In these tough economic times, we're struggling to make ends meet. I know we have to have car insurance, but is there anything we can do to reduce the cost?
Personal injury protection (Third in a series.)
Personal injury protection (PIP) provides the following minimum benefits when you or your passengers are injured as a result of the use of your car. Some companies offer higher limits:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred within one year up to $15,000.
- 70 percent of wage loss up to a maximum of $3,000 per month for up to 52 weeks if the injured person is disabled for more than 14 days.
- Up to $30 per day to pay for essential services for up to 52 weeks if the injured person is disabled for more than 14 days and is not employed.
- $25 per day up to $750 for child care if the injured person is the parent of a minor child and is required to be hospitalized for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Funeral expenses up to $5,000.
Benefits also apply if you or your family members are injured by a motor vehicle when you are a pedestrian or bicyclist. Your PIP benefits also apply to pedestrians or bicyclists that are injured when struck by your car after they have used up all other available medical benefits.
Sometimes you and your insurance company may not agree that the medical expenses that you are incurring are reasonable and necessary. If that happens, your insurance company may require you to be examined by a medical professional of their choosing. Disputes may be resolved by arbitration. Generally, this means your representative, a representative of the insurance company, and a mutually agreed upon umpire will review the evidence and determine how much will be paid.
Sometimes we're asked why everyone has to carry this coverage when many people have other insurance for medical expenses or lost wages. Senior citizens have access to Medicare and may not be working, so some believe they should not have to carry PIP. The Oregon Legislature passed this legislation back in the 1970s to make available prompt payment for accident-related expenses without regard to fault and it is required to be a part of all insurance policies that cover private passenger motor vehicles.
So can you save any money on PIP? You may be able to reduce your premium
by choosing a deductible of up to $250. If you are currently purchasing more
than the minimum benefits required by law, you may want consider whether it
makes financial sense for you to have those higher limits, particularly if
you have other medical or disability coverage available to you.
If you experience difficulties with your insurance company or agent, our advocacy team is available to assist at 1-888-877-4894. We cannot determine how much a company should pay for a PIP claim, and we cannot provide legal advice. However, we can make sure the insurance company is in compliance with Oregon law and the terms of the policy.
Next time we'll cover physical damage coverage.