Auto insurance coverage requirements vary from state to state, as do driver preferences for coverage levels. Some drivers like carrying the most coverage for the "body" of their car so that they don't have to worry about repairs or replacement after an auto crash.
Other drivers prefer to carry more coverage for their own "body." These drivers want to help make sure their health and medical expenses are taken care of after an accident. At some point or another, they're likely to wonder: PIP or Med Pay?
That's because Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage both help pay for certain medical expenses. While there's some overlap between the two, each coverage comes with unique benefits. Knowing the differences can help you make the best coverage choice for you and your family.
PIP vs. Med Pay: A Quick Overview
PIP coverage and Med Pay both pay for immediate and necessary medical services following a car accident that results in bodily injury. They help pay for injuries sustained by you AND your passengers in the event of an accident.
What is PIP coverage?
PIP pays for your medical costs in addition to other injury-related expenses, regardless of which driver was at fault. The at-fault driver could be you, the other driver, or a hit-and-run driver.
PIP coverage varies by state, and depending on the state could generally help pay for:
- Ambulance transportation
- Dental care
- Psychiatric treatment
- Chiropractic services
- Funeral costs if necessary
- Childcare expenses
- Losses for surviving dependents
- Wages lost from work
PIP coverage is different than Med Pay in that it also may cover lost wages. If you are injured in a car accident and are unable to work, depending on your level of coverage, PIP may help you keep your head above water by supplementing your income while you cannot work.
What is Med Pay coverage?
Med Pay typically is similar to PIP coverage but much less comprehensive. It covers the policyholder, the other drivers listed on the policy, members of the insured’s household, and passengers during an accident.
Unlike PIP coverage, Med Pay only covers direct medical or surgical care related to physical injuries that result from an auto accident. Med Pay may help you pay for:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital expenses
- Dental care
- Funeral expenses
Med Pay will not help pay for things like psychiatric treatment, childcare, lost wages, or losses for surviving dependents.
Med Pay can also supplement your standard health insurance after an accident. In some situations, it can help pay for your health plan's deductible, as well as other out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by your health plan.
Med Pay has no deductible or copay, unlike most health insurance plans. Plus, with Med Pay, you are covered if injured as an automobile passenger, on public transportation, or by a driver while you're walking or cycling.
Is PIP or Med Pay required?
Check your state to determine which coverage, if any, is required when it comes to PIP vs. Med Pay coverage requirements.
- Med Pay is only required in two states: Maine and New Hampshire.
- PIP coverage is required in 16 states: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Some of these states like Arkansas and Texas allow an insured to reject PIP coverage.
In all other states, both Med Pay and PIP coverage are optional where available.
Which coverage should I choose?
If you live in a state where PIP or Med Pay is required, the choice is obvious. You need to meet the insurance requirements in your state.
If PIP and Med Pay are optional in your state, the choice is up to you. Which coverage is the best match for your needs? The following table provides a quick comparison of PIP vs. Med Pay. Take a look and talk to your insurance company.