What is medical payments (MedPay) coverage?

Medical payments coverage, or MedPay, covers your medical expenses if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident.

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Stephanie NievesEditor & Home and Auto Insurance ExpertStephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

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Medical payments coverage, often called MedPay, pays for medical expenses for you, your passengers, and anyone insured under your policy when you’re hurt in an accident. Anything from doctor’s visits to funeral expenses can be covered, but only up to the limit in your policy. 

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MedPay is similar to personal injury protection (PIP) in a lot of ways. But PIP is a required coverage in no-fault states, where drivers have to file claims for their own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident, whileMedPay is optional coverage that can be purchased in at-fault states where drivers are responsible for any damage they cause in an accident. 

For drivers who have robust health insurance and disability insurance, MedPay may not be as necessary, since their injuries and any related expenses may already be covered.

Key takeaways

  • Medical payments coverage, or MedPay, covers medical expenses if you, your passengers, or someone insured under your policy are injured in a car accident

  • Unlike PIP, MedPay is optional coverage and drivers in at-fault states can buy it to cover their medical expenses after an accident

  • You can typically get between $1,000 and $10,000 in medical payments coverage

  • If you have solid health insurance and disability insurance, MedPay may not be a necessary coverage

What is MedPay coverage?  

MedPay, short for medical payments coverage, pays for medical expenses if you, your passengers, or any driver listed on your policy are injured in a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. Medical payments coverage specifically covers things like:

  • Health insurance deductibles and copays

  • Ambulance and emergency medical services 

  • Surgery, X-rays, and prosthetic implants

  • Professional nursing services

  • Chiropractic services

  • Doctor or hospital visits 

  • Funeral expenses

MedPay covers you when you’re injured in your own car, but it can also cover you when you’re injured while in someone else’s car or as a pedestrian, like if you’re hit by a car while crossing the street. 

How much MedPay do I need?

MedPay covers a lot of the same things as your health insurance and disability insurance, so you may not need to set very high limits if you have those other policies in place. Since MedPay is optional, you can buy as much of it as you think you’ll need in the event of an accident. 

Most car insurance companies that offer MedPay typically let you set your limits between $1,000 and $10,000.

This may be enough to cover your health insurance deductibles and copay, but it may not be enough to cover a surgery, so you’ll want to set your coverage limit based on how much more coverage you may need in addition to any health insurance and disability insurance you have. 

What’s the difference between PIP and MedPay?

Though medical payments coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) both pay for your medical bills, there are some key differences between the two types of coverage:

Coverage type

What they cover

Where to buy it

Coverage limit

Medical payments coverage

Medical payments coverage pays for medical-related expenses, including emergency services, doctor visits, and health insurance deductibles and copays

MedPay is optional and available in at-fault states (or tort states), meaning states where the driver is responsible for any damage they cause in an accident

You can typically set your coverage limit between $1,000 and $10,000

Personal injury protection

Personal injury protection also covers medical-related expenses, but it takes it a step further than MedPay, and also covers lost wages and essential services

PIP is required in no-fault states, meaning states that require drivers to file claims for their own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident

Most states that require PIP mandate between $3,000 to $30,000 in PIP coverage

What does MedPay not cover?

MedPay can cover medical-related expenses, but there are lots of things it won’t cover that you may need help with after an accident, like: 

  • Lost wages: If you’re unable to work due to an injury, medical payments coverage won’t reimburse you for the money you lose while you’re recovering (but PIP will, typically up to 80%) 

  • Childcare and other essential services: If an injury makes you unable to perform essential tasks, MedPay won’t pay for someone to do them for you. That includes laundry, childcare, lawn mowing, delivery, and dog walking services, among many others. (PIP will also cover essential services up to your coverage limit)

  • Property damage: Medical payments coverage won’t cover repairs if your car is damaged in an accident. If you have comprehensive or collision coverage, damage to your car would be covered

If an injury or illness makes you unable to work, disability insurance can partially replace your lost income. Your disability insurance benefits can be used to pay your bills, medical expenses, and any essential services you need help with after you’re injured.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is MedPay the same as Medicare?

MedPay and medicare are not the same thing. MedPay is a type of car insurance coverage that covers your medical expenses after an accident. Medicare is federal health insurance for people 65 and older and some younger people with disabilities.

How do I know if I have MedPay?

You can call your car insurance company and ask them if you have MedPay on your policy already, or you can check your declarations page to see if you have it (and how much coverage you have).

How much does MedPay cost?

MedPay is a relatively inexpensive add-on to your policy. It typically costs less than $10 to add per year, but the amount can range depending on your insurance company.