Medical Bills: Why You Need to Immediately Review Your Auto Policy
For most New Jersey drivers, buying car insurance seems confusing enough. When it comes down to it, you may decide to sign up for an auto policy online. If you have a relationship with a local insurance agent, you could just go with his or her recommendations. However, there’s something important you should know. The option that you choose or are encouraged to select regarding medical bill payment may not necessarily be in your best interests.
It goes without saying that you have no one to consult if you opt for selecting your coverage online. Undoubtedly, you’re looking for the least expensive option with the most protection. In contrast, companies like Allstate and State Farm still have personal sales offices. You might enjoy the personal attention even if it costs you a few extra dollars.
However, there is something you should keep in mind. While it’s true that insurance agents have an ethical duty to customers, they also have a business interest. Frankly, automobile policies are written in anticipation of car crashes. Subsequently, there’s the chance of personal injury and a slew of medical bills. More than likely, the automobile carrier would love to have as little responsibility for affording payment as possible.
The bottom line is that you could receive conflicting information. After all, you’ve heard that health insurance can cover treatment for injuries received in an automobile accident. Why bother paying double? What you learn here might come as a surprise. Why not get a better understanding of your coverage before anything happens to you?
Personal Injury Protection and Your Auto Policy
When it comes to purchasing automobile insurance, you may notice there is a section entitled Personal Injury Protection, also known as PIP. According to NJSA 39:6A-4, PIP coverage is available regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
Personal Injury Protection covers different aspects of motor vehicle accident claims. For the purpose of this discussion, the focus is solely on payment of medical bills. You can purchase as little as $15,000 in PIP coverage. However, when it comes to hospital and doctor’s bills, you’ll find that doesn’t go very far. At all.
The sad thing is that paying to up your PIP option isn’t a whole lot of extra money. For many, it’s less than $75 annually to increase your Personal Injury Protection to $250,000. When you break down the amount into installment payments, it’s next to nothing.
Meanwhile, you may decide to go low on paying for Personal Injury Protection because you have great health insurance. In fact, your automobile insurance agent may even suggest this as your best option. However, you should know why this might not be such a great idea.
Health Insurance and Car Crashes
All things considered, maybe you are fortunate and have fantastic health insurance. In a best case (albeit rare) scenario, your employer pays for it entirely, and you have low deductibles and co-pays. Even though this might seem ideal, you should be cautious.
In the first place, some health insurance carriers specifically deny coverage for injuries that occur as a result of automobile crashes. Additionally, if your medical bills are paid by PIP, you won’t have to worry about exorbitant deductibles or high co-pays.
Meanwhile, even if your health insurance company allows payment for hospital and medical expenses, there is something else to worry about. If you decide to file a damages claim against the at-fault driver, the insurance carrier may have a right of subrogation.
What in the world does that entail? Sure, the health carrier will pay your bills as if you had an illness that was no one’s fault. However, if your injuries are due to an automobile accident, they will most likely expect repayment. As a result, a lien will be asserted against any monetary relief you may be awarded.
You can take a look at further information provided by the State about some other details when it comes to using health insurance in place of PIP. They may help you with your policy options.
By the way, if you have Medicare or Medicaid, you should know the law as it pertains to accidents involving cars. For starters, you could take a look at this article.
Let Us Review Your Policy Options
At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we have experience representing a number of clients who have suffered injuries in car crashes. Many are quite surprised to learn that “full coverage” doesn’t afford them adequate benefits.
No one sets out to be in an automobile accident. However, the purpose of car insurance is to put your mind at ease when it comes to your own injuries and potential liability. Our office can provide you with a complimentary review of your policy. Why wait to see if you are adequately covered after the fact. Call us to see how we can help!
Read the next blog: [The Downfalls of Lying When You Purchase Car Insurance].