Full Coverage Does Not Mean What You Think it Does: All too often I meet with clients who tell me, "Don't worry, I have full coverage." Some of these clients have been heartbroken when they learn that their "full coverage" only included the state-mandated minimum bodily injury limits of $25,000.00. There is not an insurance policy that is sold that states it is "Full Coverage." This term usually means that the policy meets the state mandatory minimum requirements. These requirements merely are that the policy has a minimum bodily injury coverage of $25,000.00 per person or $50,000.00 per crash; personal injury protection benefits that include $15,000.00 to pay reasonable and necessary medical bills for up to two years after the crash; and $20,000.00 property damage coverage (to pay for damaging another's property). All policies must also have an uninsured motorist provision and an underinsured motorist provision (used when the bad driver doesn't have enough insurance.)
Your Insurance Company May Refuse to Pay Crash Related Medical Bills: Oregon law requires that the insurance company pays your crash related bills for two years. However, this amount the insurer will pay in total varies depending on the personal injury protection coverage you have purchased. If you have the minimum personal injury protection benefits then your insurer will stop paying crash related bills once they have paid $15,000.00. That amount can go quickly especially if there is surgery. The other game insurers play is they will claim your injuries are not crash related, so they refuse to continue to pay your personal injury protection benefits. They may even send you to a medical provider that works exclusively for insurance companies to give an "opinion" that your injuries are not crash related. If that occurs call Ross Law at 503.224.1658.
The Minimum Bodily Injury requirements are a Mere $25,000 per Person: This is usually shocking to most people. This means that if you are injured in a car crash and you have the minimum limits that you will likely only have $15,000.00 from your insurance policy's personal injury protection benefits to pay for medical bills, and then an additional $25,000.00 from the bad driver's insurance policy to pay for medical expenses and pain, suffering, and all other harms and losses. When a person is dealing with a severe injury, these amounts are very low considering the cost of medical care these days. There may be other ways to obtain additional coverage, including "Stacking" your underinsured motorist coverage, or umbrella coverage, but usually, an attorney will be required to navigate these issues.
Insurance is a complicated issue, but the bottom line is you can never have enough insurance. If you are injured in a crash and you need assistance in dealing with insurance companies call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658. Jeremiah Ross is a Portland Personal Injury Attorney who will do his best to fight to obtain full compensation for your injuries.
LEGAL STUFF: Please remember the law is constantly changing. This post only applies to insurance policies written in Oregon. It is important to remember that insurance policies and Oregon law control the types of benefits you may receive and what insurers are permitted to do. Please rely on the policy language and the law and not solely on this educational post.