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Compare medical payments coverage

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Medical payments coverage can be a useful supplement to your health insurance in a car accident.

You probably have health insurance, but it may not cover all of your medical costs from an auto accident. Medical payments coverage can help fill in the gaps.

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What is medical payments coverage?

Medical payments coverage, or med pay, helps you with your medical costs resulting from a car accident — no matter who’s at fault.

It covers you and your passengers and can pay for such expenses as:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Surgery
  • Funerals
  • Dental care
  • Prosthetic limbs
  • Hospital visits

Medical payments coverage doesn’t only apply to auto accidents. It can also protect you outside of your vehicle, such as when you’re walking or riding your bike.

Does it come with a deductible?

Med pay doesn’t come with a deductible. In fact, you can use it to pay for your health insurance deductible or copays after an auto accident.

What is a deductible?

The deductible is what you’ll pay before your insurance company will pay a claim.

Let’s say you file a claim with your insurance company for a $5,000 car repair bill. Your insurance covers you for that amount, but it includes a $500 deductible. This means you must pay $500 out of your own pocket before your insurance will cover the other $4,500.

How it’s different from personal injury protection

Med pay is similar to personal injury protection in that it covers medical costs after an accident. The policies differ in many ways, however, such as:

  • Med pay doesn’t have deductibles or copays. PIP does.
  • PIP covers more costs — such as lost income and psychiatric services.
  • Both are mandatory in different states, but PIP is required in more states.

Medical payments coverage in action

As a result of an auto accident, you need a $7,000 medical operation. You have health insurance, but it comes with a $1,500 deductible and a 20% copay. In total, you’re looking at an out-of-pocket expense of $2,900.

Luckily, you’ve purchased medical payments coverage that pays for your deductible and copays. Instead of paying $2,900 for your operation, you pay nothing.

Why should I buy medical payments coverage?

If you already have car insurance and health insurance, you might be wondering why you need medical payments coverage. Doesn’t health insurance and med pay pretty much cover the same thing?

Though there will be overlap between the two, they don’t provide the same coverage. In fact, there are many costs your health insurance may not cover, such as prosthetic limbs, ambulance fees and funeral expenses. Medical payments coverage will take care of those costs. It can also pay for your health insurance deductible or copays.

If you live in Maine or New Hampshire, you’re required to have medical payments coverage.

How much does medical payments coverage cost?

Adding medical payments coverage to your insurance policy typically costs around $5 a month. In total, you’ll probably pay less than $100 a year.

How do I buy medical payments coverage?

Your current insurance provider will offer medical payments coverage — contact them and ask for more details.

Providers that offer medical payments coverage

Name Product Description Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Progressive covers anything on wheels! Progressive offers coverage for cars, trucks, motorcycles and snowmobiles. Even Segways are covered.
Included free
Yes, cars under 3 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Backed by nearly 100 years in the business, Farmers Insurance aims to offer options and support to help you find the coverage you need.
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Included free
The General offers affordable coverage for nearly any driver who needs car insurance.
All states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey
Known for providing insurance to high-risk customers who may have trouble finding coverage elsewhere, SafeAuto offers a lot of different discounts, from those for homeowners to good drivers.
Included free
Discounts, flexible payments and a life coach that guides you to your best rates and coverage with Direct car insurance.
Elephant Insurance offers low-cost auto insurance with big discounts. Breaking from the national herd could save up to 40% off your current car insurance.
Not specified

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Medical payments vs. health insurance

On the surface, medical payments and health insurance might seem like they cover the same thing. But if you look deeper, you’ll find that there are gaps in your health insurance policy that medical payments will fill in.

For example, a typical health insurance policy will cover a stay in the hospital, but it might not cover the ambulance ride to get there if the provider deems the ambulance wasn’t medically necessary. Other situations that med pay can cover that your health insurance usually doesn’t include funeral costs and injuries sustained by a passenger in your car.

Med pay can also be used toward your health insurance deductible and copays. If you have a health insurance plan with a high deductible and high copay, medical payments coverage can save you a lot of money.

The cost of medical payments insurance largely depends on the limit you choose. Med pay limits are typically $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000, which can result in a monthly cost of $2-$37. The lower your limit, the lower your monthly cost.

How to pay for medical bills after a car accident

While driving to work, Michelle is rear-ended by another driver who wasn’t paying attention when Michelle had to slam on her brakes because a car darted in front of her. Unfortunately, the accident was bad enough that Michelle is transported to the hospital by ambulance. After Michelle recovers and is discharged from the hospital, the bills from her stay start coming in. She panics when she learns that her health insurance won’t cover the ambulance ride. Fortunately, she opted for medical payments insurance when obtaining car insurance. Her med pay will cover the ambulance fee, as well as her steep deductible of $2,500 and high copays. Because of Michelle’s medical payments insurance, she will have no out-of-pocket expenses.

Bottom line

Medical payments coverage can be a useful add-on to protect you from unexpected medical costs. As a bonus, it doesn’t cost too much more per month. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price on car insurance.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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