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What is Medical Payments Coverage Car Insurance?

woman paying for her medical expenses at the drugstore

Covering medical costs from a car accident has always been the primary function of insurance of any kind. Homeowners and business owners carry their own to cover anyone injured on their premises. Many people also carry health or life insurance. Of course, vehicle owners also carry auto insurance to cover other drivers they injure, as is required by law. However, typical auto liability coverage only covers the other driver involved in an accident you caused. Rather than spend more than you’d like on full coverage, there is a more budget option with medical payments coverage.

Medical payments coverage, also called MedPay for short, is a subform of auto insurance but functions like health insurance. In an accident you caused, it covers your own medical costs as collision coverage does. At the same time, it also helps to have MedPay if your health insurance has low coverage limits and high premiums. Any gaps in coverage are also solved by medical payments coverage. MedPay is an interesting case since it’s required in some states while others don’t even offer it.

What is Medical Payments Coverage, And How Does it Work?

MedPay is the kind of insurance that kicks in immediately to assist with any medical bills, health insurance deductibles, and even expenses (we’ll mention specifically in a moment) that a health policy typically wouldn’t cover. MedPay is often offered along with auto insurance in states that allow it. The immediate coverage aspect is what draws many to MedPay since insurance companies tend to take a couple of months to pay any medical bills fully.

MedPay also offers you more protection with insurance against injuries if you are injured by a car outside of your vehicle or as a passenger in another’s. MedPay also allows for what is known as “insurance stacking.” This means you can stack your medical payments coverage limits to more than one vehicle you own. Let’s say your medical payment limit is $5,000 for one of your cars, and you want to extend it to another car in your household, then your total MedPay amount would be $10,000. While MedPay can cover you in ways health insurance might not, it shouldn’t be used as a substitute. High MedPay limits would be a wise move for health policyholders with low coverage.

What Does MedPay Cover?

As we go over what MedPay covers, you’ll get a better idea of what it’s truly used for. We previously mentioned that MedPay covers your medical costs, like a situation that would require you to have collision insurance. There are some additional costs like ambulance fees and x-rays that medical payments coverage cover and regular insurance won’t.

Here is what you will be covered for if you invest in a MedPay policy:

  • Injury treatment - More specifically, the types of injury treatment MedPay includes are medical, dental, surgical, and chiropractic in the event of a car accident.
  • Family member treatment - Family members using the car and anyone else on the policy would also be covered while riding in someone else’s car or as a pedestrian.
  • Health insurance copays - Medical payment coverage can work in tandem with health insurance claims by covering deductibles. This would be especially handy if your MedPay limits are higher than your health insurance limits.
  • Additional hospital fees - X-rays, prostheses, and nursing are more forms of treatment covered by medical payments coverage.
  • Funeral costs - In the event of a death caused by an accident, all funeral costs are covered by MedPay.

What Does MedPay Not Cover?

At the same time, there are also some costs of a car accident that medical payments won’t provide any coverage for. These are often specific costs that other kinds of insurance may cover.

  • Wage reimbursement - If your injuries cause you to miss work for a given period of time, you won’t be reimbursed for any missed wages. Personal injury protection (PIP) offers this kind of insurance.
  • Child care - Being limited by an injury sustained in an auto accident can put a strain on paying your child care costs. PIP also provides coverage for this.
  • Injuries to other drivers - Medical treatments for other injured drivers are covered through standard liability car insurance as is required by most states.
  • Unrelated injuries - Any injuries, damage, or medical payments from an accident unrelated to driving or vehicles aren’t covered.

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance, And How Does it Compare With Medical Payments Coverage?

PIP and MedPay are often grouped together regarding how they function, which is always for covering medical costs in a car accident regardless of the party at fault. Drivers rarely purchase both as it would be unnecessary. Like MedPay, PIP may not be available in your state or may even be required.

Some differences between PIP and medical payments coverage are:

  • Wage reimbursement - It was mentioned that while MedPay doesn’t cover wages on account of missing days of work because of an injury -that is a job for PIP.
  • Deductible - Unlike MedPay, PIP has a deductible whenever you submit a claim. This would be set by the insurance company.
  • State requirements - States have different insurance requirements. Some may require MedPay, while others may require PIP -12 to be exact. At this point, we’ve already mentioned that there are states where one of the two may not even be available.

How Much Do Drivers Pay for Medical Payments Insurance?

The best part about medical payments insurance is that it is generally low-cost. The maximum rate you would get on MedPay is $10 a month. Some states like California, Ohio, and Texas log their averages anywhere between $3 to $7. Added on to the annual cost of your car insurance, it would only cost an additional $40 to $100 per year. For a lot of drivers, it’s highly worth it not to have to pay a thousand dollars or a greater co-pay on a medical or health claim.

Another significant part of the cost of medical payments coverage is how little it costs to increase your coverage limits. The standard levels of coverage most pick are $1,000 and $5,000. However, some make the call to increase it to $10,000 or even $100,000 if they have severely limited health insurance. According to insurance sources, the cost to raise a $2,000 limit to $10,000 costs around $10 annually. Not monthly, annually, so you can imagine how economical it truly is. MedPay will always cost less than PIP as well.

Who is Medical Payments Insurance For?

The only three states where medical payments coverage is required are Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. The states where it isn’t offered in Oregon, North Dakota, and Minnesota. All other states offer it as an optional insurance add-on. Everyone shops for MedPay differently since it depends on their specific needs and health insurance coverage. Policyholders with limited coverage and high copays on claims often carry health and MedPay together. It’s always worth it to use your health insurance without any out-of-pocket payments. Those who frequently drive passengers around will be happy to know the MedPay coverage extends to them.

Medical Payments Insurance is Never a Bad Idea

The only drawback to MedPay coverage is that it doesn’t cover whether the state offers it or not. The price and rates are rarely the subjects of scrutiny since they are so low. Shopping for MedPay is like shopping around for car insurance -visit national and local brokers while comparing the quotes and coverage they give you. Choosing between medical payments coverage and PIP is the real challenge. You can pay more for more coverage with PIP or pay less for limited coverage with MedPay.