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Changes To Your Underinsured Motorist Accident Insurance – New Oregon Law Coming 2016!

Oregon Underinsured Motorist accident insurance changes happening in 2016 will significantly add more protection for Oregon drivers involved in serious auto or pedestrian accidents. The new law, Oregon Senate Bill 411, will take effect on January 1, 2016. Today’s blog will review how the new law will change the way underinsured motorist accident insurance is applied, and how to maximize every aspect of your insurance coverage

Stacke_UIM_InsuranceCurrently, insurance companies are permitted to reduce the amount of your Oregon underinsured motorist accident insurance by the amount of liability coverage carried by the at-fault driver. You think you will receive the full benefit of the UIM insurance you purchase, but in reality your coverage is reduced by the amount of liability insurance the at-fault driver carries. Under the old law, liability and UIM coverages are not additive, which means you cannot “stack” your UIM coverage on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. However, this is what the new law has changed.

Why is this important?

Currently, more than one-third of Oregon drivers have NO insurance or the minimum underinsured motorist accident coverage mandated by Oregon law.

“Stacking UIM insurance will materially aid Oregon drivers obtain the resources they need to recover from serious accidents.”

Because the typical bodily injury car accident costs more than $126,000 in damages, it is extremely important for drivers to take advantage of every aspect of their insurance coverage, especially their underinsured motorist accident coverage (UIM).

Key Oregon UIM Insurance Changes — “Stacking”

Every Oregon driver is required to carry underinsured motorist accident insurance (UIM) of at least $25,000. This coverage helps protect you in the event you are involved in an accident where the at-fault driver’s liability coverage does NOT fully cover your injuries and damages. In reality, current Oregon law permits insurance companies to REDUCE your UIM coverage by the total amount of the at-fault driver’s applicable liability coverage.

For example, if the at-fault driver has the minimum liability coverage of $25,000 and you have the minimum UIM coverage of $25,000, then your insurance company is allowed to pay NOTHING to you for UIM benefits even though you have paid a premium for the coverage. If you had $100,000 in UIM coverage then your insurance company would be liable up to $75,000 ($100,000 – $25,000 = $75,000).

Up until now, insurance companies have successfully convinced you to purchase the protection afforded by UIM insurance, but through a clever loophole only pay for a fraction of the protection and sometimes not at all. This is about to change in 2016!

As of January 1, 2016, the new law will require insurance companies to “stack” liability and Oregon underinsured motorist accident insurance coverages to provide you an increased level of protection with coverage limits that are “additive”. For example, if both parties have the minimum required coverage, then $50,000 would be available to compenate you for your personal injuries. In the scenario where you have $100,000 in UIM coverage, then your insurance company would be liable up to your FULL $100,000 limit after the at-fault driver’s liability coverage of $25,000. In effect, you would have $125,000 of insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries and financial losses.

Actions You Must Take to Take Advantage of the Oregon UIM Changes

While it may seem reasonable to expect insurance companies to automatically implement these changes on January 1, 2016, that is not the case. In order to take advantage of the changes in the law, you need to have your insurance company reissue your policy after January 1, otherwise the same exclusions will remain in the policy until you renew. It is critical that all Oregon drivers contact their insurance companies and request that all of their auto policies be renewed or reissued on January 1, 2016.

Mayor Law, Oregon Personal Injury Law Firm

Personal_Injury_Attorney_Travis_MayorAs a Portland personal injury attorney, my sole focus is to represent victims and their families who have been wrongfully injured as a result of another’s careless or intentional conduct. I hope this website is a place to learn more about our law firm, as well as, an educational resource for Oregonians who have been victims of accidents.  It is not intended to be legal advice, as every case is unique and should be accurately evaluated.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a car, pedestrian, or bicycle accident, and you are looking for a skilled attorney to lead you through insurance roadblocks and confusion, please call today for a free and confidential case evaluation. Local (503) 444-2825, Toll free 1-800-949-1481, or email  travis@mayorlaw.com.

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