Sometimes, a car accident is no big deal. Other times, it’s awful. If you or someone else gets hurt in a crash, car insurance can help pay for injury expenses. Different kinds of insurance coverage apply to different costs for different people. When dealing with a car accident injury, the last thing you want to think about is insurance. Unfortunately, injuries can be expensive! Knowing which coverage type covers which expenses can help you save money.
Auto insurance medical payments vs bodily injury – what’s the difference?
People often think of auto insurance medical payments coverage and bodily injury coverage together. That makes sense, since both are types of car insurance that pay for medical expenses. But each one covers a different situation.
Medical payments coverage, also known as MedPay, covers a car insurance policyholder. So, if you’re in an accident, your MedPay coverage pays for your injuries and those of your passengers. Only Maine and New Hampshire require drivers to get MedPay coverage. Everywhere else in the U.S., it’s optional.
In comparison, body injury coverage is part of liability insurance. If someone causes an accident and is legally at fault, their bodily injury coverage pays for injuries that the accident caused to others. Bodily injury coverage is mandatory in nearly every U.S. state.
Basically, both bodily injury and MedPay pay for costs associated with car accident injuries. The difference is whose injuries they pay for. In both cases, the coverage only applies to what insurance companies call “reasonable medical expenses.” The definition of reasonable medical expenses varies, but generally, it refers to expenses that are medically necessary and cost within an expected range. For example, having surgery to fix a broken nose is reasonable. Going to a luxury plastic surgeon to make your nose look like Bella Hadid’s is not.
What do bodily injury and medical payments policies cover?
What do medical payments cover?
Like we said, medical payments (MedPay) coverage is for you. MedPay helps cover medical expenses when you, anyone on your policy, or a passenger in your car is hurt in a car accident. You don’t have to be driving your car to benefit from MedPay. MedPay pays for medical expenses if you’re injured while driving someone else’s car, too. It also covers your injuries if someone hits you with their car while you’re walking, using a wheelchair, riding your bike, or even using a hoverboard!
MedPay coverage is no-fault. That means it pays for medical expenses from an accident regardless of who caused it.
Here are some examples of what MedPay covers:
- EMT and ambulance bills
- Hospital visits, hospitalizations, and surgeries
- Doctor’s office visits
- Imaging, like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans
- Prescription medications
- Professional nursing services
- Dental treatment
- Funeral expenses
Your health insurance can cover many of these expenses, but MedPay covers things health insurance won’t. For example, dental care is usually not covered by health insurance. Plus, you can use MedPay to cover the deductibles, copays, and coinsurance your health insurance doesn’t pay for.
What does bodily injury coverage pay for?
Bodily injury coverage is for people you hurt if you’re at fault for an accident. It can apply to people who were in a car you crashed into, pedestrians you hit, or someone in your vehicle (if they aren’t related to you or listed on your car insurance).
Here are some examples of what bodily injury coverage pays for:
- Emergency medical services, doctor visits, and hospital bills, including imaging
- Prescription medications
- Professional nursing
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages and income
- Legal fees from a lawsuit against the driver who caused an accident
Bodily injury coverage is part of the liability coverage required in almost every state. The minimum coverage states require is usually just $15,000-25,000 per person. That sounds like a lot, but it might not be. A bad car accident can result in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills. If you’re legally at fault for an accident and the victims’ medical expenses cost more than your insurance covers, they might sue you for the remaining balance. That’s why getting the minimum coverage your state requires can be risky.
Can both bodily injury coverage and medical payments coverage pay for an accident?
Yes! MedPay and bodily injury coverage apply to different groups of people hurt in a car accident. So, both types of coverage can be involved in paying for car accident injuries.
For example, imagine a car accident where two drivers collide. Both are injured. The at-fault driver’s MedPay coverage would pay for her medical expenses. Her bodily injury coverage would pay for the other driver’s medical expenses.
If you’re not sure which coverage helps with what in the aftermath of an accident, call your car insurance provider. They’re used to navigating complex insurance issues and can find the information you need.
If you’re shopping for new car insurance and want to make sure you understand all the coverages you choose, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Surround Insurance for help understanding coverage types, getting quotes, and picking the perfect plan. We’ll keep it simple!