Medical Payments Coverage on Car Insurance: What Is It?

Lindsay Frankel
Written byLindsay Frankel
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Lindsay FrankelInsurance Writer
  • 5+ years in auto insurance and personal finance writing

  • Featured in top personal finance publications

Lindsay is a widely published creator of auto insurance content. She also specializes in real estate, banking, credit cards, and other personal finance topics.

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Katie Powers
Edited byKatie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Updated January 8, 2023 at 4:00 PM PST

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Medical payments coverage in a car insurance policy covers medical treatment or funeral expenses for you and your passengers after a car accident. If you sustain an injury during a crash and require medical treatment, MedPay will cover your medical bills up to your coverage limits. Unlike typical health insurance, medical payments coverage is not subject to deductibles or copays, making it beneficial to have in addition to your health insurance policy.[1]

What is medical payments coverage?

An optional form of car insurance coverage in most states, medical payments coverage pays for medical bills — including emergency room visits, ambulance fees, doctor’s office visits, imaging, and chiropractic services — for the policyholder and their passengers. MedPay also covers funeral costs. Unless your MedPay coverage qualifies as secondary insurance, you can decide if it makes more sense for your MedPay or health insurance coverage to apply after an accident. MedPay coverage can also be used to cover the costs of health insurance copays or deductibles if you do need to use your health insurance.

It applies regardless of fault in an accident and covers the policyholder if they sustain injuries as a pedestrian or while riding in a friend’s car.

What MedPay covers

MedPay covers medical bills for you and your passengers without any required deductible or copayment. You can expect medical payments coverage to pay for the following common expenses up to the limits of your policy:

  • Doctor’s office visits

  • Emergency room stays

  • Surgery

  • X-ray, CT scan, and other imaging

  • Prostheses

  • Dental procedures

  • Chiropractic

  • Ambulance and EMT fees

  • Nursing services

  • Funeral expenses

What MedPay doesn’t cover

Medical payments coverage does not help with any of the following expenses:

  • Injuries to another driver or their passengers in an accident you cause

  • Medical bills unrelated to an auto accident

  • Lost wages from time off work

  • Replacement services, such as child care

Learn More: What to Do After a Car Accident (7 Steps to Take)

Medical payments vs. personal injury protection

Personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage provides more robust coverage than medical payments insurance, though the two coverage types have similarities. Beyond paying for the medical bills incurred by you and your passengers after an accident, PIP also covers a portion of your lost wages and can help pay for essential services, like child care and housekeeping, that your injuries prevent you from adequately completing.

Many states require PIP coverage,[2] while MedPay coverage is only mandatory in Maine and Pennsylvania.[3] Additionally, while New Hampshire doesn’t require you to buy personal car insurance, if you choose to purchase it in New Hampshire, the state requires you to also purchase MedPay coverage.[4]

The following states require drivers to purchase PIP coverage:

In some other states, insurance companies may be required to offer policyholders the option to purchase MedPay or PIP coverage, but policyholders can reject the coverage.

Read More: Personal Injury Protection Coverage (A Guide)

Do you need to add MedPay to your car insurance?

If you live in Maine, you’ll need at least $1,000 in medical payments coverage. And in Pennsylvania, you’ll need at least $5,000 in MedPay coverage. If you choose to purchase car insurance as proof of financial responsibility in New Hampshire, you must add at least $1,000 in MedPay coverage to your policy. And in Wisconsin, insurers are required to offer MedPay coverage, but you can decide whether you want the coverage.[5]

In all other states, MedPay is totally optional. If you live in a state that requires PIP or you choose to add it as an optional coverage, you generally won’t need the additional MedPay coverage.

Keep in mind:

You’ll benefit from additional protection if you add MedPay to your auto policy in a state that doesn’t offer PIP coverage — especially if you don’t have health insurance or if you have a high-deductible health plan. Adding medical payments coverage to your auto policy provides you financial protection if you would otherwise be unable to afford your health insurance deductible and copays for medical care after an accident.

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How much medical payment coverage do you need?

You should ensure you meet state requirements for MedPay coverage if your state requires it. If MedPay is an optional coverage, you should purchase an amount that will cover the health insurance deductibles and copayments you’ll be responsible for with your health insurance plan.

For example, let’s say you have a $1,000 deductible and are required to pay 20% co-insurance for emergency care. You’ll want to purchase well above $1,000 in MedPay coverage to help with your costs after your deductible.

For 2023, Marketplace health plans through the government have an annual out-of-pocket maximum of $9,100 for covered services.[6] For most people covered by a major medical plan, $5,000 in medical payments coverage is sufficient, but you may opt for higher limits for more coverage.

How to get MedPay coverage

While you can add MedPay to your existing car insurance policy by contacting your insurance company, some providers charge more for medical payments coverage than others. Any time you’re considering a change to your car insurance policy, compare quotes to ensure you get the lowest premium for the coverage you need. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes to check applicable quotes from several insurance companies.

Check Out: What’s a High-Deductible Health Plan and How Does It Work?

Medical payments coverage FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions people ask about medical payments coverage.

  • Is MedPay on auto insurance worth it?

    In most cases, yes. Based on Insurify’s internal data, medical payments coverage can cost between $2 and $37 per month extra on your auto insurance policy, and it helps you avoid financial hardship related to medical care after an accident. Without MedPay, you’ll be responsible for all deductibles and copayments under your health insurance plan. However, if you already have personal injury protection coverage, you don’t need to purchase MedPay as well.

  • What does the medical payment coverage part of the policy pay for?

    Medical payments coverage pays for medical bills, such as emergency care, doctor’s visits, and ambulance rides, for you and your passengers after an automobile accident. It also pays for funeral expenses. It doesn’t cover medical expenses for the other party in the crash, but bodily injury liability coverage pays for that.

  • Who pays for medical bills in an accident?

    In most states, the person who causes the crash is responsible for paying for the other party’s medical bills, covered by the bodily injury liability portion of their car insurance policy. The at-fault driver must also pay their own medical bills, which will be covered if they have MedPay.

    In no-fault states, however, each driver’s car insurance policy covers their own medical bills. That’s why drivers in most no-fault states must carry personal injury protection coverage, which pays for their personal medical bills, as well as those of their passengers, regardless of who caused the accident.

  • What is the difference between personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage?

    If you cause an accident, you’ll be responsible for the damage to the other driver’s vehicle and, in most states, the other party’s medical bills. Minimum liability coverage, which includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage, covers that expense. But liability insurance won’t cover your own medical bills in an accident you cause. So if you want help paying for the medical costs for you and your passengers, you’ll need PIP or medical payments coverage, depending on where you live.

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Sources

  1. Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions . "Medical Payments Coverage." Accessed January 9, 2023
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "Automobile Financial Responsibility Laws By State." Accessed January 9, 2023
  3. Pennsylvania Insurance Department. "Automobile Insurance Guide." Accessed January 9, 2023
  4. 2022 Automobile Insurance Consumer Frequently Asked Questions. "New Hampshire Insurance Department." Accessed January 9, 2023
  5. Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. "Frequently Asked Questions – Automobile Insurance." Accessed January 9, 2023
  6. Healthcare.gov. "Out-of-pocket maximum/limit." Accessed January 9, 2023
Lindsay Frankel
Lindsay FrankelInsurance Writer

Lindsay Frankel is a content writer specializing in personal finance and auto insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

Featured in

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