Protecting yourself and your family with substantial uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is highly recommended. You can also benefit your claim by purchasing medical payments coverage (also known as med pay), even if you have health insurance. Med pay coverage usually has limits of $5,000 or $10,000. You can get even higher limits, check with your insurance agent. If you are in a car accident, medical expenses up to the limit will be paid under this coverage. They will only kick in as a result of a motor vehicle accident. So other than that, what’s the benefit? We get this question a lot: “My uncle had the same case as me, why did he get almost $10,000 net and I am getting only $5,000?” Most likely your uncle had medical payments coverage. Most soft tissue claims end up with the patient treating for a few months. Without med pay, the doctor will usually treat you on a lien, which has to be paid back at the end of the case. Liens from doctors, hospitals, health insurance companies, and Medicare eat away at your net settlement. The beauty of med pay is that you don’t have to pay it back at the end of the claim. For example, “Client A” treats for 2 months and has medical expenses of $5,000. He has med pay. The case is valued at $10,000 for settlement. The only expense is attorneys fees of 1/3, so he nets $6,666. (Assuming no costs for the example).
“Client B” has the same expenses, but they are all on a lien. At Craig P. Kenny & Associates, we never make more than the client, so in the second example we would negotiate the lien down to probably $4,000, and reduce our fee a few hundred dollars so that the client would get about $3,000; a far cry from “Client A”. And remember, the FACT THAT YOU OWE MONEY ON LIENS DOES NOT INCREASE THE VALUE OF YOUR CLAIM. If the case went in front of the jury, nothing about insurance or whether the bills are owed are relevant.
The bottom line is, don’t rely on your fellow driver to carry enough insurance to compensate you for your claim. If you own a car, you are in control of whether you have the above coverages to protect and benefit you. If you are unsure of the coverages you carry on your insurance policy, please give us or your insurance agent a call to go over it with you.