Review your insurance
Combine icy, snowy roads with motorists who are not used to these conditions and the risk of car crashes increases. Winter is a good time to review your insurance. Do you know what your policy covers? Here are some typical questions motorists ask during winter:
I slid into another car and damaged my car and the other vehicle. Am I covered?
If you have collision coverage, your insurance will cover damage to your vehicle after you pay the deductible. If you do not have collision coverage, damage to your vehicle will not be covered. However, if you are determined to be responsible, your required liability insurance will cover property damage and injuries to the other vehicle and its occupants up to the limits of your policy.
What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?
Comprehensive insurance covers you for physical damage other than collision. This includes losses from fire, theft, hail, falling objects, vandalism, animal collisions, and floods. After you pay the deductible, comprehensive insurance will reimburse you if rock chips shatter your windshield, for example. Collision is defined as colliding with another object or overturning. Neither type of insurance is required in Oregon.
What if I slide through an icy intersection? Is that my fault?
You may be responsible any time your vehicle is out of control. Key issues will be whether your actions were reasonable and prudent.
What if someone in my car is injured?
Oregon law requires your insurance policy to provide a minimum of $15,000 personal injury protection coverage to take care of reasonable, accident-related medical expenses as well as some other costs such as wage losses or funeral expenses. This coverage is available regardless of who is at fault in a crash.
Will my car insurance cover a rental vehicle while my car is being repaired?
Your auto insurance does not automatically cover the cost of a rental car. However, you can purchase rental reimbursement coverage; it is relatively inexpensive. If you have this coverage at the time of an accident, it will pay for a vehicle while yours is being repaired.
I have relatives visiting. What if one of them drives my car and gets into an accident?
Auto insurance coverage follows the vehicle, so your car will generally be covered while your relative is driving, the same as if you were driving. For example, if your family member slides off an icy road and you do not have collision coverage, there would not be coverage for any damage to the car itself, no matter who was driving. Keep in mind that your premiums might increase due to the accident.
What if I take someone else's car to the store and I accidentally back it into the neighbor's car parked across the street?
The existing policy on the borrowed vehicle would provide primary coverage. If no coverage exists, your auto insurance policy might provide coverage. Talk with your insurance agent or company to find out if your auto coverage will extend to a friend or family member's car you plan on operating.
What if I loan my car to a family member who does not live in my house and that person gets pulled over for drunk driving?
Your automobile coverage will not be affected if another driver is simply ticketed for a driving violation. However, if the person has an accident while intoxicated, the company might nonrenew your policy or charge a higher premium.
A tree fell on my daughter's car. The insurance company will not cover her claim. How is this possible?
Comprehensive insurance covers this type of damage and she apparently does not have this type of insurance. While everyone must carry liability insurance to pay for damage they cause to others, Oregon law does not require people to buy insurance to protect their own property.
The tree that fell and damaged my daughter's car belonged to a neighbor. Do they have to pay?
Only if they were negligent. You would have to prove that there was something wrong with the tree and that the neighbor knew about the problem and failed to act.