AutoInsurance.com
Published: May 9, 2022Last updated: October 18, 2022

Medical Payments Coverage for Car Insurance

Medical coverage is only required in two states: Maine and Pennsylvania.

When it comes to car insurance, bodily injury liability only covers the other party’s medical costs in at-fault accidents, which are accidents you caused. Medical payments coverage — or personal injury protection (PIP) — is what’s needed to cover your own injuries. Learn everything you need to know about medical payments coverage, which has less coverage than PIP and is only required in two states: Maine and Pennsylvania.

Medical Coverage

Medical coverage covers your injuries in an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.

What Does Medical Payments Cover?

Here’s what medical payments coverage insures:

  • Ambulances
  • Doctor visits and hospital care
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Health insurance deductibles and copays
  • Nursing
  • Prostheses
  • Surgery
  • X-rays

What Doesn’t Medical Payments Cover?

Medical payments coverage will not cover these post-accident expenses:

  • Child care
  • Lost wages
  • Other party’s medical expenses
  • Property damage

CheckNOTE

Unlike medical payments coverage, PIP covers child care costs and lost wages, and your medical expenses.

Is It Required?

Medical payments coverage is required in only two states: Maine has a $2,000 limit minimum1 and Pennsylvania a $5,000 minimum.2 New Hampshire doesn’t require auto insurance; however, if you choose to get it, you must get $1,000 worth of medical payments coverage.3

Who Does Medical Payments Cover?

Medical payments coverage applies to you and everyone in your car during an accident.

How Does Medical Payments Coverage Work?

Since medical payments coverage doesn’t include a deductible, if you get into an accident, your insurance company will immediately cover the medical costs of you and everyone in your automobile. In other words, you won’t have to pay a deductible to get compensation for your medical expenses.

Limits

The limit is the maximum dollar amount your insurance provider would pay following a covered claim. Although the required limits in the United States are relatively low, we recommend higher limits because of the high costs of health care.

Health care 2020 average cost
Single-person deductible $4,035
Family deductible $5,9784
Copay for in-network doctor appointment $15-$25
Copay for urgent care $75-$100
Copay for emergency room $200-$3005

Costs can be even higher if you require surgeries, X-rays, ambulances, prostheses or professional nursing. Therefore, we recommend obtaining medical payments coverage of at least $10,000 — or as high as you can afford to pay in premiums.

Should You Get Medical Payments Coverage?

We recommend purchasing either medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, even if you already have health insurance. Otherwise, your car insurance won’t pay for your passengers’ and your injuries in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage vs. Medical Payments Coverage

Bodily injury liability — half of liability coverage along with property damage coverage — covers the other party’s injuries in the event of an at-fault accident. In other words, if you caused an accident in an at-fault state, bodily injury liability would cover the other party’s injuries under a third-party claim — but not your own. That’s where medical payments coverage comes in.

Details Bodily injury coverage Medical payments coverage
Required states All except Florida, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Virginia Maine and Pennsylvania
Fault system Either At-fault
Whose injuries it covers Third party First party

Bodily injury coverage isn’t a requirement in every state. In no-fault states like Florida, for example, each party would be responsible for their own medical payments. Learn more about the minimum car insurance in Florida.

PIP vs. Medical Payments Coverage

Personal injury protection and medical payments coverage will both cover your injuries in the case of an accident. However, PIP also includes coverage for lost wages and child care, unlike medical payments coverage. While PIP is a requirement in no-fault states, medical payments coverage is a requirement in at-fault states, meaning the at-fault party pays for the other party’s medical and property damage costs.

Coverage details Personal injury protection Medical payments coverage
Covers your medical expenses regardless of fault Yes Yes
Fault system No-fault At-fault
Required states Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah Maine and Pennsylvania
Coverage for lost wages or child care? Yes No6

In at-fault states, each party covers their own medical costs, while only the at-fault party pays for the injured party’s property damages.

Other Types of Coverage Options

Aside from medical payments coverage, there are some other auto insurance coverages you should know about when purchasing auto insurance for the first time or reviewing your current policy. While the minimum requirements vary by state, check out the following auto insurance coverage options that are available.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Not every driver is insured, even though driving without insurance is illegal in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia. For that reason, we recommend acquiring uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which will reimburse you for your damages in accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers, and hit-and-runs.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage will pay for your property damages in an at-fault accident, including damages from potholes or rolling cars.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage pays for property damages from events other than collisions, such as car vandalism, auto theft, or weather-related incidents like hail, sinkholes, and floods. If your car gets damaged in a natural disaster, for example, comprehensive coverage would come in handy.

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Collision and comprehensive coverage have deductibles, amounts you’d have to pay for covered claims before your insurance company pitches in.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) 

Another supplemental coverage option is accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), which would come into play if you died or had a permanent impairment. If you were left with a permanent impairment as a result of a car accident — such as losing a limb, speech, or sight7 — you would receive financial compensation for your care. Likewise, if there is a death from an automobile accident, your family receives compensation for the death and funeral costs, and any other financial obligations post-death.8

Conclusion

Medical payments coverage is the lesser-known cousin to personal injury protection, and we recommend purchasing PIP if possible. Otherwise, you won’t get reimbursed for lost wages or child care costs resulting from a car accident. To avoid paying out of pocket, buy as much coverage as you can afford. While you may pay more for auto insurance now, if you have an accident you won’t pay as much later on.

If you’re looking to save money on car insurance rates, get a car insurance quote. You’ll save money if you’re a good driver with a good driving record, or if you bundle your auto and home insurance, or health plan. Compare auto insurance quotes from different providers to find the lowest car insurance coverage costs. You can also learn more about filing an insurance claim with any company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about medical payments coverage, which is often confused with personal injury protection.

What does medical payments coverage insure?

For car insurance, medical payments coverage pays for these expenses in the event of a car accident:

  • X-rays
  • Surgery
  • Prostheses
  • Professional nursing
  • Health coverage deductibles and copays
  • Emergency medical technician fees
  • Doctor and hospital visits
  • Ambulances

Does my car insurance cover medical expenses?

Your car insurance only covers medical expenses if you have bodily injury coverage, medical payments coverage, or personal injury protection. However, bodily injury coverage only applies to the other party’s medical payments coverage, not yours. To get reimbursed for your own medical expenses, you need either medical payments coverage or PIP.

What is the difference between bodily injury coverage and medical payments coverage?

The difference between bodily injury and medical payments coverage is bodily injury coverage applies to the other party’s medical costs, while medical payments coverage applies to your medical costs.

What is the difference between medical payments coverage and personal injury protection?

The difference between medical payments coverage and personal injury protection is medical payment coverage does not include coverage for lost wages or child care, unlike PIP. Additionally, PIP is used in no-fault states, while medical payments coverage is used in at-fault states.

Citations

  1. Insurance Required by Law. Maine.gov Bureau of Insurance. (2022).
    https://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/consumers/auto-insurance/insurance-required-by-law

  2. Automobile Insurance Guide. PA Insurance Department. (2008, Mar).
    https://www.insurance.pa.gov/Documents/auto_guide.pdf

  3. Your Guide to Understanding Auto Insurance in the Granite State . State of New Hampshire Insurance Department.
    https://www.nh.gov/insurance/consumers/documents/nh_auto_guide.pdf

  4. MEPS Insurance Component Chartbook 2020. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. (2021, Dec).
    https://meps.ahrq.gov/data_files/publications/cb25/cb25.pdf

  5. Health Insurance Premiums, Deductibles, Copays and Coinsurance. Debt.org. (2020, Nov).
    https://www.debt.org/medical/health-insurance-premiums/

  6. What Is Medical Payments Coverage? Allstate. (2017, Nov).
    https://www.allstate.com/tr/car-insurance/medical-payments-coverage.aspx

  7. AD&D and Accident Insurance University of Wisconsin System. (2022).
    https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/accident/

  8. Accidental Death Coverage Direct Auto Insurance. (2022).
    https://www.directauto.com/our-products/auto-insurance/accidental-death-coverage/