We see commercials on TV all the time for auto insurance companies. Each one tries to sell consumers on lower premium rates than the competitors. Problem is, the vast majority of consumers really don’t even know what they are purchasing when it comes to an auto policy. Terms like MedPay and UM/UIM are familiar to some, but most people have no comprehension of how the various types of coverage work. Lowering your auto policy premium is great, but what you need to understand is that with cheap insurance comes very cheap coverage, which can eventually turn into major expenses if you are injured in an accident, regardless of fault.
Ohio Law & Minimum Requirements: Ohio requires that automobile liability insurance policies carry minimum coverage of $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident; $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons on any one accident; and $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident. Most attorneys and adjusters will refer to this type of policy as a “15/30.”
In sum, if you are injured in an accident and the other driver only has the bare-bones minimum “15/30 policy,” you will be limited to $15,000.00 in recovery unless you can pursue the at-fault driver individually, which is extremely difficult to do unless the at-fault driver has significant assets.
Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Protection: You never want to rely on the stranger who hit you to carry adequate coverage to compensate you for your injuries. More likely than not that stranger is going to only carry minimum coverage limits on his or her policy. For that reason, you need to understand uninsured and underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM). UM/UIM is insurance coverage you carry on your behalf in the event that you are injured by another driver’s negligence and the other driver either does not carry insurance or does not carry enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries. Injuries from even a minor impact collision can be extremely costly and this type of coverage (UM/UIM) can compensate for up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how much you elect to carry on your policy. Additionally, UM/UIM can compensate you for pain and suffering as well as lost wages resulting from an accident.
Another added bonus to this coverage is that it can extend to passengers in your car if they are injured as well. In turn, if you are injured in someone else’s vehicle, you can utilize your own UM/UIM to ensure you have adequate compensation available to you. It is highly advisable to carry UM/UIM coverage as most drivers carry minimal insurance, or none at all, and it is important that you look out for yourself to ensure you are made whole again after an accident.
Medical Payment Coverage Insurance (MedPay): MedPay is coverage you can carry on your auto policy for medical bills you incur as a result of the accident up to your coverage limit. MedPay covers you, your family and others riding in your vehicle regardless of who is at fault. Your MedPay coverage moves with you as well as with your insured vehicles. Unlike health insurance, there is no deductible on MedPay. Although UM/UIM can also cover your medical costs after an accident, MedPay kicks in right away. In order to utilize your UM/UIM coverage, you must show your insurance carrier that the at-fault driver either did not carry insurance or did not carry enough insurance. MedPay also usually begins paying your medical bills with little to no hassle. Once a claim is made to your auto insurance provider, your insurer will contact your medical providers and begin paying your medical expenses.
A common misconception by many drivers today is to pass up on MedPay coverage on their policies so long as they carry health insurance. However, unlike health insurance, there is no deductible on MedPay. Therefore, your auto policy will start paying for all your medical care from day one regardless of who is at fault in the accident. If you are to rely on health insurance covering all your medical care you would first have to use up your health insurance deductible and then you would still likely have coinsurance for another few thousand dollars. In the end, MedPay is usually just a few dollars extra added to your auto insurance premium each month and can save you thousands of dollars in the event you are injured in an accident.
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