Take Advantage of Oregon's Law: SB 411 Auto Insurance Benefits

Oregon SB 411 – the auto insurance policy legislation – went into effect January 2, 2016, allowing you, as an auto insurance consumer, to collect on all the coverage you thought you had been paying for.  Starting this month, you will receive up to the full amount of uninsured motorist coverage (and underinsured coverage) if you are injured by an at-fault, uninsured driver.  This means more protection for you and your family.

In the past, if you had the minimum $25,000 of underinsured coverage on your auto policy and were hit by a driver with the minimum $25,000 policy, you would not be able to take advantage of your $25,000 underinsured coverage.  Now, under the new law (SB 411), your $25,000 underinsured coverage will stack on top of the at-fault driver’s $25,000 for a total of $50,000 of coverage should you need it.   

 

Important Facts – You must act quickly to take advantage of SB 411.  The law went into effect on January 2, 2016, for auto insurance policies issued or renewed on or after that date.  If your policy doesn't renew until April and you get in an accident in February, you will not have this additional coverage. In order to get the full coverage you thought you had been paying for and to qualify under the new law, you need to call or email your auto insurance company and tell your agent that you want all of your auto policies renewed or reissued effective immediately so you are covered. Agents should quickly be able to help, including letting policyholders know if a reissue, rather than waiting for the scheduled renewal, might negatively impact other insurance you hold, such as umbrella coverage.

When this law was being discussed in the legislature, insurance companies suggested that auto insurance premiums would increase due to this change in the law.  However, in Washington, with the same provisions already in place, insurance rates were comparable to Oregon. 

For more information about how insurance companies actually set their rates, check out this interesting article from the Sept 2015 edition of Consumer Reports titled "The Secret Score Behind Your Rates".

The article goes into great detail about the way premiums are set and how credit scores can have more of an impact on your premium price than any other factor. 

"Car insurers didn't use credit scores until the mid 1990s… By 2006, almost every insurer was using credit scores to set prices," according to Consumer Reports.

 

Data for Oregon Annual Premium
Average Driver - Excellent Credit $1,014
DUI & Excellent Credit $1,777
Average Driver - Poor Credit $2,302 paying $525 more than a driver with DUI buy excellent credit

 

"In the states where insurance companies don't use credit information (California, Hawaii and Massachusetts), the price of car insurance is based mainly on how people actually drive and other factors, not some future risk that a credit score "predicts"."  The article goes on to state "You buy car insurance so that you're protected financially in the event of a car crash.  But an unfair side effect of allowing credit scores to be used to set premium prices is that it effectively forces consumers to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for accidents that haven't happened or may never happen."

Our personal injury attorneys are always happy to speak with you if you need more details about this new Oregon law.  We think it’s important for everyone to have knowledge of this new law and the need to get ahold of your agent if you want to take advantage of it.


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