Sam Hochberg & Associates ? Personal Injury Lawyers ? Motorcycle, Auto, and Bicycle Claims

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Oregon, Washington & California

Tips About Your Car or Bike Insurance

Nobody likes to think about being hurt in an accident, but bike or car, you've got to be prepared with the right information, legal advice, and above all, the right insurance. Many people think that they have full coverage, but they don't. You only have full coverage if you have HIGH LIMITS of uninsured/underinsured.

See our Injury Victimís Legal Guide and FAQ page for answers to common questions about receiving compensation from insurance companies after an accident.

Types of Insurance and What to Buy

UNINSURED and UNDERINSURED motorist (UM/UIM)

By far, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT COVERAGE you need; bike, truck, or car. UM/UIM is used when the accident is someone else's fault, and they either have no insurance or insurance limits that are too low to cover your damages. UNDERINSURED (UIM) insurance is the same as UM, except that this money is paid in addition to the other motorist's insurance, if his policy isn't big enough to handle your claim. You automatically have as much UIM as you do UM.

Oregon requires: "25-50Ē, which means just up to $25,000 per person. These minimum limits are not enough. Buy the highest limits you can, with the minimum being $100,000 per person. It is not too expensive. One way to pay for higher UM coverage is to raise the deductibles (your "co-pay") in your collision and comprehensive coverage.

Don't assume that because you have some UM coverage, you are fully protected. UM/UIM protects you, your passenger, and even relatives in your household for injuries in any UM/UIM wreck for medicals, pain and suffering, lost wages, and future losses. But when an underinsured driver injures you, your own insurance company becomes your adversary, and you will need a good lawyer to get a fair settlement.

LIABILITY (BI)

Also known as "BI," for bodily injury. Your BI pays for someone else's injuries, NOT yours, and only if an accident is your fault. Likewise, the other driver's BI coverage pays you if an accident is their fault. This is usually for ALL damages, present and future, including pain and suffering, except for property damage. Oregon requires: "25-50"; or up to $25,000 coverage for each person's claim per accident, and $50,000 for all claimants combined for each accident. This minimum coverage is terribly inadequate. Buy more.

PROPERTY DAMAGE (P/D)

Your PD pays for damage you do to someone else's property. Oregon requires a minimum of $10,000. Buying more doesn't hurt, since most new cars and bikes cost more than that these days. This won't cover your own vehicle. Coverage of you own vehicle falls under either Collision, Comprehensive, UM/PD, or the other motorist's coverage.

UNINSURED MOTORIST for PROPERTY DAMAGE (UM/PD)

It's not mandatory in Oregon, but it's a good buy and usually inexpensive. If you already have collision coverage then it's probably not necessary. As the name implies, UM/PD covers damage to your vehicle if it's another driver's fault and that driver has no insurance. UM/PD may also pay for other property loss.

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP)

Your PIP covers a limited amount of your "reasonable and necessary" medical bills (usually up to $15,000 for one year), lost income (70% of your gross, up to $1,250 a month), and loss of household services for you and your passengers, REGARDLESS OF FAULT. Bills should be paid quickly. PIP coverage is mandatory for all private autos in Oregon, but is NOT REQUIRED for bikes, and is not required at all in Washington.

If you're on a motorcycle and your usual passenger(s) have health insurance, you probably don't need PIP. Your possible loss is that you won't have the lost wage coverage. You may be able to recover your lost income later, from the injury settlement, assuming there's enough coverage.

COLLISION

This just covers your vehicle, less a deductible, for damage from a crash of any sort, regardless of fault. Not required, except by finance companies to protect their loan. It's not cheap, but the higher your deductible, the less expensive the premiums.

COMPREHENSIVE

This also covers the vehicle, but for losses like fire and theft. Not mandatory, but usually worthwhile to add. Higher deductibles also get you lower premiums.

UMBRELLA

The "Cadillac" of insurance. Get it for both UM and BI, if you can. It picks up where your regular policy leaves off, usually up to $1,000,000. It will require underlying coverage, ordinarily at least $100,000 per person. If you buy it from the same company where you have your underlying policy, you may be able to get an umbrella for about another $150 a year. Umbrella Coverage usually extends to certain personal (non-vehicular) liability claims, and may also add coverage limits to your homeowners or renters policy. Ask your agent.

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