Medical payments coverage financially protects you from injuries, ambulance rides and funeral costs resulting from a car accident. This coverage pays out regardless of who is at fault for the accident. It can act alongside your health insurance to cover medical bills for the driver and passengers riding in a car at the time of a crash. 

Keep reading to learn more about medical payments coverage, also called MedPay:

What is covered under medical payments coverage?

The policyholder is insured under medical payments coverage regardless of whether they were the passenger or driver in an accident. If you were the driver, your medical payments plan might cover your passengers, too. 

However, it will not cover the medical bills of the other drivers involved in a crash or lost wages if you're unable to work.

  • Ambulance rides and EMT fees
  • Chiropractic care
  • Dental work
  • Doctor visits
  • Funeral costs
  • Hospital stays
  • Nursing services
  • Prostheses
  • Surgical procedures
  • X-rays
  • Health insurance deductible or copay

You can use medical payments coverage to pay your health insurance plan’s deductibles or copays, too.

What is the difference between MedPay and personal injury protection?

Both medical payments and personal injury protection (PIP)

(PIP) coverage are optional policies that pay certain bills related to a car accident, no matter who caused the crash.

However, there are key differences between PIP and MedPay, highlighted below:

  • PIP covers therapy sessions, lost wages from not being able to work and hired help while recovering. Medpay does not.
  • PIP coverage limits tend to be higher than MedPay's.

Additionally, you often need to pay a deductible when filing a PIP claim. You usually don’t have to pay a deductible with MedPay.

But before you run out and buy PIP coverage, consider this: it’s not available in all states. Neither is MedPay. Some states offer only PIP, some states offer only MedPay and some states offer both.

Do I need medical payments coverage on my auto insurance?

You may need to buy medical payments coverage if you live in Maine, New Hampshire or Pennsylvania. Those are the only three states that make people who buy car insurance carry medical payments coverage. In every other state, MedPay is optional or not offered at all.

That said, you might want to buy MedPay even if you live in a state that doesn’t require it. 

Here are five situations when you should consider adding medical payments coverage to your auto insurance policy:

  1. You don’t have health insurance.
  2. You have health insurance, but it doesn’t cover car accidents.
  3. You have health insurance, but its coverage limits are low.
  4. Your health plan has a high deductible, high copays or both.
  5. You regularly drive with passengers in the car. MedPay will cover any injuries your passengers sustain after a crash.

Let’s say you have health insurance and your plan comes with a high deductible or charges pricey copays for things like urgent care or emergency room visits. It probably doesn’t cover ambulance rides at all. You’ll have to pay each of those costs out of pocket if you’re injured in a car accident and taken to a hospital. MedPay could cover them in full, depending on the limits you choose.

In some cases, your health insurance kicks in first to cover your medical bills and then MedPay follows. In other cases, MedPay pays out first and then health insurance follows.

MedPay can bolster your PIP coverage, too — as long as you don’t live in Texas, where you can’t have both PIP and MedPay on the same car insurance policy. 

PIP coverage often comes with claim limits. After you reach that amount, you’re responsible for the rest of your medical and other related costs. MedPay will fill that gap — up to the limits you choose for it.

If you’ve got health insurance and it has a low (or no) deductible and high coverage limits, you might not need MedPay. Even then, though, you’ll likely have to deal with some out-of-pocket costs after you’re in an accident. Buying just $1,000 of MedPay could cover them — and only set you back an extra dollar or two a month.

How much medical payment coverage do I need?

You should buy enough MedPay to cover the out-of-pocket costs you’d have to deal with if you’re injured in a car accident.

Most insurance companies will let you buy as little as $1,000 of MedPay coverage and as much as $25,000 of MedPay coverage. Some insurers go below or above those limits, though. GEICO offers $500 of medical payments coverage to policyholders, for example, while State Farm offers $100,000.

All of the biggest and best car insurance companies offer medical payments coverage. That includes insurers like:

  • Allstate
  • Esurance
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

If your car insurance provider doesn’t sell MedPay, start shopping around. Get quotes from a number of other companies and then choose the one that offers the price-coverage combination that works best for you.

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How much is medical payments coverage?

What MedPay costs you depends on where you got your car insurance policy and how much coverage you want.

Here’s what you’ll pay to add MedPay coverage to car insurance policies bought from Allstate and State Farm:

Insurance Company No MedPay (Six-Month Premium) $1,000 MedPay Coverage $25,000 MedPay Coverage
Allstate $759 $769 $799
State Farm $537 $547 $578
We looked at rates from two top auto insurance companies for this sample quote. These rates are for a 40-year-old male with a clean driving record, 50/100/50 coverage, and $500 deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage in Wisconsin. Your rates will vary based on several factors, including car model, where you live, your driving record, and more.

On average, you’ll pay just over $1 more per month to add $1,000 of medical payments coverage to your policy with these companies. And you’ll pay about $5 more per month to add $25,000 of medical payments coverage to your policy.

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