Q: What does my credit score have to do with insurance?
A: Insurance companies and institutes have conducted studies they believe prove that credit history can predict the likelihood you will be involved in an accident or have a claim. We think you should have a choice whether to include credit as a factor in the price of your insurance. We have several companies that do not check your credit score if you prefer not to have it considered. Oregon voters failed to pass Proposition 42 in 2004 which would have kept insurance companies from being able to use your credit in determining the rate of your auto insurance. Some companies have since 2004 modified their credit scoring model to include a wider range of factors beside just your personal credit score. They now often include length of residency, type and length of employment, payment history on your auto insurance and the credit worthiness of others residing in the same household.
Q: What should I do if I just had an auto accident?
A: Always keep a pen and paper in your car. Take down the name of the driver, address, phone number and license plate number. Also get the other driver's insurance company name and policy number. Please share your information with the other driver but DO NOT admit fault! Nor should you begin to argue with the other driver and blame him for the accident. Try to stay calm and objective. Get the info from the other driver and give yours. You will only hurt your situation if you fail to cooperate with the other driver and his and your insurance companies.
Let the insurance adjusters investigate the claim to determine who was at fault. If you or the other driver were injured, you should then report the accident to your insurance company right away. If you were not injured, you should only report the accident to the company of the driver you are positive was at fault. If the police are called to the scene, be sure you write down the officer's name and badge number. It will come in handy for your adjuster to request a police report. You will need to speak with the insurance company directly.
You can report the accident to your agent, however, agents are not claims representatives and will simply be a conduit to your insurance company. Statements must be made directly from you to the company claims representative. Agents do not settle insurance claims. Claims representatives work for the insurance company and have the authority to deny or approve claims.
Q: Which auto insurance coverage pays for damage to my vehicle in Oregon?
A: Depending on what kind of damage your car suffers, physical damage coverage - comprehensive or collision insurance - will pay for the damages. If you hit a deer or other animal, your car gets stolen, catches on fire, or is vandalized, your comprehensive coverage will kick in. If you crash into something and crunch your car, your collision coverage will pay.
Both of these types of coverage are optional and, of course, adding them to your policy will raise your insurance premium. Be careful when buying full coverage insurance. You must ask for the extras like towing and rental. We also recommend you purchase a separate roadside assistance program such as AAA or add this coverage to your auto policy if available. Be sure it is true Road Side Assistance and not just Towing. There is a difference.
Q: Can I still get reasonable priced insurance if I have lots of tickets or accidents?
A: We have more than 10 companies we can quote you. If other companies have turned you down or you think the price is just too high, you have come to the right place. Call or click for a quote.
Some tickets make the price of your insurance go up more than others, like careless, reckless, driving while suspended and DUI. Other tickets don't get charge for be most companies like seat belt, light out, driving with no insurance. They call those non-chargeable infractions. Just because you have three infractions in one day on the same stop doesn't mean you will get charged for all three. The company will only charge you for just the most severe of the three. So, maybe your record doesn't looks so bad. Call us to find out.
Q: Do I need to purchase insurance before I buy a new car if I already have insurance on another car?
A: If this is your first car, yes, you'll have to buy auto insurance before you drive your new car off the dealer's lot. However, if you already have an auto policy with comprehensive, collision and liability, it will generally cover your new automobile for a period of up to 14 days after you buy it, giving you plenty of time to inform your agent of the purchase. It is not unusual for a lender to require full coverage on a your new car if it financed. Your new car serves as the collateral for the lender, so it is in the best interest of the finance company to have it fully financially protected. This is legal so long as the lender or the dealer do not mandate which insurance company you must use. If you are buying a new car that is being financed and do not have comprehensive and collision coverage on your existing car, call us and we will immediately add the car and coverage you need and fax the proof of insurance to the lender and dealer.
If you are unable to contact your insurance company or your agent but you have current insurance, you should at a minimum carry with you the identification card of at least one of the vehicles you already have insured and the paperwork, such as a signed title and bill of sale or purchase agreement you got from the dealership. Having those documents with you proves you have insurance on another car and most law enforcement officers will acknowledge them as legitimate temporary proof until you get the real identification for your new car.
Q: There are a lot of crazy drivers out there going around with no car insurance. What can I do to protect myself against uninsured drivers?
A: Purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can protect you against uninsured drivers. In many states, Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury UMBI coverage is required by law. UMBI coverage will pay for medical bills and pain and suffering if you are hit by an uninsured driver.
You may purchase uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage depending on the age of your vehicle and the insurance carrier you choose. If your car is crunched by an uninsured driver and you have UMPD coverage, you'll be able to get your car fixed under this coverage rather than using your collision coverage. This coverage even applies to hit and run accidents. Ask us if you are eligible for uninsured motorist property damage coverage. UMPD might be a more economical way to cover your car if you can't afford to pay for full coverage or the car is just too old to justify paying for full coverage. At least your car would be covered in the case of someone else hitting you and they don't have auto insurance. UMPD is optional yet very affordable.
Q: What are some practical things I can do to lower my automobile insurance rates?
A: There are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your automobile insurance. The easiest thing to do is ask us to get quotes from several companies for you. It is not uncommon to find quotes on automobile insurance that can vary by hundreds of dollars for the same coverage on the same car. When you shop, be careful to make sure each insurer is offering the same coverage.
Another way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to look for any discounts for which you may qualify. For example, many insurers will offer you a discount if you insure multiple cars under the same policy or if you have had a driver education class in the last five years. Be sure to ask us about their discount plans. Owning a home, mobile home, duplex or town home will help you save a lot of money. Increasing your deductible on physical damage coverage will lower your rate. Simply raising your deductible from $250 to $500 can lower your premium sometimes by as much as ten percent. Other discounts can apply like accident free discount, education discount, paperless discount and prior insurance discount.
Q: Suppose I lend my car to a friend, is he/she covered under my automobile insurance policy?
A: Whenever you knowingly loan your car to a friend that doesn't live in the same house as you, he or she should be covered under your automobile insurance policy. Your policy, however, may have certain driver exclusions. Drivers that live in your house that are not listed on your policy may not be covered unless you include them as an authorized driver. One important note: if the individual driving your car has a suspended license, your car can be towed if the individual is pulled over for a traffic infraction. We recommend that you never lend your car to anyone as you are personally responsible for anything that happens while that car is being driven by someone else.
We acknowledge there are occasions when you might be tempted to lend your car to a friend or family member who isn't listed on your policy. Your attitude and understanding about insurance might be typical. "No problem, here's the key, my insurance will cover you." That's true, your company will most likely cover a driver who doesn't live in the same house as you, but... and this is a big but... consider the consequences. You will be held just as liable for the damage and injury your friend may cause as if you are behind the wheel. You may believe that if the driver you lend the car to gets in an accident will be charged for the accident and not you. Think again. If your insurance policy has to pay the claim, your policy will get uprated and since it's your car, you get charged for the accident as if you were the one driving. The accident may not show up on your driving record at the DMV as your fault, but when the accident report goes in, your name appears under 'owner of the car' and the C.L.U.E. report will list it as an at-fault accident and most all other companies if you try to switch insurance will charge you for the accident because your policy paid out. So, please, use great caution when deciding to lend out your car.
Q: My car was hit while parked and I don't know who did it, what do I do?
A: Here are the most immediate steps:
- Make sure you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage on your policy,
- File a police report as soon as possible at their non-emergency number (don't dial 911),
- Make a claim with your insurance company either at their website or via telephone,
- Know your deductibles (usually $200 if you know who did it, $300 if you don't).
Now you process the claim just like any other accident. If the car is drivable, take it to a body shop for an estimate. Usually the body shop will work with your insurance company and get reimbursed by them minus the deductible. You will have to work the payment of the deductible out with the body shop.
Q: What kinds of questions should I be expected to answer when I am applying for an auto insurance policy in Oregon? Why do Oregon insurers need so much information?
A: When you apply for an insurance policy, you will be asked a number of questions. For example, the agent will ask you your name, age, gender, address, etc. The agent will want to know about your driving record, and what type of car is to be insured.
Insurance companies have different programs for different customers. Adults with good driving records will generally pay less for auto insurance than young drivers with traffic tickets and accidents.
In addition to your age, gender and driving experience, information about the vehicle you drive and how you drive it, is also needed to determine a fair price. For example, a large luxury car costs more to repair or replace than a sub-compact and someone who commutes 30 miles each way is more likely to be in an accident than someone who rides the bus to work or drives only on weekends.
Q: I have an older car whose current market value is very low. Do I really need to purchase automobile insurance?
A: The State of Oregon requires drivers to have a minimum amount of automobile liability insurance. These laws were enacted to ensure that victims of automobile accidents receive compensation when their losses are caused by the actions of another individual who was negligent.
It is often the case that the cost of repairing the damages to an older car is greater than its value. In these cases, your insurer will usually just total the car and give you a check for the car's market value less the deductible. Many people with older cars decide not to purchase any physical damage coverage.
Q: What is the difference between collision physical damage coverage and comprehensive physical damage coverage?
A: Collision is defined as losses you incur when your automobile collides with another car or object. For example, if you hit a car in a parking lot, the damages to your car will be paid under your collision coverage.
Comprehensive provides coverage for most other direct physical damage losses you could incur, including theft. For example, damage to your car from a hailstorm would be covered under your comprehensive coverage.
Q: What are the different types of Auto Insurance in Oregon?
A: Liability - Required
If you cause an accident due to the negligent operation of your vehicle, it pays for bodily injury to other people or damages to their property. It may also pay if an accident was caused by a member of your family living with you, or a person using your car with your permission. Currently, Oregon State Law requires minimum limits of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $20,000 per accident for property damage. Increased limits can be available for surprisingly little additional cost.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist - Required
This can protect you if you are injured in an accident by others who do not carry enough insurance or have no insurance. Provides recovery for bodily injury caused by the operator of an uninsured automobile, including a hit-and-run driver (after any applicable deductible).
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - Required
Guarantees immediate medical payments for you, your passengers and other parties involved in the accident, regardless of who may be at fault. This is available to help someone who is injured get the necessary medical attention and deal with the issue of fault and insurance later. PIP can also pay for lost wages and funeral expenses.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Property Damage - Optional
This coverage may be available, depending on the age of your vehicle and the insurance carrier you have chosen. It can provide recovery for physical damages to your car, caused by the operator of an uninsured automobile, including a hit-and-run driver (after any applicable deductible).
Physical Damage / Collision - Optional
It may be required if you have a loan or a lease for your car. Collision pays for damages to your own vehicle by accidental collision.
Physical Damage / Comprehensive - Optional
It may be required if you have a loan or a lease for your car. Comprehensive pays for damages to your car caused by fire, theft, vandalism, natural disaster or similar events. It is the coverage that applies when you hit a deer or some other unexpected moving animal or object not normally found in a roadway.
Q: What determines my auto insurance premiums?
A: Your Driving Record
The rates used in determining your premium are affected by your history of claims and traffic violations for up to three years. Drivers with more accidents and tickets on their records will have higher premiums.
Your Age, Sex and Marital Status
Statistics show that the frequency of accidents is higher for males than females. Teenagers have more accidents than adults and single people have more accidents than married people. High accident frequencies mean higher premiums.
Your Residential Location
Congested areas such as cities have heavier traffic and more thefts and vandalism. Consequently, these areas pay higher premiums than rural areas.
Type of Vehicle and Vehicle Use
Some vehicles cost more to repair than others and therefore cost more to insure. Higher premiums are also the result of vehicle usage, such as business use and vehicle performance, such as turbo or other high performance engines.