Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage — often called Med Pay — provides medical and/or funeral expenses after a car 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 Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Maine, but can be added as optional coverage in other locations.
What does Med Pay cover?
Med Pay covers only damages 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 costs
- EMT/ambulance costs
- Hospital expenditures
- Aftercare bills
- Funeral expenses
Med Pay has two unique features:
- 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.
- 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.
A state-by-state breakdown of Med Pay availability can be found at the end of the article.
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.
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.
Should you buy 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. Medpay 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: comparing the options
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 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 car collision.
Additional resources: Med Pay coverage
Learn more about auto insurance:
- Underinsured motorist coverage
- Average cost of a car insurance policy
- What is the cost of bodily injury coverage
Med Pay: state-by-state options