Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection Coverage

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When shopping for auto insurance, you should look to balance great coverage with affordable premiums and, in order to do so, you have to compare multiple plans. However, comparing auto insurance plans can get tricky, especially if you see special coverage options being offered without a clear explanation. Case in point, both PIP and MedPay are two very common coverage options for those shopping for a new insurance policy, so it's important that you understand them.

Medical Payments vs. Personal Injury Protection

Confused about what Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is? Here's a quick comparison between these two coverage options.

Medical Payments (MedPay)

Adding Medical Payments Coverage to your policy means that your auto insurance will cover medical payments in the event of an auto accident. MedPay will cover both you and other passengers up to a certain limit. Even if you have good healthcare insurance, you still may opt for this coverage to close any gaps (especially if your healthcare plan has high deductibles and/or low limits).

MedPay can be used to help cover medications, hospital expenses, and related coverage resulting from an accident and it will generally take effect no matter who is at fault. You can also use MedPay to help cover the costs of passenger injuries or injuries you suffer if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist involved in an accident. Unlike some health insurance plans, MedPay can also be used for resulting dental care expenses.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Adding Personal Injury Protection to your auto insurance plan protects you even further than Medical Payments Coverage. In addition to covering medical payments related to an accident, PIP will also cover certain other losses, including any wages that you lost due to the accident or injuries resulting from it. Like MedPay, PIP will cover you regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

PIP differs from bodily injury liability insurance, which only activates when you are at fault in an accident and only applies to others involved. In contrast, PIP will pay for your own expenses. PIP is also written explicitly to cover injuries resulting from a vehicle accident, which many health insurance policies won't cover.

Should I Get Both MedPay and PIP?

The question of whether or not you should get MedPay and/or PIP coverage all comes down to your driving habits and existing health insurance coverage. If you or your passengers lack a decent health insurance policy, having MedPay and/or PIP is a smart move that can help protect you financially and get you essential medical help in the event of an accident.

If these coverage options are available in your state, you can reach out to an auto insurance company for a quote (or multiple). If you are deciding on what coverage to add, ask how much it would cost to add both or just one type of coverage to your policy and be sure to review plan limits accordingly.

Do I Need MedPay or PIP If I Have Health Insurance?

Even with health insurance, you should review your policy closely. Many health insurance policies exclude certain injuries caused by auto accidents, in which case MedPay and/or PIP could help protect you from losses. Additionally, if your health insurance plan has very high co-pays or deductibles, MedPay could be used to help cover those expenses, reducing your out-of-pocket costs in an accident.

Where Is MedPay and PIP Coverage Required?

Certain states require MedPay or PIP coverage to be included in your auto insurance policy. Other states may not offer this coverage at all.

State-Specific MedPay Requirements

MedPay is not offered in Oregon, Minnesota, New York, or North Dakota. Meanwhile, MedPay is a requirement in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. In other states, it is up to you whether or not you decide to add MedPay coverage to your auto insurance policy if MedPay is offered where you live.

State-Specific PIP Requirements

Certain states have implemented a "no-fault system," requiring every driver to carry PIP in order to cover lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and similar expenses. These states include Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.

PIP is optional in another six states, those being: Arkansas, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you live in a state not listed as required or optional, PIP coverage isn't available where you live, but MedPay coverage may be.

Choose The Right Plan

In the event of an accident, you should feel confident that your auto insurance can protect you financially while helping you get the immediate medical care you require. Adding MedPay or PIP to your plan is often a smart move, if not a legal requirement, to make sure that you stay safe on the road. Review your options and do your research to find a plan that fits your budget without compromising coverage.