Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 9, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • Medical payments, also known as med pay, coverage is a legal requirement in some states.
  • In states where medical payment coverage on auto insurance is not a legal requirement, you may need to opt out of this coverage in writing.
  • Med pay covers medical expenses as a result of an accident, regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
  • In states where you are allowed to opt out of med pay, your health insurance and/or personal injury protection coverage may serve a similar purpose.

Do you need medical on car insurance? Medical payments coverage auto insurance can be quite confusing. With several different types of coverage and different coverage amounts available besides auto medical payments coverage, many consumers do not know what they really need and what they don’t.

Often this can lead to people paying for insurance they do not need, or worse yet, not paying for coverage that they should have in an effort to find cheap auto insurance.

To understand more about medical payment coverage on auto insurance and to get the best available rates, read on.

Start comparing auto medical payments rates now by using our free tool above.

Table of Contents

Basics of Medical Payments Coverage

In some states, auto insurance medical coverage is mandatory. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Medpay is only required in Maine and Wisconsin.

What does medical coverage on an auto insurance policy cover? Medical payments coverage, also known as med pay or MPC, pays for medical bills and care due to an accident.

If your state does not require med pay coverage, your auto insurance company may require you to reject the coverage in writing if you choose not to have it.

The positive side to car insurance medical coverage is that it is not dependent upon who is at fault.

Insurance companies are required to allow their drivers to use medical coverage on an auto insurance policy, even if they were the ones that caused the accident.

Do I need medical payments coverage?

Should you get medical payments on auto insurance? If your home state does not require you to have med pay coverage, you may want to evaluate whether you need it or not, as not having it can decrease the price of your auto insurance premiums.

You should consider the following factors when making this decision:

  • Health insurance coverageYou should check with your health insurance company to find out if they cover medical care that is needed in light of a car accident. If they do, consider the cost of your health insurance coverage and if it is really necessary to pay for additional coverage under med pay. However, if you find that your health insurance does not have good coverage for car accident injuries, it might be well worth paying for med-pay coverage on your auto insurance.
  • The cost of med pay coverageAsk for quotes with and without med pay coverage to determine how much extra it will cost you on your auto insurance policy. Be aware that the cost for med pay can depend on your age, your marital status, your driving record, your gender, and your claims history.
  • Personal injury protection coveragePersonal injury protection is similar to med pay in that it covers injuries that are sustained as a result of a car accident.However, personal injury protection in states that are considered no-fault is required. In addition, only a few states that are not no-fault states have this coverage as an option. Personal injury protection also provides for loss-of-income payments, whereas med pay does not.

While some see it as an added and unnecessary expense, med pay can be worth the extra cost.

To determine if you should elect med pay coverage or not, check with your insurance company first to find out if you are legally required to maintain this coverage.

If you are not, then evaluate the other factors, such as your health insurance. You can also decrease your auto insurance premiums with the help of an online auto insurance comparison calculator.

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Why is med pay important?

One of the biggest expenses related to auto accidents is for the necessary medical care that follows.

Depending on the extent of the accident and how many people were involved, medical expenses can reach in the 6-figures or larger bracket.

Thankfully, most accidents either do not require medical care and treatment or only require a small amount.

Med pay can be used to cover a variety of costs, including:

  • Funeral costs
  • Injuries sustained by people in the vehicle with you
  • If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist in an accident with a car
  • Dental care needed as a result of a car accident

In order to use med pay, symptoms must usually begin within the first few days after an accident.

For example, neck pain that started two weeks after an accident will not generally be an allowable expense under med pay from your auto insurance.

What affects the price of med pay?

There are many factors that affect how much you pay for med pay, such as your driving record. If you have a history of crashes, you will have to pay more for med pay because your insurer is taking on a greater risk by insuring you.

However, one factor that affects med pay prices has nothing to do with drivers. The average loss ratio of a company will also impact how much a company charges, as a loss ratio shows how much a company lost in claims in comparision to earnings from premiums.

To get an idea of how med pay will be priced in the U.S., take a look at the table below.

Med Pay Loss Ratio
Med Pay Loss RatioCountrywide Average
201279.05%
201376.85%
201474.05%
Average 76.65%
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These numbers look great. Why? A loss ratio that is over 100 percent means insurers are losing more than they make. The result? Insurers will raise prices for all customers.

A loss ratio below 50 percent is also bad, as it means insurers aren’t paying out many claims. While this could mean that there just weren’t many claims filed, it could also mean that insurers are denying more claims than average.

Because the countrywide average med pay loss ratio is in the 70s, though, most drivers will have average rates and accepted claims.

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Required Coverages Besides Med Pay

In order to determine what types of auto insurance coverage you need, it is important to understand the different types of policies and what they were created for.

It is also important to note that the legally required types of coverage are not the same in every state and that drivers should verify that they are carrying the legally mandated types and amounts of auto insurance.

  • Liability CoverageMost states require their drivers to have liability coverage. What is liability auto insurance coverage? There are two parts to liability: bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury will pay for expenses related to injuries or death if you cause an accident. Property damage liability covers expenses if you are at fault and damage other people’s property. Usually, this means a vehicle, but it can also mean buildings, trees, light posts, and other physical property.
  • Collision CoverageCollision covers accidents that involve damage to your vehicle from colliding with another object, such as a fire hydrant, another car, or a building. You can select your deductible for this type of coverage, though if you lease a vehicle they may mandate a deductible as low as $500 or $1,000.
  • Comprehensive CoverageThis coverage is in place in case your car is stolen, or is damaged without the occurrence of a collision. For instance, comprehensive coverage covers damages from hail, fire, floods, hitting wildlife, vandalism, and natural disasters. You can also choose your deductible for comprehensive, but again, the amount might be mandated if you are leasing your car.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist CoverageIn the event that you are involved in an accident with another driver who does not have insurance or who is not carrying the appropriate amounts of insurance, this type of coverage from your policy will kick in. In some states, uninsured/underinsured coverage is mandated by the law. Drivers can buy additional coverage in this area, however, many choose to increase their coverage amounts in the collision and comprehensive categories instead.

Because you will need to have some (if not all) of the above coverages, it’s important to see if med pay is a necessary add-on.

Frequently Asked Questions: Medical Payment Coverage on Auto Insurance

If you still have questions, don’t worry. We are going to go over some of the most common questions drivers have about auto insurance and medical payments coverage needed.

#1 – How much is med pay?

Because med pay is an add-on coverage, it will cost anywhere from a few dollars a month to a hundred dollars a month, depending on what level of coverage you get.

#2 – Does full coverage cover medical bills?

Liability insurance will only cover other drivers’ medical bills, while collision and compehensive insurance only cover car repairs, as they are not medical expense coverages. However, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, part of your automobile medical payments may be covered.

#3 – What is the difference between PIP and medical payments coverage?

Personal injury protection (PIP) is another medical car insurance that will pay for both medical bills and lost wages from injuries. Car insurance medical payments (med pay) only pays for medical bills.

#4 – What is the difference between bodily injury liability coverage and medical payments?

Bodily injury liablity insurance will only cover other drivers or passengers’ medical bills if you caused an accident. It will not pay for you or your passengers’ medical bills. On the other hand, med pay will protect you by paying medical bills after an accident.

We hope our guide to medical expense auto insurance has helped you decide if you adding auto insurance medical payments to your policy is right for you. Start comparing med pay auto insurance coverage rates now by entering your ZIP code in our free tool below.