What Is Auto Insurance Medical Payments Coverage?

Medical Payments Coverage Explained

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Auto insurance medical payments coverage provides financial protection if you or a passenger in your car is injured during an accident—no matter who is at fault. 

In some states you can add auto insurance medical payments coverage to your automobile insurance policy and in others it is required.

Learn more about this type of insurance coverage, including what it covers, how it differs from personal injury protection (PIP), and why you might want to add it to your policy.

Definition and Examples of Auto Insurance Medical Payments Coverage

Auto insurance medical payment coverage is one of the main types of coverage options you can add to your car insurance plan. Also known as MedPay, this plan offers you financial protection if you, a family member, or someone in your car get hurt during an accident, whether you or someone else is at fault. Your insurer may also reimburse funeral expenses with this type of insurance.

If this type of insurance is available in your state, you can work with your insurance agent to decide how much coverage you need. Typically, you can select policy limits starting at $1,000 and up to several thousand. This coverage amount is per person, per accident.

For all that MedPay covers, it may cost as little as $5 to $8 per month. Costs rise with higher limits. 

• Alternate name: MedPay

Example

Suppose you’re driving a friend to the movies so you can enjoy the newest release together. On your way, another car rear-ends you, and both of you are hurt. Your friend has a sore wrist and you have a minor head injury. You both go to the hospital to get checked out. If you have medical payments coverage, your policy reimburses the medical expenses for both of you, up to your policy limit.

MedPay insurance may also help with medical expenses if you or someone who lives in your home has an auto-related injury, including getting hit by a car as a pedestrian or being hurt as a passenger.

How Auto Insurance Medical Payments Coverage Works

If you get injured in an accident after you’ve added medical payments coverage to your auto insurance, you’ll need to work with your medical payments adjuster for reimbursement. This person can tell you which forms you need to fill out and what documentation you must provide to get your money back.

Unlike health insurance, medical payments coverage doesn’t typically have deductibles to meet. 

You can use your MedPay coverage to get reimbursed for your health insurance deductibles, helping to lower your out-of-pocket expenses after an accident.

Some states require you to have medical payments coverage insurance. In others, where it’s not available, you’ll likely see personal injury protection (PIP) coverage available instead. Verify your state’s minimum car insurance requirements to see if you must have any of these protections.

Medical Payments Coverage vs. Personal Injury Protection

Medical payments coverage is similar to personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. They both cover medical expenses from injuries sustained in car accidents or vehicle-related accidents, no matter who is at fault. 

However, they are not the same thing. Here are the major differences between the two:

Medical Payments Coverage
  • Covers medical expenses only

  • MedPay is required in a few states, and optional in many others

  • Typically no deductible to pay 

Personal Injury Protection
  • Covers medical and related expenses after an accident, such as lost wages

  • A required type of insurance in many states

  • Often has a deductible you must pay

Both MedPay and PIP cover medical and funeral costs related to an accident, but PIP is more comprehensive. It covers things that medical payments coverage does not, such as lost wages, professional health services, rehabilitation, and more.

PIP insurance is also mandatory in some states, while in others, you must either accept or reject the coverage in writing. A few states don’t offer MedPay, but it’s typically available as an optional coverage in those that do.

And because MedPay doesn’t usually come with a deductible, you won’t have to worry about dipping into your savings account when making a claim. For PIP claims, you generally need to pay your deductible before you’re eligible for reimbursements, resulting in some out-of-pocket expenses.

Your insurance agent can provide more details about what is covered in your state, as the coverage varies depending on where you live.

Do I Need Medical Payments Coverage?

If you live in a state where medical payments insurance is required, your auto policy must include MedPay coverage. 

If it’s not required, it still might make sense for you to get this coverage. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to give you peace of mind about medical expenses if you were to get in an auto accident. But if you already have a good medical insurance plan, you may not need it. 

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if medical payments coverage is right for you:

  • Do you have health insurance that covers you and your family? 
  • What is your deductible with your current coverage? Do you have enough money in savings to pay this amount if you get in an accident?
  • Do you regularly have passengers in your car who aren’t related to you? If you do, your health insurance won’t cover them, while a MedPay policy would.  

If you still aren’t sure if you need this coverage, talk to your insurance agent. They can help you decide if this type of insurance is right for you. 

Key Takeaways

  • Medical payments coverage insurance can reimburse you for medical expenses directly related to a car accident. 
  • You can work with your insurance agent to select the amount of coverage that makes sense for you and your household. 
  • MedPay insurance is required in a few states and is an optional type of coverage in many others. 
  • While medical payments coverage insurance is similar to personal injury protection insurance (PIP), they are not the same. PIP is more comprehensive and covers related expenses in addition to medical ones. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How much medical payments coverage do I need?

How much medical payments coverage you need really depends on your personal situation. If your state has a required minimum amount of coverage required, you must have at least that much. If it is optional where you live and you decide to buy it, think about what your health insurance would cover if you got into an accident. Then you can decide how much makes sense for you to purchase. 

What is the minimum amount of medical payments coverage?

The minimum amount of medical payments coverage varies by state. For example, in New Hampshire, you must have at least $1,000 worth of coverage while in Pennsylvania, you need $5,000. Check with your state or your insurance company to learn what the requirements are where you live. 

What’s the difference between medical payments and bodily injury liability coverage?

Bodily injury liability coverage is required in nearly every state. It covers injuries for people in the other car if you cause an accident. However, it won’t pay for the medical expenses for you and the people in your car if you’re at fault.