Med Pay versus Personal Injury Protection – The Differences in Coverage

Published on Jun 11, 2019 at 7:33 pm in Car Accidents.

When you’re selecting your auto insurance it’s important to understand your different coverage options. In general, you’ll have Med Pay and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) options. These forms of insurance pay for immediate and necessary medical services in the event a car crash results in injuries. In order to take care of medical issues promptly, insurance companies pay for their own client’s expenses. To understand what coverage is right for you, we’ll discuss the differences between Med Pay and Personal Injury and what’s required of you as a Maryland resident.

How Personal Injury Protection Works

PIP insurance covers the insured’s medical and injury-related costs. This is regardless of which driver was responsible for the accident. While PIP coverage varies depending on the state, the following are generally included:

  • Medical Expenses – Paramedic/ambulance, doctors/surgeons, medications, medical supplies, hospitalization, imaging, laboratory testing, psychiatric care, rehabilitation, prostheses, optical care, dental treatment
  • Funeral Costs – Ceremonies/celebrations of life, burial expenses, cremation
  • Lost Wages – Lost wages from time off work to recover from injuries
  • Household and childcare expenses – Money to maintain a home (bills, groceries, etc.) or care for children (daycare, etc.)
  • Survivors’ Loss – Surviving dependents can receive the breadwinner’s income if they were fatally wounded

If you’re hurt in an accident and you file a claim with your insurance company for PIP benefits, you won’t have to worry about dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. It’s important to note, however, that PIP benefits do not cover pain and suffering. If you’re looking to recover non-economic damages, working with a lawyer from Belsky & Horowitz, LLC is in your best interest.

How Med Pay Works

While similar to PIP, Med Pay is much less comprehensive. In Maryland, this coverage is optional. It covers medical expenses for the insured, other drivers specifically listed on the policy, members of the insured’s household, and any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

In some cases, Med Pay can supplement your health insurance coverage or even function as your primary medical coverage after a crash. When it’s considered supplemental, your health insurance is used first and the Med Pay kicks in for your co-pays and deductibles. When it’s primary, Med Pay is used first to cover the immediate expenses and then your health care coverage takes care of any excess or ongoing payments.

Some drivers use this coverage in addition to their PIP policies for a number of reasons. For one, Med Pay covers medical costs quickly, regardless of who caused the accident. This is beneficial in a tort state, like Maryland, where you would typically have to fight to get your losses covered if the other driver was at fault. Additionally, you’re covered if you’re injured as a passenger, pedestrian, or cyclists, or while taking public transportation.

The Differences Between Med Pay and Personal Injury Protection

Whether you’re making decisions about your auto insurance or you are in an accident and need to use your coverage, it’s important to understand the difference between PIP and Med Pay benefits. As far as their similarities go, neither take into consideration fault and they are paid by the insured’s company.

PIP is required in 15 states, Maryland being one of them. The person seeking medical care will need to pay any applicable deductibles and co-pays. Additionally, non-medical costs may be covered. With Med Pay, it’s typically optional, there are no deductibles or co-pays, and medical costs are covered immediately.

The cost of PIP varies by state, but Maryland requires benefits be purchased that cover a minimum of $2.5k per accident. Med Pay, however, typically adds $5 per month to many policies. This price is because its use is limited, and the payout only ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 per person.

PIP Requirements in Maryland 

Nearly all states have minimum requirements in place for car owners. Maryland is no exception. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, they require personal injury protection coverage for medical, hospital, and disability costs for expenses arising out of an accident.

If you elect to have full PIP coverage, you, any family members, and any non-family members in the vehicle will be covered. Limited protections excludes benefits for you and your family member who are 16 years of age or older. Because PIP is mandatory in Maryland, which is a tort state, the insured has the ability to sue the at-fault driver.

Understanding auto insurance laws and policies can be confusing, especially if you’re in the midst of dealing with a car accident. If you have questions about your policy or need help negotiating with your insurance company, our lawyers are here for you. Schedule a free consultation with us to get started.



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