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Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) Auto Insurance

Updated
Christy Bieber

Our Insurance Expert

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Medical payments coverage is an optional type of auto insurance. Some drivers may decide buying MedPay makes sense for them. This guide will help motorists make the choice about whether to add medical payments coverage to full coverage auto insurance.

What is medical payments (MedPay) coverage on auto insurance?

MedPay is an optional add-on to auto insurance coverage in most states. It is designed to pay for medical care after an accident. MedPay will cover qualifying medical bills after a collision regardless of who is at fault for the accident. A policyholder can get their care costs paid for even if they are at fault for the accident.

MedPay is similar in some ways to personal injury protection coverage (PIP). Personal injury protection coverage also pays for medical bills after a crash, no matter who is to blame. PIP coverage is required in no-fault states, though, while medical payments coverage is typically optional. PIP also covers partial lost wages. MedPay does not pay for any missed income.

What does medical payments insurance cover?

Medical payments coverage pays for eligible medical expenses after a crash. The coverage usually extends to the policyholder and family members driving the insured vehicle. Passengers in a car that is in a collision may also be able to take advantage of MedPay.

Some of the types of medical services that medical payments coverage may pay for include:

  • Visits to the doctor, urgent care, or the emergency room
  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Nursing care
  • Ambulance costs
  • EMT fees
  • Surgeries
  • X-rays and diagnostic testing
  • Dental procedures
  • Funeral expenses
  • Health insurance copays and deductibles

It's important to work with a medical payments adjuster to understand how to get treatment costs covered.

What coverage limits does MedPay have?

Policyholders choose the amount of MedPay coverage they want when purchasing their auto insurance policy. It is usually sold in increments, such as $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000 in coverage.

Most insurers have relatively low limits for the maximum amount of MedPay coverage a policyholder can purchase. For example, it may be possible to buy no more than $10,000 worth of coverage or no more than $25,000 worth of coverage with some insurers, while others may have limits that are slightly higher or slightly lower.

Do you need medical payments coverage if you have health insurance?

Medical payments coverage can sometimes help policyholders avoid out-of-pocket costs even if they have health insurance. MedPay may pay for deductibles, coinsurance, and other eligible care expenses health insurance won't cover.

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

Medical payments coverage is very different from liability coverage.

Liability coverage pays for losses a policyholder causes others to experience. For example, if a covered driver causes a crash and hurts a pedestrian, the covered driver's bodily injury liability insurance would pay for the pedestrian's medical care and other out-of-pocket losses resulting from the pedestrian's injuries (such as lost wages).

Liability coverage pays nothing for the policyholder's injuries. A driver who wants to have medical bills paid by auto insurance would need medical payments coverage or personal injury protection coverage.

What is the difference between medical payments and personal injury protection?

Medical payments coverage is typically optional, while some states require personal injury protection. PIP coverage is also broader than MedPay.

Personal injury protection may pay for not just medical bills, but also partial lost wages. MedPay does not offer any reimbursement for lost income. MedPay may also cover care only for a limited time, such as a year after the crash.

How much does medical payments coverage cost?

Medical payments coverage is typically very affordable. The price of adding this protection to an insurance policy is usually under $25 per month. It could be as little as a few dollars. A MedPay policy with higher coverage limits will cost more than one with lower maximum payouts.

How to get MedPay coverage

Drivers interested in buying MedPay coverage can easily do so by taking the following steps.

Decide how much coverage is necessary

The first step is to consider the amount of auto insurance needed to cover medical payments. Would-be policyholders may want $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 or more in MedPay coverage depending on what they expect out-of-pocket expenses to be if they get into a crash and are hurt. Drivers can consider their health insurance copays and deductibles to help decide.

Shop around and get quotes for auto insurance including MedPay

MedPay is an add-on to an auto insurance policy. Drivers should shop around for coverage and include MedPay as an optional add-on when getting quotes. It is typically possible to shop for insurance and get a price estimate -- including the added cost of MedPay -- by providing basic information online.

Purchase coverage

After finding out which insurer offers the most affordable policy, drivers can purchase a policy that is right for them, electing to add MedPay coverage to their required liability insurance and other coverages they choose to purchase.

FAQs

  • Medical payments coverage will pay for medical bills a policyholder incurs after a crash. MedPay pays for medical care for collision-related injuries regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This can include payment for health insurance deductibles and copays. The policyholder, family members driving the vehicle, and passengers are typically covered, up to policy limits.

  • Medical payments coverage is generally not required. It is an optional add-on. This is different from personal injury protection (PIP). PIP also provides coverage for medical payments as well as for lost wages (which MedPay doesn't pay for). A minority of states require PIP coverage.

  • Drivers can decide how much MedPay coverage they wish to buy when they purchase an auto insurance policy. It is usually sold in increments such as $2,500 or $5,000 in coverage. Most insurers cap the amount of coverage available, with some setting a maximum limit of $10,000, others limiting drivers to $25,000 in coverage or less, and others setting their own limits within this range or slightly above or below it.