Medical Payments Coverage: How Does Med Pay Work on Auto Insurance?

Medical payments coverage may pay for medical bills for you and your passengers when you get in a car accident.


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Car manufacturers build vehicles today with safety in mind. Even so, you may still get injured in an auto accident. If you get hurt, you will likely want insurance coverage to pay some of the medical bills you'd face. For this reason, you may want to consider medical payments coverage — often called med pay for short — as part of your car insurance policy.

Here are some key points to help you make that decision.

How Does Med Pay Work and What Does It Cover?

So how does med pay work, exactly? Medical payments insurance pays for medical expenses if you get into a car accident. The insurance kicks in whether you're at fault or another driver causes the accident. It covers you and your passengers. It may even protect you when you ride as a passenger in another car, or walk as a pedestrian and get hit by a car.

This type of insurance may cover the following expenses (up to your policy's limits):

  • Ambulance fees
  • Hospital stays and fees
  • Diagnostic costs, such as X-rays
  • Surgery costs
  • Doctor appointments
  • Skilled care — such as nursing — as a result of injuries
  • Funeral expenses
  • Deductibles or copays due to your health insurance company

Potential Benefits

Medical payments coverage can benefit you in a few critical ways:

  • You can find peace of mind with the fact that your medical bills will be paid up to the coverage limits, no matter who is at fault in the accident
  • It's a relatively inexpensive form of coverage to add to your car insurance policy

Possible Drawbacks

Medical payments insurance may not fit every person's situation perfectly due to some potential drawbacks:

  • This coverage may not be available in all states
  • It does not cover lost wages
  • It does not cover other expenses from disabilities and injuries, such as the need for child care when recovering
  • It does not cover medical payments for damages to other people in other vehicles when you cause an accident

How to Purchase Med Pay

In states that offer medical payments coverage, you can purchase it as a form of coverage on your auto insurance policy. Some states may not allow this coverage and could instead require personal injury protection coverage. This is a similar coverage that works in slightly different ways.

How much does medical payments coverage cost?

Medical payments coverage is usually inexpensive, but several factors influence insurance rates. You can expect to pay around $10 or less per month for this portion of your overall auto insurance bill.

How Much Medical Payments Coverage Should You Get?

If you know that you want to purchase protection, the next step is to decide how much medical payments coverage to get. If you and your passengers have adequate health insurance coverage and the ability to pay any copays or deductibles for health insurance policies, this coverage may not be a priority. People who may be financially strained by copays or deductibles or those who don't have health insurance may prefer to pay for this coverage in case they get injured.

If you're unsure whether med pay coverage makes sense for you, consulting an auto insurance agent could help. These professionals know how the coverage works for their particular insurance company and can advise you on the proper coverage level for your situation.

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Lance Cothern
I started reading everything I could about personal finance while I attended college. It turns out that was one of the smartest decisions I could have made. Now, I want to share that knowledge with you. Using what I've learned through my education and experience, I aim to help you make informed decisions throughout the car buying and lending process while saving money at the same time.