From Coos Bay to Klamath Falls, Tillamook to Eugene, Oregon has hundreds of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Portland to downtown Salem, along the Columbia River Gorge and up into the Cascades. They’re used by over 2.8 million licensed drivers, who each average 8,600 miles each year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Beaver State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Oregon’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Oregon state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines. Oregon has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering. However, Oregon also allows you to purchase personal injury protection.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Oregon drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$20,000 property damage liability
$15,000 personal injury protection
$25,000/$50,000 uninsured /underinsured motorist
Oregon does not require you to carry additional coverage such as Collision and Comprehensive. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Oregon Auto Insurance
If you own a car in Oregon, you are required by law to maintain adequate insurance and provide proof if you are asked for it by a law enforcement officer. Failure to do so can carry severe penalties. Conviction for a first offense has a fine of up to $427 and your license will be suspended for 1 year, unless you purchase special SR-22 coverage and keep it on file for 3 years. If you are involved in an accident without insurance you can be personally sued for damages by any injured person. If the suit is successful, you must pay within 60 days or your license will be suspended until the judgment is paid.
Oregon Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Oregon Insurance Division. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Oregon also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Oregon Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Oregon Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Oregon. The following laws have recently been enacted in Oregon and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
Texting and talking on handheld devices while driving are against the law in Oregon
The use of handheld and hands-free cell phones is banned for novice drivers in Oregon
You must report any traffic accident involving an injury or more than $1,500 in vehicle damages to the Oregon DMV. If an officer can’t come to the scene, you have 72 hours to file a report.
Effective 2014, you can no longer smoke in a car where a child is present. The fine for a first offense is $250, subsequent offenses are $500.