I was rear ended over two years ago while sitting at a stoplight. The young woman who did so had tailgated my car down a parallel road for over a mile before I chose this alternate route to avoid her harassment. She was in a small car, but hit my mid-sized Sonata so hard that it drove me into the car ahead of me. A disc in my neck was aggravated by the incident. Dentists told me that many of my teeth, crowns, and bridges had “microfractures” as my mouth snapped shut at the time of impact. Suffering from an overall circumoral pain like I’d never experienced from any dental emergency or procedure, I attempted to gain treatment for my teeth under her liability policy as I had a very limited dental policy that could not begin to address what repairs needed to be performed. While multiple dental practices declined performing the work without upfront payment, the adjuster for Miss Rear Ender refused to pay for the work, citing that their responsibility was to write one check – and one check only – at the end of my treatments for all costs combined. I contacted my health care insurance that – despite the documented connection between dental health and physical health – refused to cover any of the treatment even temporarily.
Thus, I found myself the victim of another person’s stupidity and careless driving, but unable to pay for the dental repair treatment I needed. The cervical disc issue was partially covered by my insurance company, but my budget was stung trying to make up the difference, and it was ridiculous to consider the prescribed physical therapy treatments under my medical insurance policy limitations. A bank or my credit union wouldn’t loan me $20 K to fix my teeth, despite my good credit record. A usurious company, owned by dentists, and designed to loan people money for their dental work even declined a loan due to the amount necessary. Finally, my late mother and my father provided the money for the repair of my teeth under a secured loan through our shared credit union. I retained an attorney to ensure – I thought – that I would receive at least enough money to pay off the dental loan in its entirety. Sadly, this was not to be the case.
The question that came up repeatedly was whether or not I carried a Medical Expenses optional rider on my own policy. For a relatively reasonable amount, I could have had up to $50,000 per person to pay medical, dental, hospital, surgical, x-ray, prosthetic, ambulance, professional nursing, rehabilitation or even funeral expenses. These treatment costs would have been paid as accrued and then my own insurance company would seek repayment from Miss Rear Ender’s policy.
Too few people, especially those with medical insurance, consider a Medical Expenses rider as a reasonable and necessary aspect of automobile insurance. However, unless you have the spare cash laying about to pay for injuries that are the fault of someone else, you will not be able to pay for necessary treatment. The “other guy’s” insurance company writes one check and one check only – and that is upon the end of your medical treatment and closure of their file. Do yourself a favor and call your agent or sign onto your insurance company’s website and get yourself this coverage.