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Take a look at your auto policy.  Or your homeowners policy.  Or your commercial auto policy. . .or your commercial general liability policy.  On the Declarations Page, chances are good you'll see a limit for Medical Payments.  Generally, this limit will be much smaller than your Liability limit (perhaps $2500, or $5,000, maybe $10,000).  So the question is, what are Medical Payments?

Think of Medical Payments as a layer of No Fault protection on your insurance policy.  Here's an example.  Let's say you and a friend are in your car on your way to a sporting event; it's winter, and there's been plenty of precipitation.  You're driving carefully, well below the speed limit--yet you suddenly hit a patch of black ice, lose control of the vehicle, and careen into a ditch.  Your friend complains of neck and shoulder pain, so you take him to the nearest Emergency Room to get checked out.  The Medical Payments portion of your auto policy would then respond to pay for your friend's medical expenses.  If you're in an accident where no party is at fault--or both parties contributed to the accident equally--Medical Payments can be used to pay for third party injuries before Liability limits are tapped. 

Here's a business example.  You have a customer in your office, and the customer suddenly trips on a chair in front of one of the desks.  The person falls, and then complains of back pain, so you call an ambulance to take her to the ER to get checked out.  The chair wasn't obstructing a walkway, or placed haphazardly; this injury is no one's fault.  The Medical Payments portion of your general liability policy would be called upon to pay for your customer's medical expenses. 

Think of Medical Payments as a gesture of goodwill on your liability policies.  This coverage is usually very cheap, so if you don't have Medical Payments on your policy, be sure to ask for them!

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