How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance Work in Oregon?

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Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is required for all drivers in Oregon, as it’s a mandatory form of auto insurance coverage in the state. The only exception is that motorcyclists aren’t required to carry PIP insurance in Oregon. Each PIP insurance policy must provide at least $15,000 of coverage per person hurt in an accident, which can be used to pay medical expenses, lost wages or other costs related to their injuries. However, you can also choose to purchase a policy with higher limits, often up to $100,000 per person.

How Does PIP Coverage Work in Oregon?

All auto insurance policies in Oregon must include personal injury protection, which provides coverage if you’re injured due to operating or maintaining a vehicle. No matter which party was determined to be at-fault for an accident, personal injury protection pays for your injuries. PIP insurance provides coverage for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Funeral expenses
  • Other expenses stemming from your injury

Oregon law requires you to maintain at least $15,000 of PIP coverage, however you can purchase a policy with higher limits if you choose. While not all PIP policies come with a deductible, which can reduce your premiums, this option is also available through some insurers. Just note that the maximum deductible allowed in Oregon is $250, so adding this to your policy isn’t likely to reduce premiums significantly.

Medical Expenses

Oregon PIP insurance will provide coverage for all necessary and reasonable medical expenses incurred within two years of the accident, so long as they don’t exceed your policy limit. Medical expenses can include a wide variety of procedures, such as X-rays, surgery and dental treatments. PIP will also cover your “medical mileage”—your transportation costs to make necessary trips to the hospital or doctors’ offices for care. If you intend on using your PIP for these costs though, you must keep very detailed records of all miles driven and transportation receipts to submit with your claims.

While PIP insurance is very broad in what it can cover, insurers in Oregon can also require that you are assessed by a doctor of their choice. If the doctor determines any procedures aren’t necessary or reasonable, or the doctor claims you’re healthy enough to work, the insurer will likely dispute your claim. In this case, you can try to make a claim against the at-fault party’s insurer or you can contest the issue with your own insurer, which will typically require involving a lawyer.

Lost Income

Personal injury protection insurance in Oregon covers 70% of any wages lost due to an injury in a car accident, up to a maximum of $3,000 per month. PIP benefits aren’t triggered until you’ve missed at least 14 consecutive days of work, but they will continue to cover lost wages for up to 52 weeks. As with any other expenses you’d include in a claim, make sure to get clear documentation from your doctor confirming that the injury caused you to miss work for over two weeks. Also, provide evidence of your income prior to the injury.

Other Costs

PIP insurance provides coverage for several additional expenses that might result from a car accident, including:

  • Funeral expenses: Up to $5,000 of costs related to the funeral and burial of a person killed in an accident.
  • Household replacement services: If your injury precludes you from performing normal household tasks, such as cleaning or home maintenance, PIP covers up to $30 per day in replacement services. This coverage extends for up to 52 weeks following the accident.
  • Child care during hospitalization: If you need to be hospitalized for more than 24 hours and have a minor child, PIP will provide $25 per day for child care. However, this coverage only extends either until you’re able to return to work or until payments have reached $750 (equivalent to 30 days).

How and When to File a PIP Claim in Oregon

If you file a personal injury protection claim in Oregon, your premiums will not increase due to that factor, so you shouldn’t be concerned about filing a claim for needed benefits. In fact, Oregon’s statutes of limitation are fairly strict, so if you’re injured in an accident or incident involving a vehicle, you should file a claim with the insurer as soon as possible.

To do so, simply contact the insurance company and request a PIP application. This document should be completed with all relevant information about your injuries, the parties treating you and any expenses incurred during treatment. Submitting this form promptly to the insurer not only improves the chances your claim will be addressed, but also shortens the time until you receive PIP benefits.

Which Insurer Do I File a PIP Claim With?

In Oregon, if you were inside a vehicle at the time of the incident, your primary PIP coverage is through the policy insuring that vehicle. Once that policy’s coverage is exhausted, you may be able to lean on your own PIP insurance, if you have a policy, or your health insurance.

If you were a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in an incident with a vehicle, PIP benefits would be available to you in the following order:

  • If you have an auto insurance policy, you would first go to your own insurer for PIP benefits.
  • If you’re not listed on an auto insurance policy but a family member in your household is, you would go to their insurer for PIP benefits.
  • If no one in your household has auto insurance, you would rely on your health insurance or other governmental benefits for medical coverage.
  • If none of the above situations apply to you, you would file a claim with the insurer of the vehicle for PIP benefits.

How Much Does PIP Insurance Cost in Oregon?

The cost of personal injury protection insurance in Oregon will vary depending upon how much coverage you purchase, whether you choose to have a deductible and your driving history. As you can see below, higher PIP coverage limits can increase the monthly cost of an auto insurance policy with minimum liability limits by 22%.

PIP CoverageTotal Monthly Premium

Oregon Tort Threshold and Subrogation

Unlike many states that require PIP insurance, Oregon is not a traditional no-fault state, so there’s no threshold that needs to be met before you can sue the at-fault driver in an accident. Assuming the other driver was at fault, you can sue them for specific costs, like medical expenses and lost income, as well as pain and suffering.

If you choose to sue and receive compensation from the other driver’s insurer, that money may be subject to subrogation if it exceeds a certain limit. This means that your insurer may be able to recoup from you some of the money it paid you in PIP benefits if the settlement from the other insurer is large enough. However, your insurer can’t reclaim any money paid unless the total amount of money you’ve received from both insurers exceeds the size of both your economic as well as noneconomic damages.

For example, say you were badly injured in a car accident and have $25,000 in “economic damages,” meaning specific costs such as medical expenses and lost income. So long as your limits were high enough, your PIP insurer would pay for these expenses. You also might decide to sue the at-fault driver’s insurer. If the other driver’s insurer just settled for an amount equal to your “noneconomic damages,” typically pain and suffering costs, your insurer would not be able to reclaim any money from you as the total payments you received did not exceed your total damages (Situation A, below). On the other hand, if the other driver’s insurer settled for economic damages as well as noneconomic damages (Situation B), your insurer could request repayment for the amount of money you received that exceeded your total damages.

Situation ASituation B
Money Recovered
PIP Benefits from Your Insurer$25,000$25,000
Settlement from At-Fault Driver’s Insurer$50,000$75,000
Difference (can be Reclaimed by Your Insurer)$0$25,000

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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