Colorado follows a traditional fault-based insurance system, where any driver who causes an accident must pay for the damages of the victims. All drivers must purchase minimum amounts of liability insurance to uphold this financial responsibility, and many individuals choose to purchase additional policies to pay for other damages that their policies may not cover — including medical payments coverage.
Also known as med-pay, medical payments coverage provides compensation for certain medical expenses following a car accident. Although Colorado law does not require med-pay coverage, this insurance can help protect drivers’ financial interests in the event of an unexpected collision.
What Does Med-Pay Cover?
All Colorado insurance companies must offer a minimum $5,000 med-pay policy to its policyholders. A driver can use med-pay for all reasonable medical expenses related to the accident up to his or her policy limit. Unlike liability coverage, med-pay helps Colorado drivers recover from their injuries after a collision regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
The types of services that med-pay will cover depends on the terms of the policy and the insurance company who provides the coverage. However, most med-pay policies will cover the following expenses.
- Hospitalizations and doctor’s visits
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Physical therapy sessions
- Specialized services, such as surgery, radiology, and chiropractic care
- Ambulance transport after the accident
- Emergency room services
Since med-pay only covers medical expenses, it cannot provide funds for additional damages sustained in the car accident. Drivers cannot use med-pay to cover lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage to their vehicle, or any expenses that exceed the policy limit.
Benefits of Med-Pay Coverage
Car accidents can lead to serious, debilitating injuries, regardless of who was responsible for the collision. These injuries often require specialized care, from surgeries to correct broken bones to emergency medical intervention after a traumatic brain injury. The aftermath of the injury may also require years of follow-up care, including additional doctor’s visits, corrective surgeries, and physical therapy sessions. While a driver’s health insurance may be able to offset some of these costs, uncovered surgeries can result in thousands of dollars in treatment costs — and years of unexpected debt.
With med-pay coverage, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike can receive compensation for their medical expenses. Med-pay can help policyholders pay down their health insurance deductibles, as well as put funds toward out of network providers who can provide the care they need. This policy can also provide coverage for emergency medical services, allowing victims to receive prompt treatment for severe, life-threatening injuries without worrying about the ambulance cost.
Can You File a Med-Pay and an UM/UIM Claim?
Since Colorado is a fault state, collisions with uninsured motorists can pose several challenges to injured drivers. Med-pay is a separate policy from uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), which often covers damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Drivers can purchase separate med-pay and UM/UIM policies in addition to required liability coverage.
When dealing with insurance companies, it’s important to remember that it is not in the company’s best interest to provide maximum compensation. An insurance company will not provide multiple payouts for the same accident, so if a policyholder seeks coverage through med-pay, he or she cannot file a subsequent under UM/UIM.
Filing an insurance claim can be very complex, especially if multiple insurance policies are involved. If you are in a car accident in Denver, Colorado, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will review your insurance policy, investigate your claim, and advise on your strongest pathways to optimal compensation