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Med Pay vs. Personal Injury Protection

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Insurance shoppers in states where no-fault insurance options are available may be wondering if they need Med Pay or Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

If you live in a state that does not subscribe to the no-fault mind set, Med Pay is the only option for minor bodily injury.

Both coverage types can be confusing on the surface.

Each offer coverage, up to a pre-determined limit, to pay for bodily injury resulting from a car accident, regardless of who was at-fault.

Additionally, both can also provide protection to others injured while in your vehicle (or struck by your vehicle in some states).

However, there are some key differences between the two that must be explored in order to make an informed decision regarding your coverage.

Med Pay

– Covers hospitalization, medical, dental, surgical, chiropractic, x-rays, funeral – no lost wages or other professional medical benefits (rehabilitation for example)

– Requires you to pay for initial medical services out of your own pocket

– It is necessary to inform medical service providers that your insurer will foot the bill

– Will provide coverage for “non-family” members

– Provides coverage for “immediate” and “short term” medical care

– Might not be necessary if you have regular health insurance

– No deductible is associated with filing a claim.

Tip: Make sure to exhaust your medical payments coverage limits on your policy prior to seeking reimbursement through your health insurance if you live in a true no-fault state.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

– Covers everything Med Pay covers, PLUS lost wages and other reasonable non-medical expenses, psychiatric and physical occupational therapy, and death benefits (depending on your policy language)

– Higher coverage limits than Med Pay are likely available

– Can have a deductible associated with it (some policies have no deductible, for a higher premium)

– Might not extend benefits to non-family member passengers (although “guest” PIP is available in some states)

Which to Choose and Why?

The decision regarding which coverage to choose can be guided predominantly by the state you live in, as no-fault states can have widely varying PIP coverage alternatives.

PIP is mandatory in the following states:

– Delaware
– Florida
– Hawaii
– Kansas
– Kentucky
– Massachusetts
– Michigan
– Minnesota
– New Jersey
– New York
– North Dakota
– Oregon
– Pennsylvania
– Utah

You have the option to choose PIP or Med Pay if you live in any state not listed above.

Looking at the basic coverage types, it may appear as though Med Pay may not be necessary if you already have health insurance.

But neither Med Pay or PIP is a completely viable solution or substitute for health insurance purchased in the open market or through an employer sponsored program.

Furthermore, PIP insurance may not be the best option for you if you regularly have non-family members traveling with you in your automobile, as coverage may not be extended to them.

Get insurance quotes online or contact your local independent agent to determine which coverage type suits you best.

Many companies may offer Med Pay and PIP, but you should shop around to ensure you get the coverage you need at the right price.

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