September 21st, 2011
Car insurance protects your car, not the people inside of it. "Medical Payments to Others" (often called Med Pay) covers the medical payments of all passengers in your vehicle if they are injured in an accident.
Med Pay will cover the medical costs resulting from an auto accident, regardless of who was at fault. Only injuries caused directly by the accident will be covered by Med Pay, and limits are usually below $25,000.
Med Pay is very similar to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in that both coverages will pay for physical injuries caused by an accident and because neither is concerned with who was at fault. The difference is that PIP insurance is more comprehensive; the coverage can also extend to cover other items such as your lost wages. Pip is therefore slightly more expensive than Med Pay. There is no need to have both.
Remember that Med Pay is purchased on a “by vehicle” basis. This means if you have two cars you must purchase Med Pay for both if you wish to covered while in either car.
It’s also very important to point out that Med Pay is not a replacement for health insurance. Med Pay coverage is strictly limited to injuries that occur during auto accidents and almost always has a limit of $25,000. Yes, your health insurance can also cover your injuries if you’re in a car accident; the difference is that Med Pay will cover the other people in the car. For example, Med Pay might be a good idea if you drive a carpool regularly.
Shop around for the best Med Pay rates to see if the extra monthly cost makes sense for you and your family. It’s probably a safe bet to get either Med Pay or PIP to protect you and those near to you from financial hardship stemming from injuries suffered during an auto accident.