurance: Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your loved ones if you are in a wreck with an at-fault driver who does not have an automobile liability policy. Underinsured motorist coverage protects you and your loved ones if you're in a wreck with an at-fault driver and the liability policy limits do not fully compensate you for all of your harms and losses including reimbursement for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you have neither of these coverages, you will have to pay out-of-pocket for any damages not covered by the other driver.
Some states require drivers to carry uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage. South Carolina requires a minimum uninsured motorist policy. Georgia requires neither.
Two Types of UM / UIM Coverage: Know the difference.
- Reduced By /Set-Off UM Coverage – With this type of insurance, your UM coverage is reduced by the amount of liability coverage carried by the at-fault driver. Beware of Reduced By /Set-off UM Coverage. The other driver’s liability insurance could actually cancel out your Reduced By/ Set-Off UM policy. Example: You are seriously injured in a car wreck and are permanently disabled. The at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage. You only have $25,000 in Reduced By/Set-Off UM coverage. In this case, your UM policy is reduced to zero and the maximum you would be able to recover in your case is $25,000 from the at-fault liability insurance company.
- Add-On UM Coverage – With this type of UM insurance, your coverage is added to the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage.. . Example: You are seriously injured in a car wreck and are permanently disabled. The at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage. You have $100,000 in Add-On UM coverage. In this case, your UM policy is added to the amount of liability coverage of the at-fault driver and the maximum you would be able to recover in your case is $125,000. ($25,000 from the liability Insurance company and $100,000 from your Add-On UM coverage.
As with Med Pay coverage, UM/UIM insurance costs are relatively low. In order to protect you and your loved ones from the uninsured/under-insured drivers, Lasky Cooper Law recommends you purchase as much Add-on UM coverage as you can afford.