by E Sneineh, Chicago Car Insurance Agent
Medical Payment insurance coverage is also referred to as "Guest Insurance." In the Personal Auto Policy, medical payments coverage is designed to pay for some of the medical outcomes that can result from an auto accident. Unlike the liability portion of the insurance policy, "Med Pay" has no relationship to fault, and will pay benefits to qualified people for the cost of medical care and funeral expenses up to the limits specified in the policy.
Two groups of people are entitled to receive benefits under the medical payment coverage:
(1) The insured, himself or herself, and family members who live in the same household.
(2) Any passenger injured while in the 'covered auto.' The injured and family members who live in the same household are protected by the medical payment coverage portion of the car policy which will pay for the treatment of the bodily injuries, up to the limits specified in the policy.
The insured and the covered family members are also protected under med pay if they are hit as pedestrians by any auto designed to be driven on public highways, regardless of who caused the auto accident. This 'no fault' characteristic of med pay coverage can be critical, since you do not have to wait until the matter is decided in court to receive benefits- which in some jurisdictions may take too many years.
Any individual injured while in the covered auto is entitled payment for medical expenses resulted from the accident, regardless of who is at fault, up to the maximum amount provided in the policy. However, if someone is operating someone else's vehicles, the medical payments coverage would not cover the crash injuries of a passenger. That would be up to the medical payments coverage portion of the car owner's policy.
The vast majority of people choose not to take out high limits of medical payments coverage because they are normally covered by some form of health insurance and there could be duplicate insurance coverage. Medical payment coverage, however, will cover one thing that health insurance may not (funeral expenses). Because the rates of the coverage is relatively small ($15 to $20 every six months for $1,000 to $5,000coverage in most Chicago car insurance policies), it is a smart idea to have at least a few thousand dollars in coverage. It is also critical to note that if you don't have health insurance coverage, be sure to get high limits of medical payments insurance coverage. It is relatively inexpensive, and if you, or your family member, are injured in a car crash it may mean the difference between enough care and a trip to your county hospital, where treatment might not be as helpful.