Medical payments coverage, also known as medical expense coverage or “MedPay,” is insurance coverage that kicks in to pay for medical bills when you or your passengers are injured in a car accident.

MedPay covers medical bills for the insured and their passengers regardless of which driver is at fault. 

Not every provider offers medical payments coverage, and it’s not available in the 12 no-fault states. If you live in one of these states, you purchase personal injury protection, which may be required. Medical expense coverage, on the other hand, is optional. 

State-mandated liability coverage only pays for medical bills incurred by the other party in an accident for which you are at fault. If you don’t want to be on the hook for your own family’s medical costs, you may want to consider adding medical payments coverage to your auto insurance policy.

Depending on the amount of coverage you get, MedPay can cost anywhere from an extra $2 to $37 each month. That’s why it’s important to compare premiums for similar coverage across car insurance providers. Insurify makes finding a low premium quick and painless. You only need to enter your information once, and you can see customized quotes from up to 20 insurers all in one place. It’s a reliable way to get the best possible deal on car insurance

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Is Medical Payments Coverage Required by Law?

If you cause an accident, bodily injury liability coverage pays for the medical treatment of passengers in the other vehicle. If another driver causes an accident, medical expenses for persons in your vehicle will be covered under that driver’s bodily injury liability insurance. But if you cause an accident and incur medical expenses for yourself or your passengers, a state minimum insurance policy won’t help you with the costs. In this scenario, medical payments coverage could be very helpful. 

Medical payments coverage is optional, and in some states, it’s not even available. It can be pricey, but it’s not always necessary. Depending on your insurance provider, MedPay coverage could serve as your primary coverage for medical expenses due to an accident or as a secondary insurance to cover deductibles and copays. Medical payments coverage can easily rescue you from financial ruin if you have a high-deductible health plan. Know your health insurance coverage limits when deciding how much MedPay coverage to buy. 

If you have good health insurance that covers car accidents and has a deductible you can comfortably afford, you may not need medical payments coverage. You may also already have personal injury protection, either because it is required by law in your state or because you elected to purchase it. In most cases, you wouldn’t need both personal injury protection and medical expense coverage, but you’ll need to check each individual policy to ensure there aren’t any gaps in your coverage. 

Is Medical Payments Coverage Different from Personal Injury Protection?

Medical payments coverage and personal injury protection offer some of the same protections for drivers and their families, but there are key differences between them. The primary difference is what’s covered. Both types of insurance pay for the medical bills of injured passengers, even if the policyholder is at fault. But personal injury protection can also reimburse your lost wages or cover your childcare expenses if your injuries prevent you from performing essential services. 

That’s something that most health insurance plans won’t cover, and it can provide a financial crutch if you’re unable to work after an accident. But personal injury protection (PIP) isn’t available in all states. It’s required in 12 states and available as an option in eight states plus Washington, DC. In all other states, you need to buy MedPay coverage if you want your insurance company to foot the medical bills for an auto accident you cause. 

It’s also important to note that both MedPay and PIP can cover funeral expenses for family members that die in a car accident. Funeral costs are not considered medical expenses and are not covered by health insurance plans. If you don’t have a plan for paying funeral costs, you may need to address this gap in your insurance coverage by adding medical payments coverage or personal injury protection to your policy. 

Medical bills typically covered under both MedPay and PIP include:

  • X-rays
  • Surgical treatment
  • Dental care
  • Ambulance fees
  • Medication
  • Medical supplies and prostheses
  • Doctor or hospital visits
  • Professional nursing services
  • Health insurance deductibles

Let’s review the similarities and differences between medical payments coverage and personal injury protection. 

MedPay PIP
Required or Optional? Optional Required in 12 states, optional in eight others plus Washington, DC
Availability Available in states that aren’t considered “no-fault” states Required in “no-fault” states and available in eight others plus Washington, DC 
Estimated Cost $2–$37/month $50–$200/year
Coverage
  • Medical bills for policyholder and passengers, regardless of fault
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pedestrian injuries
  • Medical bills for policyholder and passengers, regardless of fault
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pedestrian injuries
  • Essential service coverage (lost wages and childcare reimbursement)
  • Substitute services (if your injuries keep you from household tasks)

Getting the Right Coverage for the Right Price 

The right coverage for you will depend on the insurance products available in your state, the coverage limits on your health insurance policy, and whether no-fault insurance is required by law in your state. But you also need to find auto insurance coverage that fits into your budget. It can be difficult to keep so many factors in mind when shopping for an auto policy, especially if you have to research quotes from individual car insurance companies

To get a car insurance policy that features the coverage you need at a price you can afford, start your shopping with Insurify.

It just takes a couple of minutes to enter some information about your vehicle and driving history, and you’ll be matched with customized quotes from up to 20 auto insurance companies offering policies that meet the requirements in your state. Not only will you be able to use Insurify to find the cheapest premium, but you’ll also be able to toggle between optional coverages to see how PIP insurance will impact your rate. 

To achieve peace of mind, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. That means you’ll most likely need more robust insurance coverage than your state laws require.

Luckily, MedPay and PIP coverage don’t need to cost a fortune. Motorists can get an affordable policy and still rest easy. Insurify is here to help you find the optimal choice for your needs and budget. 

Updated April 29, 2021

Lindsay Frankel is a full-time freelance writer specializing in personal finance and insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz. For the past year, she has written about car insurance for Insurify.