Guide to Medical Payments Car Insurance Coverage 
A car accident can be frightening, but unfortunately, the worst part may come when you get the medical bill. With the stress of a collision causing enough of a disruption in your life, there's no need to deal with further strife due to hospital expenses. Luckily, there is a type of additional auto insurance coverage that can help lighten the financial burden: Medical Payment Insurance.
What is Medical Payment Insurance?
Often called "MedPay", medical payment auto insurance is a separate policy from traditional liability or collision coverage. MedPay coverage will help specifically with medical bills in the event of a car accident. This type of insurance helps even if you are the one who is at fault in the accident, covering not only you but also your passengers in case they are injured.
Car insurance medical payments aren't available in every state, so make sure to ask your insurer if you have that option. Almost every state that lacks these policies offers personal injury protection coverage instead. Some states will also require MedPay, including Maine and New Hampshire.
What Does Medical Payment Insurance Cover?
Depending on your insurer and the exact wording of your policy, MedPay can cover a variety of expenses. A few of these cases include:
- If there is a fatality, this insurance can cover any costs related to a funeral
- MedPay may cover deductibles, coinsurance, and copays for associated insurance policies
- If the injuries from an accident require any services provided by a nurse, that can be covered
- Medical bills that would usually be covered by health insurance can be covered by medical payment auto insurance
- MedPay will usually protect you or your passengers if you have to visit the hospital or a doctor
- Any emergency medical technician or ambulance expenses related to the accident should be covered
For the most part, medical expenses insurance will not cover the following:
- Any injuries other involved parties experience (i.e., the other driver and their passengers)
- Damage your vehicle does to property
- Expenses related to childcare or anything not directly associated with medical costs
- Wages lost due to missed work
- Any medical expenses that exceed the limits of your coverage. (i.e., if your policy covers you up to $2,500 and your bills are $5,000, insurance will only reimburse you for $2,500.)
How Much Does Medical Payment Auto Insurance Cost?
You'll be able to choose from a few different policy types when it comes to medical payment insurance, so the exact cost will depend on what limit you select. Standard insurance limits range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Opting to go with the higher coverage ($4,000-5,000) could result in paying higher monthly premiums, while lower limits ($1,000-2,000) will require smaller premiums but also provide less coverage if you need to make a claim.
It's also essential to take your health insurance into consideration. If you have a reasonable deductible and low copay, you may not need to supplement with a high level of MedPay insurance. If an accident does happen, your medical payment insurance can help cover the deductible, so your care is fully paid for.
What's the Difference Between Liability Coverage and Medical Payments Car Insurance?
The only similarities between liability coverage and MedPay are that they are legally required in some cases, and their payments are related directly to vehicular accidents. Besides this, the two plans are very different.
Liability coverage is designed to cover the other driver in the case of an accident, primarily any damage to their vehicle. Depending on your plan, your coverage may also reimburse the other driver for medical bills, though your insurer will determine this. Liability insurance will not cover your vehicle or any medical costs that you experience during an accident. On the other hand, medical payments insurance is designed to cover your (and your passengers') medical bills.
Personal Injury Protection vs. Medical Payment Insurance: What's the Difference?
Personal injury protection, or PIP, is very similar to MedPay in that it directly relates to medical expenses resulting from an accident. Personal injury protection pays for medical costs no matter who is at fault during an accident. It's also required in more states than medical payment insurance, with 13 states currently requiring drivers to retain PIP insurance.
Personal injury protection also provides additional coverage. One significant difference between MedPay and PIP is that PIP will help cover expenses related to lost wages. If you miss work due to your accident, PIP insurance will (usually) reimburse you for that time. Unfortunately, one downside of this type of plan is that it often comes with a deductible; this must be paid in full before PIP insurance will kick in.
Do You Need Medical Payments Auto Insurance?
Similar to a vehicle history report, medical payments insurance can give you valuable peace of mind when acquiring a vehicle. If you don't believe you'll be able to comfortably pay your health insurance deductible or worry that an accident may result in extensive medical bills, MedPay is definitely worth it. Of course, if you don't have the budget for the monthly payments and would rather risk the out-of-pocket costs that an accident can bring, you may not want MedPay. That being said, if you don't have any health insurance, MedPay can be a more affordable way to cushion yourself financially in the event of an accident.
In some states, like Maine and New Hampshire, you may also be legally required to carry this insurance. Just like with liability insurance in most U.S. states (besides Florida), failure to have the required insurance may result in severe consequences. These consequences vary and can include a significant fine or the denial of other types of insurance coverage if you get in an accident. In some states, failing to carry the legally required types of insurance could result in the suspension of your license. Either way, it's usually a wiser financial choice to make the monthly payments rather than risk a costly ticket or losing your license.
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