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Understanding Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage

If you own a vehicle in Oklahoma, your insurance policy includes several different types of coverage. We'd like to draw your attention to a little-known but potentially very important type of coverage: medical payments coverage, also known as "med pay" or "MedPay."

Your MedPay coverage, if you have it, pays for medical expenses arising from a wreck, up to the policy limit. It also pays for funeral and burial expenses, again up to the policy limit. This is a "first-party" benefit, meaning you claim it from your own insurance company.

MedPay coverage is said to "follow you around," meaning it protects you not only in your car, but also if you are hit by a car while walking or riding a bike. It covers you, any named insured persons on your policy and members of your household. It also covers passengers in your car who are not members of your household, if they don't have their own MedPay coverage.

If you're in an accident and you have MedPay, here's what you need to know

First, remember that MedPay is a "no-fault" benefit. That means you can claim your MedPay benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. It also means that your insurance company can't raise your rates or otherwise penalize you for filing a claim.

Second, under Oklahoma law, your insurance company does not have a subrogation right for MedPay claims filed for named insureds or members of your household. (This rule does not apply to guests in your vehicle who aren't members of your household.) This means that, if you file a MedPay claim with your own insurance company and later recover from the at-fault driver's insurance company, your insurance company cannot demand reimbursement (subrogation) from your recovery. Practically speaking, this increases the size of your recovery.

If you have health insurance, you might think that you don't need MedPay coverage. Remember, though, that your health insurance policy most likely has co-pays and deductibles, whereas MedPay does not. The advantage of MedPay is that you won't have to pay anything out of pocket for your medical care after a wreck until and unless you hit your policy limit.

We recommend MedPay as part of a more comprehensive plan for coverage

MedPay is great for what it covers, but it's important to remember that it will only pay for a small portion of your expenses in the event of a serious accident. If you are badly injured, you may hit your MedPay policy limit for medical expenses very quickly. And there are other losses, such as lost wages if you can't work during your recovery, that MedPay doesn't cover at all.

We strongly recommend that you review your car insurance policy and make sure you have the right level of MedPay alongside the other types of coverage you need, such as collision coverage and uninsured motorist protection. Don't wait until after you've been involved in a wreck to find out whether you and your family are protected.

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