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Insurance Auto Insurance

Is Medical Payments Car Insurance Worth It?

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States. Unfortunately, injuries resulting from auto accidents can be extremely expensive to treat.

If you get into a car accident, you need to make sure you have sufficient auto insurance to cover all losses that result from the collision—including medical expenses, nursing services, and even funeral expenses. To make sure your medical bills are covered, you’ll want to buy a substantial auto insurance policy.

A full car insurance policy can sometimes include more than just collision insurance and liability coverage if you get into a crash. You can also add medical payments coverage, or MedPay, onto your policy to cover your own medical expenses.

MedPay can save you a fortune in medical care costs after an accident, but you’ll need to decide if paying the added premiums for medical payments car insurance is worth the expense.

This guide will help you to understand how MedPay works, when you may want — or need — to buy coverage, and the pros and cons of adding this type of coverage to your auto insurance policy.

On this page:

What is Medical Payments Car Insurance Coverage?

Medical payments coverage is insurance designed to cover the cost of medical care you need after an accident. It helps you pay for your medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

This is important because if you’re to blame for a crash, you can’t collect compensation for injuries from anyone else; you’ll be on your own to pay the bills for injuries unless you’ve purchased MedPay to protect you.

What is Covered?

Not only does MedPay cover you in the event of a crash, but it can also cover your family, too. And if you or your family member is hit by a car while riding a bike, walking, or riding in someone else’s vehicle, your MedPay insurance coverage will also foot the bill for necessary medical care under those circumstances.

If you’ve purchased MedPay, it will pay for the treatment of all injuries sustained in a car accident, bike accident, or pedestrian accident. Coverages typically include ambulance fees, nursing care, prosthetic devices, dental procedures necessitated by the accident, and surgeries — among other expenses.

MedPay may cover things traditional health insurance does not, such as chiropractic care, and it also provides funds to help pay deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance costs in cases where your health insurance covers some — but not all — of your bills.

How Do I Get MedPay?

MedPay is considered an add-on to traditional auto insurance. In most states, you’re required to buy liability insurance, which covers the bodily injury you cause others if you’re at-fault for an accident.

If you’ve got an auto loan, you may also be required to have comprehensive coverage for the theft of your car or damage to your vehicle in an accident you cause. You can choose to add MedPay onto these other policies if it’s available where you live.

MedPay is offered in most states with limited exceptions, including Oregon, North Dakota, Minnesota, New York, and Delaware. It is required in Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Hampshire. It is optional in the remaining states, so you can choose to buy this additional coverage or opt out of doing so. 

What if I Have Personal Injury Protection?

If you live in a no-fault state, you may already be required to carry personal injury protection (PIP). PIP policies are typically similar to, but more comprehensive than MedPay, so if you already carry PIP, you might not need MedPay. Some states don’t require either form of protection, but it’s wise to consider medical payments insurance if you regularly drive.

Before you decide which course of action is best, consider the pros and cons.

Pros of Medical Payments Coverage

Buying medical payments car insurance coverage has some significant advantages:

  • Purchasing this add-on to your insurance is relatively affordable: The cost of MedPay is generally pretty reasonable, especially considering how expensive healthcare can be after an accident.
  • MedPay policies can help to fill gaps in coverage: Traditionally, car insurance won’t cover injuries you sustain from an accident you’re at fault for. This means if you don’t buy MedPay, you’re unprotected if something happens to you because you make a mistake while driving. MedPay can fill this gap and make sure insurance money is available to cover healthcare costs that exceed other coverage limits.
  • MedPay can supplement health insurance: Even if you have health insurance already, MedPay may cover things that your standard policy doesn’t, such as dental care arising from the accident, ambulance costs, nursing care, or chiropractic care. It can help pay coinsurance costs and cover your deductible.
  • MedPay can help protect your entire family: You and everyone in your family will be covered if you buy a MedPay policy. So, if your loved one is hurt in an accident, including as a pedestrian or bicycle rider, your MedPay policy will pay the bills for care.

Cons of Medical Payments Coverage

There are also some disadvantages associated with MedPay too, which should be carefully evaluated before deciding to buy this type of coverage:

  • It’s not as comprehensive as personal injury protection (PIP): Personal injury protection (PIP) is another type of insurance you can add to your automobile policy. It can be more comprehensive than MedPay because not only does it cover medical bills, but it also pays out partial lost wages if you cannot work because of injuries arising from an accident. And PIP coverage, like MedPay, pays even if you’re at fault for a crash. MedPay, on the other hand, won’t pay for loss of wages. In some states, buying PIP is actually legally required.
  • Coverage under MedPay is limited: You typically are limited to around $10,000 or less in coverage for medical bills when you purchase MedPay coverage. Your bills may exceed this coverage limit, especially in the event that you sustain a serious injury.
  • It only protects you and your family, not those you might harm: If you cause an accident and injure someone else, your MedPay won’t pay for their treatments unless the person who you injured happened to be a family member covered by your policy. You will need liability insurance to pay costs arising from injuries you cause to others.
  • It can make your auto insurance more expensive. MedPay could increase your insurance rates by around 10 percent, to offset the risk of your enhanced coverage. 

Bottom Line: Is MedPay Worth the Cost?

There are clearly plenty of good reasons to buy MedPay—but also some reasons to say no to this coverage. Your own financial situation and the other insurance coverage you have will affect whether MedPay is a good deal or not.

For many drivers, the significant risk of bodily injuries in the event of an accident makes it worth paying a small amount in additional premiums for an auto insurance policy that includes medical payments car insurance. Only you can decide if you’d rather pony up the money to get this added protection.