What Is Medical Payments Coverage?
Last updated: July 2023
Medical payments coverage is part of an auto insurance policy. It may help pay your or your passengers' medical expenses if you're injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident. This coverage is usually optional and not available in all states.
Medical payments coverage is sometimes called medical expense coverage, or just "med pay."
What does medical payments cover?
If you're injured in a car accident, medical payments coverage may help pay the following expenses for you or your passengers:
- Health insurance deductibles and co-pays
- Doctor or hospital visits
- Surgery, X-rays or prostheses
- Ambulance and emergency medical technician fees
- Professional nursing services
What's the difference between liability coverage and medical payments coverage?
Medical payments coverage is usually optional. So, if you cause a car accident and don't have medical payments coverage, you will have to pay out of your own pocket for your medical bills.
On the other hand, auto liability coverage is required by law in most states. Your auto liability coverage will not pay for your or your passengers' medical bills after a car accident.
If you cause a car accident, the bodily injury liability portion of your car insurance coverage helps pay for the other party's medical expenses. Likewise, if another driver is at fault for an accident that injures you, their auto liability coverage may help pay for your medical bills.
What's the difference between PIP and medical payments coverage?
Like medical payments coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) helps pay for your or your passengers' medical expenses after a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
But, there are three main differences between PIP and medical payments coverage:
- PIP is available in "no-fault" states. Medical payments coverage is offered in states that aren't "no-fault." (There are a few states that have medical payments coverage and PIP coverage and in some states medical payments coverage is only available in states that do not have PIP.)
- PIP is sometimes required, and sometimes optional, depending on state law. Medical payments insurance is almost always an optional coverage.
- PIP helps cover expenses such as lost wages or child care if you're unable to perform essential services due to injuries after a car accident according to WalletHub. Medical payments insurance does not cover essential services.
Medical payments coverage limits
Medical payments insurance has a coverage limit, which is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a covered loss. You can choose your limit when you buy coverage. Remember, any medical expenses that exceed your coverage limit are your responsibility.
If you need help choosing a coverage limit that fits your needs, you may want to think about the cost of short-term emergency medical expenses after a car accident.
For example, say you had to go to the emergency room with injuries after an accident. Your health insurance might pay for some of the ER visit, but your health coverage may require you to pay a $2,000 deductible and a co-insurance payment for the emergency medical services.
That's where medical payments coverage on your car insurance policy may help. In the above scenario, if you had selected a coverage limit of $3,000, your medical payments insurance could help pay your health insurance deductible and some of your co-pay for your ER visit.