Every consumer in Oregon who wants to pilot a vehicle on the state’s highways is required to buy insurance. Every policy sold in Oregon is required by law to have certain minimum benefits. One of the benefits is Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, as it is referred to in the industry. This benefit pays for medical bills and wage loss if you have an accident and become injured. The coverage is no fault, meaning it doesn’t matter who is to blame for the accident. You can swerve to avoid a cat, plow into a tree and still use the coverage to pay for your medical bills. The minimum benefit an insurance company is allowed to sell in Oregon is coverage of at least $15,000 in medical care. The care must be incurred during the first twelve months. The medical coverage is very good by today’s standards. You do not have a deductible, co-pay or any 80/20 limit on coverage. There is also no requirement your medical treatment be pre-approved. Most importantly, you are allowed to choose your own doctor, as opposed to going off a list provided by the insurance company. The wage coverage unfortunately, isn’t as good. The insurance carriers who sell policies in Oregon are allowed to limit the wage benefit to 70% of your take home pay up to a maximum of $1,250 a month. This dollar limit was set decades ago with no cost of living increase written into the law. This benefit is hardly enough to cover a family’s monthly bills in 2009 if the sole income provider is injured and out of work. Thanks to lobbying by the Oregon Trial Lawyer’s Association, the legislature passed a bill this session increasing the limit to $3,000 a month. Welcome news for Oregon consumers.
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