Medical Payments Coverage for Car Insurance

Should you use Med Pay, PIP or your health insurance after a car accident?
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Ava Lynch

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What is Medical Payments Coverage?

Medical payments coverage — often called Med Pay — provides medical and/or funeral expenses after an auto accident. Med Pay is typically expressed as a coverage limit on your insurance policy and does not feature a deductible. Medical payments coverage for car insurance is currently required in only New HampshirePennsylvania, and Maine, but can be added as optional coverage in other states.

What does Med Pay cover?

Med Pay covers only bodily injuries directly related to a car accident. Medical payments coverage applies regardless of who was deemed at-fault in the collision. After an incident, Med Pay covers costs such as:

  • Medical treatment
  • EMT/ambulance fees
  • Hospital expenditures, like X-rays
  • Aftercare bills
  • Funeral expenses


Med Pay has two unique features:

medical payments

What is not covered by Med Pay?

Med Pay offers no liability coverage or protection for physical damage to your or another driver’s vehicle.

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Coverage if injured while outside your vehicle

Medical payments coverage applies if you're injured outside of your vehicle. If you're injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian or while riding a bike, Med Pay would cover the costs.

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Coverage follows the driver, not the vehicle

Med Pay follows the policyholder, as opposed to following the vehicle (like car insurance). For instance, medical payments coverage would cover you in the event of a collision that occurs while riding in a friend's car.

PIP vs. Med Pay

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Med Pay each cover both your and your passengers' bodily injury costs after a car accident. However, PIP is required in more states and offers more coverage options than does Med Pay. In addition to the direct medical care and surgical coverage offered by Med Pay, PIP offers coverage for lost wages and rehabilitation expenses.

Which is better: Med Pay or PIP?

If you live in one of the 12 states that require no-fault insurance, you'll be required to carry PIP. If you’re required to carry PIP, it doesn’t make much sense to carry Med Pay as well. PIP coverage provides more comprehensive protection than does Med Pay, making the additional coverage superfluous.

If you’re not in a state that requires no-fault insurance, you might not be able to purchase PIP. Depending on your health insurance coverage, carrying Med Pay might be a good idea. Certain health care plans might not pay out if you’re injured in a car accident. In this case, purchasing Med Pay could be a prudent move.

Even if your healthcare does cover car accidents, having Med Pay might be a good option if your coverage isn’t great. Med Pay can help reimburse your deductibles and co-pays if you use your health care first after a car accident.

PIP vs. Med Pay vs. health insurance

Which option is right for you depends on your location and your health insurance coverage. Health insurance is designed to cover medical bills. Depending on your health plan and state, medical expenses related to a car accident may be excluded from your health insurance coverage. In this case, you would rely on PIP or Med Pay.

Health insurance providers can deny claims because Med Pay or PIP acts as the primary insurance provider. If your Med Pay is secondary, meaning your health care covers the medical expenses first, you might be able to use Med Pay to cover your deductible.

Either way, having PIP or Med Pay and health care will ensure you don't pay out-of-pocket healthcare expenses after a collision. See our guide on auto insurance vs. health insurance for more information.

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What is medical payments coverage in homeowners insurance?

Also known as Coverage F in your home insurance policy, medical payments to others is reserved for covering the medical expenses of a guest if they injure themselves on your property. For instance, if the nanny trips on something and fractures a bone, your medical payments coverage will kick in to cover the nanny's treatment at the hospital. Coverage limits for Coverage F are typically quite low compared to your liability limit — it usually ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.

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How is Med Pay coverage different from liability insurance?

The key difference between liability and Med Pay is that liability limits are much, much higher; this is because liability covers more than just medical expenses. Liability coverage also encompasses legal fees if you're sued for causing damage to someone else. In short, liability covers property damage and bodily injury you cause, while Med Pay only covers bodily injuries and comes with a much smaller limit.

Med Pay is meant to help you avoid potential litigation by settling small claims. It does not have the scope of coverage liability provides, and only covers the medical expenses of the injured person regardless of who is at fault.

What is medical payments coverage in renters insurance?

Similar to the way Med Pay coverage works for homeowners, this coverage in your renters insurance will cover the medical expenses of someone who is injured while on your rental property. If your friend comes over to help you with a task and accidentally breaks a finger, you can use your medical payments coverage to cover your friend's treatment — no matter who is at fault for the injury. Med Pay helps policyholders avoid having small claims snowball into a situation where they are sued; if it comes to this point, then your liability coverage would come into play, and your insurer would need to spend much more money defending you in court.

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Med Pay in auto insurance: state-by-state options

State Med Pay availability
Alabama Yes, optional
Alaska Yes, optional
Arizona Yes, optional
Arkansas Yes, optional
California Yes, optional
Colorado Yes, optional
Connecticut Yes, optional
Delaware Yes, optional
Florida Yes, optional
Georgia Yes, optional
Hawaii Yes, optional
Idaho Yes, optional
Illinois Yes, optional
Indiana Yes, optional
Iowa Yes, optional
Kansas Yes, optional
Kentucky Yes, optional
Louisiana Yes, optional
Maine Required
Maryland Yes, optional
Massachusetts Yes, optional
Michigan Yes, optional
Minnesota Not available
Mississippi Yes, optional
Missouri Yes, optional
Montana Yes, optional
Nebraska Yes, optional
Nevada Yes, optional
New Hampshire Required
New Jersey Yes, optional
New Mexico Yes, optional
New York Not available
North Carolina Yes, optional
North Dakota Not available
Ohio Yes, optional
Oklahoma Yes, optional
Oregon Not available
Pennsylvania Required
Rhode Island Yes, optional
South Carolina Yes, optional
South Dakota Yes, optional
Tennessee Yes, optional
Texas Yes, optional
Utah Yes, optional
Vermont Yes, optional
Virginia Yes, optional
Washington Yes, optional
West Virginia Yes, optional
Wisconsin Yes, optional
Wyoming Yes, optional
Washington DC Yes, optional

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.