DEFINITION of 'Medical Payments Coverage'

A feature of an auto insurance policy that covers expenses related to vehicular accidents. Medical payments coverage, also called medical expense coverage, can apply to: (1) the insured individual and any passengers in the insured vehicle, (2) the insured individual if riding as a passenger in another vehicle, and (3) the insured if injured as a pedestrian.

BREAKING DOWN 'Medical Payments Coverage'

Medical payments coverage can cover a variety of expenses relating to injuries stemming from an automobile accident. It covers visits to a doctor or a hospital, surgery, ambulance fees, rehabilitation and nursing care, and some medical equipment. The coverage can help cover expenses regardless of which driver is considered at fault for the accident.

States that require no-fault insurance often require auto policies to contain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage may also cover many of the same injuries and medical care that medical payments coverage covers, and often has higher coverage limits and covers a wider range of issues relating to the accident. If an insured motorist also has health insurance, medical payments coverage is likely to be used primarily once he or she reaches the limits imposed on his/her health insurance coverage.

Medical payments coverage is not required in all states, thus making it an option that a policyholder can ask for when applying for an auto insurance policy. Individuals purchasing auto insurance should consider the likelihood of needing medical payments coverage if they are also required to have personal injury protection coverage. In some states a policyholder cannot have both types of coverage at the same time.

Because medical payments coverage also extends to pedestrians that might be injured in an accident, as well as the policyholder if hit as a pedestrian, it may be more useful in urban areas. This is because pedestrians are more likely to be injured while walking in an urban area than a suburban or rural area.

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