MedPay 101: Your Guide to Medical Payments Coverage

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Happy family in their car

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 auto accidents happen every minute in the U.S. One way to protect yourself is by opting for medical payments coverage – or MedPay – on your auto insurance policy. In the event of an accident, MedPay will cover first-party medical bills and legal costs up to your policy limit.

This guide will help you learn about medical payments coverage, including what it covers, what it does not cover, and how it differs from other types of insurance, like personal injury protection (PIP) and bodily injury liability coverage.

If your current policy does not have MedPay, now may be an excellent time to compare quotes from multiple auto insurance providers. Enter your ZIP code below to get started.


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What is MedPay Coverage?

Woman talking on the phone while standing beside 2 cars that crashed into each other

Short for medical payments coverage, MedPay coverage is an auto insurance add-on that covers the cost of medical bills for first parties and their passengers, including family members.

MedPay coverage limits typically go from $1,000 to $5,000 and do not require deductibles or copays. This is the maximum amount your auto insurance provider will pay per person in a single accident for a covered loss.

But don’t mistake medical pay coverage for personal injury protection, which covers lost income, child care expenses, and paying replacement services.

What Does MedPay Cover?

MedPay covers all types of medical expenses incurred in an accident, including but not limited to: ambulance fees, health insurance deductibles, dental procedures, medical treatments, and X-rays from reputable medical providers. It applies if you are in an accident in someone’s vehicle or struck as a pedestrian by another vehicle.

MedPay can help cover the gap up to your policy limit if your regular medical payments coverage results in out-of-pocket costs.

Another essential item that MedPay covers is diagnostic services like physical therapy and X-ray screenings. Again, a standard health insurance policy might not cover some of these medical procedures.

What is Not Covered by MedPay Coverage?

Most MedPay insurance options do not include lost wages, medical expenses unrelated to the car accident, and paying for replacement services in case you are incapacitated, such as daycare.

Another important point to note is that medical payments coverage will not apply if you are proven to be driving under the influence.

Be sure to compare medical payments coverage with personal injury protection to determine what is and isn’t omitted with your auto insurance coverage.

How Do MedPay and PIP Work Together?

Auto insurance policies that carry both MedPay and personal injury protection work together to pay off total balances as fast as possible. For example, a $1,000 hospital bill may force a PIP policy to distribute only $700. A MedPay add-on contributes $300 towards the cost of your hospital bill (30% not covered by your injury protection policy).

MedPay will continue to contribute towards your medical expenses up to its maximum limit on your policy.

Is MedPay the Same as Personal Injury Protection?

MedPay and personal injury protection (PIP) are separate forms of coverage.

Required in 15 states, PIP goes up to $10,000, covering lost wages and replacement services if you cannot work and perform tasks, such as taking care of children. In turn, MedPay coverage falls between $1,000 and $5,000 and covers medical expenses for first parties and their passengers. Only Maine and New Hampshire require MedPay.

Is MedPay the Same as Bodily Injury Coverage?

MedPay: 2 cars that crashed into each other

Medical payments coverage is not the same as bodily injury coverage. Bodily injury liability pays for damages (injury and death) to others by an at-fault driver after a specified per-person and accident limit, including legal defense fees with lawsuits by other parties.

For example, a policy with $300,000 in bodily injury liability will contribute to $300,000 for one or more affected person’s medical expenses in an at-fault accident.

It also covers loss of income, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses.

Almost all states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. Drivers may also purchase umbrella insurance for even greater coverage.

If you want to be fully protected, having an insurance policy with medical payments, PIP coverage, and bodily injury coverage is a good idea.

If I Already Have Health Insurance, Should I Still Get MedPay Coverage?

It certainly doesn’t hurt to take out a medical payments coverage policy on top of your regular health insurance. MedPay covers the gap with deductibles and copays, reducing out-of-pocket costs. Remember, not all health insurance plans are created equal, so MedPay will better contribute towards medical costs with some health insurance plans than others.

If you do not have regular health insurance, getting medical payments coverage on your policy can afford you some peace of mind.

Which States Require MedPay Coverage?

Most states offer MedPay coverage, but there are states where drivers are required to choose from personal injury protection or medical payments coverage.

These states include:

In Maryland, Washington, and Texas, drivers can avoid mandatory medical payments coverage by signing a waiver.

Only two states — Maine and New Hampshire — require medical payments coverage as part of a state minimum or full coverage liability policy. Maine requires a minimum of $2,000 in MedPay coverage per person versus $1,000 in MedPay for New Hampshire residents.

MedPay and personal injury protection overlap in many ways as an option on your car insurance policy. While each offers distinct features, drivers often choose one or the other. Medical payments coverage may not provide as broad a coverage as PIP, but its cost can be as low as $20 annually for every $10,000 of coverage. It’s your decision whether you want to invest in MedPay, but you may find the extra $20 is worth it.

How Much Does MedPay Cost?

MedPay: person signing a form

Policyholders can purchase medical payments coverage in set increments, such as $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000. Each amount represents the maximum amount available for every covered person.

For example, with $2,000 in medical payments coverage, each passenger in a vehicle hit by an at-fault driver will receive up to $2,000 to pay for their medical costs. The difference between $2,500 and $5,000 in MedPay coverage costs can be as little as $30 per year. For the extra $30 per year, an additional $2,500 in medical payments coverage may be worth it.

How Much MedPay Coverage Should I Purchase?

Choosing the right medical payments coverage mainly boils down to your needs. First, consider your financial situation and private or employer-based health insurance plan. Any health insurance plan with super-low deductibles and high copays could benefit from a $2,500 or $5,000 MedPay policy.

Shop Around for the Best Car Insurance Rates

Now that you know about medical payments insurance, it may be time to shop for a new and affordable auto insurance policy with help from Compare.com. You can compare quotes from dozens of top-rated, cheap car insurance providers, including Liberty Mutual, Travelers Insurance, Nationwide, Metromile, and AAA.

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