Oregon Underinsured Motorist Attorneys
Clark Law and Associates, LLC
What is an underinsured motorist? An underinsured motorist is someone whose auto insurance policy is exceeded by the damages caused by an accident. An underinsured motorist is often abbreviated UIM.
I don’t have “full coverage” insurance in Oregon, do I still have underinsured motorist protection? Oregon does not require underinsured motorist property damage. You will need to check your policy to see what your insurance company is required to pay. “Full coverage” is a phrase that often means having insurance for one’s own vehicle damage if one is at-fault for the accident. Thus, “full coverage” is not a term that fully applies to an underinsured motorist claim because an underinsured motorist claim can also apply to a bodily injury claim. Usually, even if you do not have full coverage for your vehicle, you may have an underinsured motorist claim if you suffer bodily injury as a result of another driver’s negligence and the other driver has less insurance than you that covers bodily injury claims.
Why should I drive with plenty of liability insurance in Oregon? If you are in a vehicle accident that is not your fault with a driver with minimal insurance limits, you can use any higher insurance limits that you have purchased as compensation for your bodily injury claims, assuming your injury claims are serious enough. Usually, your underinsured motorist limits will be equal to your liability limits. See ORS 742.504(4)(d). If you are seeking uninsured motorist coverage, you will want to seek consent to settle for the policy limits with your own insurance company prior to accepting the settlement.
Available Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Oregon auto policies issued before January 1, 2016: Underinsured motorist coverage fills in the gap, if any, between the limit of the at-fault party’s liability limit and the claimant’s Underinsured motorist coverage. Thus, if the at-fault party has $25,000.00/person of liability coverage and the claimant has $50,000.00 worth of coverage, there is $25,000.00 worth of underinsured motorist coverage available if warranted by the damages. If both parties have $25,000.00 worth of insurance, then no underinsured motorist coverage is available to the claimant. See ORS 742.502(2).
Available Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Oregon auto policies issued after January 1, 2016: Oregon Senate bill 411 Section 2, which passed in 2015, improves UIM coverage for claimants modifying ORS 742.502 which makes the insurance coverage stackable. This means that if the at-fault party and the claimant both have minimal insurance coverage of $25,000.00/person then these can be stacked together for a total of $50,000.00 in available coverage if warranted by the damages.
Do all Oregon auto insurance policies have Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Most Oregonians have underinsured motorist coverage. A consumer can elect lower UIM coverage only if the insurance company takes certain steps to make sure the insured is adequately informed. See ORS 742.502(2).