Medical Payments Coverage: A Guide

Medical payments coverage is a type of auto insurance cover that will pay for you and your passenger’s medical expenses and funeral expenses in the event of an accident, even if it was your fault. This coverage can be added to auto insurance policies in all states and it is required in Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

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How Medical Payments Coverage Works

Medical payments coverage is designed to cover medical costs in the event of an accident, even if you were at fault for that accident. Some of the costs this add-on can cover includes:

  • All deductibles and co-payments for health insurance
  • Hospital and doctor appointments
  • Surgical procedures
  • X-rays and other scans
  • Ambulance fees
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Dental care
  • Funeral expenses
  • Care and nursing services

As an example, you’re involved in an accident and you and your passenger are injured. Medical treatments cost $10,000, at which point med-pay coverage will step in. Your health insurance may cover some of these costs but your medical payments insurance will cover the remainder and ensure you’re not out of pocket.

Without medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) your health insurance coverage will pay for the medical bills.

Medical Payments vs Other Coverage Options

Bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance are required in all but two states, but these coverage options only cover the other driver and the other vehicle. If you have these options and cause an accident, your auto policy will cover you. However, if you are hit by an insured motorist, don’t have adequate cover elsewhere or don’t have a health plan, medical payments insurance can help.

Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is one of the options that may negate the need for medical payments insurance. Not only will it cover many of the same costs, but it may also cover you for lost wages, childcare costs, and other expenses that result from your injuries.

PIP is required in some no-fault states whereas medical payments coverage is typically offered in at-fault states.

Auto Accidents in the United States

Every single year in the United States, there are millions of road traffic accidents causing over $50 billion in damage and taking thousands of lives. To give you an idea of just how big this issue is and how many medical expenses it can incur, take a look at the following statistics.

  • Alabama: 876 lethal car accidents; 953 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $72 million
  • Alaska: 69 lethal car accidents; 80 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,200 million
  • Arizona: 916 lethal car accidents; 1,010 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,050 million
  • Arkansas: 472 lethal car accidents; 516 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $680 million
  • California: 3,259 lethal car accidents; 3,563 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $4,500 million
  • Colorado: 588 lethal car accidents; 632 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $650 million
  • Connecticut: 276 lethal car accidents; 294 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $400 million
  • Delaware: 104 lethal car accidents; 111 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $140 million
  • Florida: 2,915 lethal car accidents; 3,133 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $3,000 million
  • Georgia: 1,407 lethal car accidents; 1,504 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,600 million
  • Hawaii: 110 lethal car accidents; 117 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $150 million
  • Idaho: 212 lethal car accidents; 231 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $300 million
  • Illinois: 948 lethal car accidents; 1,031 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,400 million
  • Indiana: 774 lethal car accidents; 858 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,100 million
  • Iowa: 291 lethal car accidents; 318 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $400 million
  • Kansas: 366 lethal car accidents; 404 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $450 million
  • Kentucky: 664 lethal car accidents; 724 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $800 million
  • Louisiana: 716 lethal car accidents; 768 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,000 million
  • Maine: 128 lethal car accidents; 137 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $200 million
  • Maryland: 474 lethal car accidents; 501 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $700 million
  • Massachusetts: 343 lethal car accidents; 360 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $450 million
  • Michigan: 905 lethal car accidents; 974 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,200 million
  • Minnesota: 349 lethal car accidents; 381 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $500 million
  • Mississippi: 597 lethal car accidents; 664 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $850 million
  • Missouri: 848 lethal car accidents; 921 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,000 million
  • Montana: 168 lethal car accidents; 182 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $300 million
  • Nebraska: 201 lethal car accidents; 230 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $300 million
  • Nevada: 300 lethal car accidents; 330 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $700 million
  • New Hampshire: 134 lethal car accidents; 147 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $170 million
  • New Jersey: 525 lethal car accidents; 564 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $700 million
  • New Mexico: 350 lethal car accidents; 391 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $450 million
  • New York: 889 lethal car accidents; 943 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,600 million
  • North Carolina: 1,321 lethal car accidents; 1,437 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,700 million
  • North Dakota: 95 lethal car accidents; 105 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $150 million
  • Ohio: 996 lethal car accidents; 1,068 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1300 million
  • Oklahoma: 603 lethal car accidents; 655 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $900 million
  • Oregon: 450 lethal car accidents; 506 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $400 million
  • Pennsylvania: 1,103 lethal car accidents; 1,190 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,600 million
  • Rhode Island: 56 lethal car accidents; 59 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $100 million
  • South Carolina: 970 lethal car accidents; 1,037 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,000 million
  • South Dakota: 110 lethal car accidents; 130 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $180 million
  • Tennessee: 974 lethal car accidents; 1,041 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $1,250 million
  • Texas: 3,305 lethal car accidents; 3,642 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $4,900 million
  • Utah: 237 lethal car accidents; 260 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $270 million
  • Vermont: 60 lethal car accidents; 68 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $90 million
  • Virginia: 778 lethal car accidents; 820 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $950 million
  • Washington: 497 lethal car accidents; 546 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $650 million
  • West Virginia: 265 lethal car accidents; 294 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $400 million
  • Wisconsin: 530 lethal car accidents; 588 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $700 million
  • Wyoming: 100 lethal car accidents; 111 deaths – Total Financial Cost to State = $130 million

Bottom Line: Necessary Car Insurance

As noted above, medical payments is only required in a few states and while it is optional in most others, it’s often not required. You should be covered if you have an extensive health insurance plan along with PIP. However, if you want a little extra cover and can add it to your policy for a small cost, go for it. 

Medical payments coverage shouldn’t cost a great deal and you’ll be grateful that you have it if you’re ever involved in a serious accident.