As a Florida driver, you face considerable risks every time you get behind the wheel. While the state’s mandated personal injury protection (PIP) should provide some peace of mind, it is not always enough to cover the full extent of damages incurred in severe accidents.

Enter MedPay. This supplemental solution can provide valuable financial relief in the aftermath of a devastating car crash. Purely optional, it can be included with car insurance coverages. Below, we explain the basics of MedPay — and how it differs from PIP.

What Does MedPay Cover?

PIP offers extensive, but not full coverage. In Florida, it’s possible to obtain further coverage via MedPay, which pays 20 percent of medical bills not covered by PIP. Additionally, MedPay may continue to provide coverage after PIP’s $10,000 limit has been reached.

As its name suggests, MedPay is primarily intended for medical expenses. These may include not only hospital visits in the accident’s immediate aftermath but also ongoing care.

In fatal accidents, MedPay may cover funeral expenses beyond the $5,000 provided through PIP. This can provide considerable relief for families already dealing with shock and grief. Often, the victim’s loved ones are unable to cover the cost of a funeral on their own.

Who Does MedPay Cover?

With MedPay, the policyholder is covered regardless of whether he or she is the driver or passenger in a vehicle. Additionally, passengers riding in the policyholder’s vehicle are covered by the MedPay that applies to the vehicle they are occupying. MedPay coverage also extends to policyholders even when they are injured as passengers in a vehicle they do not own or insure.

Policyholders and covered family members may secure MedPay benefits if injured while walking as pedestrians or, in some cases, while riding bicycles.

PIP Versus MedPay

Florida residents frequently confuse PIP (personal injury protection) and MedPay. While the two coverages hold a few key similarities, they are far from identical.

The most notable difference: PIP is mandatory for Florida drivers, while MedPay is an elective program. PIP is also far more comprehensive, in that it can cover everything from loss of wages to loss of services. MedPay, however, focuses exclusively on medical coverage and funeral expenses. Another difference: insurance providers hold no right to subrogation for PIP claims.

The chief element MedPay and PIP hold in common? The fault does not play a role in compensation for either coverage. Policyholders can be reimbursed regardless of whether they are ultimately deemed at fault for the accident in which they were injured. Another key similarity: neither option covers non-economic claims such as pain and suffering. These types of claims can only be awarded following a successful personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Is MedPay Worth It in Florida?

With PIP already required for every Florida driver, many residents wonder: is MedPay worth it?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t all that simple. Some drivers really don’t need it, particularly if they already enjoy excellent coverage from their existing health insurance. For others, however, lack of health insurance or high-deductible health insurance plans offer little to no relief from medical bills in the event of a car accident. In such cases, MedPay may be worth the additional premium cost.

MedPay has grown increasingly popular in recent years, as drivers have experienced dramatic hikes in health insurance deductibles. Many worry how, in the event of an accident, they will handle outstanding bills not covered by PIP. If they’re willing to pay a little extra now to know that they’ll be covered in the worst-case scenario; MedPay coverage can deliver considerable peace of mind.

An often overlooked benefit of MedPay highlighted by Terence Gross: there is no need to visit your primary physician for a referral. MedPay can pick up balances from chiropractors, orthopedic specialists, pain management physicians and a variety of other medical professionals. It can provide an easier path to the targeted care you need following a devastating car accident.

What Is MedPay Subrogation? How Does it Work?

Unfortunately, MedPay is not as simple as it seems. If there is any downside to this supplemental offering, it’s the potential for subrogation.

Subrogation refers to the insurer’s ability to recover payments made for accident-related medical treatment. If an insurer attempts to subrogate, the policyholder may have to reimburse the insurer for the amount already paid towards medical bills. This repayment typically occurs after accidents in which the policyholder makes a third party recovery against the at-fault party.  Automobile-related subrogation is not fully pursued until the injured party’s personal injury claim settles.

As mentioned previously, subrogation is not available for PIP. For this reason, some drivers are content with only PIP after considering the pros (immediate payment of medical bills/financial relief) and cons (increased premiums, subrogation opportunities) of adding Medpay.

While all Florida residents are required to hold PIP, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach to car insurance. MedPay can be a valuable solution for some drivers, but may not be worthwhile for others. Drivers should look closely at existing coverage before determining whether they should add MedPay coverage to their automobile insurance policy.