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What Is Personal Injury Protection?
Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Personal Injury Protection or “PIP” as it is commonly referred to is insurance coverage that is mandatory for most automobile insurance policies in Oregon private passenger cars. It is a type of insurance designed to pay your medical bills and certain other expenses, including lost wages, in the event that you are injured in a car accident.

In Oregon, the minimum medical expense coverage is $15,000. Thus, injured drivers generally have $15,000 of medical coverage regardless of fault. This coverage is designed to pay your bills regardless of who is at fault in the accident. The main question in PIP coverage is whether your injuries are related to the auto accident.

Oftentimes, there is a dispute about fault in an auto accident. Injured parties seek the immediate medical attention that they need and incur medical bills. Meanwhile, it can take months, and even years to resolve who is at fault for an accident and to get the responsible party (or their insurance company) to pay the bills. During this time, the various medical providers have given service and rightfully deserve to be paid. Many people do not have enough savings on hand to cover costly medical bills. Depending on the medical provider, and the amount of time it takes to get the bills paid, an innocent motorist can have their credit rating severely damaged by the accumulation and non-payment of these medical bills. PIP was designed to pay the bills right away so that, regardless of fault, a motorist can avoid having their credit ruined and the hard working medical professionals can be timely paid.

One aspect of PIP that many people are unaware of is how very little additional premium they will pay to increase their PIP coverage. With most companies, for only a few extra dollars, the amount of PIP can be significantly increased. With the expense of medical testing such as MRIs and X-rays and the skyrocketing costs of staying in the hospital, having an additional $10,000 – $15,000 worth of PIP coverage can make a significant difference. It is always wise to speak with your insurance broker, or sales representative when buying or renewing your auto coverage. In addition, you should ask how much more you would have to pay to increase your PIP coverage.

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