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When you are involved in an accident and someone is injured, there are a few types of insurance that will kick in. In California, you are required to carry bodily injury coverage which will help pay for medical treatments for others if you were at-fault. This insurance will pay up to the limits of your policy. If you are carrying the minimum, you can expect to be covered up to $15,000 for each person up to $30,000 for one incident.
Personal Injury Protection, also known as PIP, doesn’t look at fault. Where bodily injury coverage only applies to the “other guy,” your injuries will be covered under PIP. This coverage can include Hospital and doctor’s bills, prescriptions, in-home services and rehabilitation, lost wages and funeral expenses.
Medical Payments Coverage, or Med-Pay is purchased on a “by vehicle” basis, so if you have two or more vehicles, you must purchase coverage for all. One of the biggest benefits for carrying Med Pay is that it covers all passengers in your vehicle. The maximum coverage amount is per person and not an aggregate total. Remember that Med Pay only covers injuries pertaining to a particular accident and is in no way a substitute for personal health insurance. In fact, many insurers require that Med Pay limits be exhausted before your health insurance kicks in.
Both coverages offer significantly more protection than a standard auto policy. PIP covers a bit more than Med Pay but is also a bit more expensive. In this day and age where medical expenses can multiply quickly and just an emergency room visit can run into mid-five figures, it is wise to carry additional coverage.
As with any policy decision, it is best to consult your insurance professional and let an expert guide you to the right level of protection at a price you can afford.