What is medical payments coverage?

Medical payments to others coverage reimburses you for medical expenses related to guests' bodily injuries inside of your home, regardless of who is at fault.

Pat Howard 1600Stephanie Nieves author photo


Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a senior editor and licensed home insurance agent at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

 & Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie 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.

Updated January 4, 2021 | 4 min read

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A standard homeowners insurance policy includes coverage for your home, your personal property, and your liability in the event you’re sued for an accident on or off the premises. But there’s also a section of your policy that covers you if a guest is injured on your property, whether you’re to blame or not, called medical payments to others coverage.

Medical payments to others, also referred to as Coverage F on your policy, is for small medical claims resulting from a guest injury on the insured premises (and off the premises, in limited cases). Medical payments coverage limits in a standard policy are typically set at $1,000 to $5,000. That means if you have $5,000 in coverage and a houseguest’s injuries exceed that amount, the difference needs to be paid for out of pocket.

Although it’s fairly limited and only intended for minor physical injuries, medical payments coverage can potentially prevent an injury from escalating into a lawsuit. An injured houseguest may think twice about suing you if you offer to cover their hospital bills with medical payments to others coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Medical payments coverage reimburses you for guests’ medical expenses if they’re injured on your property, whether you’re at fault or not

  • It is designed to cover minor injuries and prevent lawsuits

  • You can typically get up to $5,000 in medical payments coverage, although certain insurers offer $10,000 and $25,000 options

What does medical payments cover?

Medical payments to others coverage is a type of liability coverage in every standard home insurance policy. It covers guest injuries on your property, regardless of who is at fault.

According to the Insurance Service Office (ISO), medical payments to others will cover “necessary” medical expenses that are incurred within three years from the date of an accident. The following expenses, if deemed necessary by your insurer, are reimbursed by Coverage F:

  • Medical

  • Surgical

  • X-ray

  • Dental

  • Ambulance

  • Hospital

  • Professional nursing

  • Prosthetic devices

  • Funeral services

Keep in mind that medical payments to others doesn’t cover injuries to permanent residents of the home, except if the resident is an employee of the household. That means if a groundskeeper or housekeeper is injured, this coverage can reimburse them for medical expenses.

Medical payments to others will also cover injuries to individuals away from the insured location if the injury:

  • Arises from a condition at the home

  • Is accidentally caused by you

  • Is caused by an employee of the residence

  • Is caused by a pet you own

An example of this might be if your dog bites someone while out on a walk, or if you accidentally knock a tennis ball right into a stranger’s nose while you’re practicing at the park.

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What is excluded from medical payments to others coverage?

Medical payments to others coverage does not apply to injuries that arise out of the following circumstances:

  • The injury was expected or intentional

  • The injury arises out of connection with business that was conducted at the insured location (unless the business being conducted is related to the rental of the home on an occasional basis or if the home is being used in part as an office, school, studio, or private garage)

  • The injury arises out of failure to render professional services

  • The premises where the injury occurred is owned by you, rented to you, or is rented to others by you but isn’t insured

  • War

  • Communicable disease

  • Corporal punishment or physical or mental abuse

  • Controlled substances

What’s the difference between liability coverage and medical payments coverage?

A standard homeowners insurance policy comes with six basic protections, including liability insurance and medical payments coverage. Both provisions reimburse you for medical expenses if a guest is physically injured on your property, but there are a few key differences between the two.

Medical payments coverage is meant for low-risk injuries

When a guest is injured on your property, liability insurance protects you from expensive litigation and steep medical bills, whereas medical payments coverage is meant for minor injuries guests might sustain, regardless of who is at fault. For example, if a guest were to sue you after getting bitten by your dog, either of you could file a claim for the injury and those medical expenses would be paid for through your liability coverage. But a lower-risk injury, like a guest who falls ill after eating your homemade quiche, could be covered by your medical payments coverage (even if they knew an ingredient was present in the dish that they shouldn’t have had).

Medical payments coverage won’t pay for property damage

Medical payments coverage also doesn’t pay for damage you cause to someone else’s property, but liability insurance will. In the event that you accidentally pitch a baseball through your neighbor’s window, your liability coverage would pay for the costs to repair the window, but medical payments coverage won’t cover that repair.

Medical payments coverage has a lower limit than liability coverage

Your liability coverage limit is typically set between $100,000 and $500,000, while your medical payments coverage limit might fall within the $1,000 and $5,000 range.

➞ Learn more about liability insurance

How much medical payments to others coverage should you have?

Since medical payments coverage often deters injured parties from pursuing expensive legal action against you, you should go with the highest coverage limit offered by your insurance company. Your coverage options with a standard insurer are typically anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. But certain carriers, such as Chubb, also offer medical payments coverage as high as $25,000.

If the cost of your policy is your concern, consider that the liability section of your policy (personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage) generally provide the biggest bang for your buck, so going with the maximum coverage amount really isn’t going to cost you that much more than if you opted for the minimum.