When searching for ways to lower your car insurance premium, you may be tempted to drop medical  payments coverage also referred to as MedPay  It is not required in Clifornia, and many people believe they should just use their health insurance.

But you'd be mistaken to write off MedPay as unnecessary. In fact, the very  limitations of most health insurance policies, combined with the glacial pace of  insurance settlements and the risks you can offload with this  often-misunderstood optional coverage, argue strongly in favor of retaining, if  not increasing, your MedPay.

In a nutshell, MedPay makes good on medical bills up to your coverage limit  for you, your family and others riding in your vehicle in case of an accident,  regardless of who's at fault. Your medical payments coverage moves with you  (walking, riding with a friend or on public transportation, in-state or out), as  well as with your insured vehicles, regardless of who's driving. It carries no  deductible or co-pay.

If you're injured in an accident that another insured driver caused, it can  take months for their car insurance company to pay your medical bills. Sure,  your health insurance may pay, but increasingly many of us carry high  deductibles and co-pays that can stretch our finances to the breaking point  before the insurance settlement with the other driver closes.

The beauty of MedPay is it kicks in before the hubcaps stop spinning to pay  your medical bills, health  insurance deductible and co-pays. It covers myriad other out-of-pocket  costs that your health policy probably won't touch, including ambulance fees,  chiropractic, dental, prosthetics and, in a worst-case scenario, funeral  expenses.

The premium for MedPay is so miniscule -- often less than $20 per year  for up to $10,000 in coverage -- that the benefits you'd receive on just  one claim could pay for decades of peace of mind.

MedPay can be especially important for drivers without health insurance. But  forget about using it as a stand-alone substitute. You must carry auto  liability coverage in order to purchase MedPay, and you'd have to be injured  in an auto-related accident to use it.

Unlike liability coverage,  MedPay policy limits do not refer to the total available coverage, but  instead to the amount available to each covered injured individual. That means  if you, your spouse and your two children were injured in an auto accident, each  of you could collect the limit amount on your $5,000 MedPay coverage for a total  of $20,000. However, your insurer won't pay the same bills under both your  MedPay and liability coverage.

The Lawyers at Thomas D. Lininger & Associates help car accident, motorcycle accident and other injury accident victims in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Marysville, Yuba City, San Francisco and throughout Northern California.

Call 800-441-7997 for a free consultation.