Oregon Car Insurance
Want to learn about car insurance in Oregon? You can get all the information you’ll need right here on this page. Keep reading to know about required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, and more.
Mandatory insurance law
Oregon is a “tort” state that requires all drivers to have insurance. If you’re an Oregon driver, you must show that you’re insured when you:
- Get into an accident
- Are stopped by police
- Register a vehicle
- Buy a light vehicle trip permit
Minimum Oregon coverage requirements
Oregon law has certain standards that auto insurance policies must meet. Every policy sold in Oregon must provide liability, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The following table breaks down the required coverages and minimums:
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$25,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident|
|$50,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
|Property damage liability||$20,000 total per accident|
|Personal injury protection||$15,000 total per accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorists bodily injury||$25,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident|
|$50,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $50,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $20,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 25/50/20 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s medical bills or car repairs. They only cover those expenses for victims.
Uninsured motorist (UM) bodily injury
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after an accident. It does so when the driver who caused the accident either:
- Doesn’t have insurance or fled the scene of the accident
- Has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills
UM policies start at the same minimum coverage levels as liability policies: They cover $50,000 per accident and $25,000 per person. You can also purchase uninsured motorist coverage property damage (see the “optional coverages” section below) that pays for your car repairs.
Stacking: Oregon law allows drivers to increase their uninsured motorist coverage through stacking. Stacking increases the amount of coverage you have. But it may also increase your premium.
You may be able to stack coverage if you have multiple cars under your policy or are insured through multiple policies. Stacking basically lets you combine the coverage from all those cars or policies when you file a large claim.
Stacking can differ from insurer to insurer. So check with your agent or company to find out your options.
Personal injury protection
When someone insured by your policy is injured in an accident, it helps pay their medical bills. It does so no matter who caused the accident.
It covers “reasonable and necessary” medical, dental, hospital, surgical, and ambulance services within one year after the date of the injury. Policies come with at least $15,000 worth of coverage, but you have the option of buying more.
It includes coverage for:
- Medical benefits: Pays for medical services including x-rays, ambulance, and funeral-related expenses.
- Lost wages: Pays for missed time at your job if you need time to recover from injuries after an accident. Benefits begin on 14th day of disability. They pay up to 70% of wages, up to a monthly maximum of $3,000 for 52 weeks.
- Death benefits: Pays for funeral bills within a year of the injury. The maximum benefit is $5,000.
- Essential services: Covers expenses for essential services that the victim would normally perform. Accident victims who are unemployed are entitled to $30 a day for up to 52 weeks, beginning on the 14th day of disability.
If your insurer and you disagree on PIP benefit amounts, you can pursue a settlement through an arbitration process in the Oregon court system.
In the Beaver State, you can prove that you’re insured with your smartphone or other electronic device. That’s thanks to the electronic proof law, which went into effect in May 2013.
For the electronic document to be valid proof of insurance, it should clearly state at least the following:
- Name of the insurer
- Insurance policy number
- Policy period
- Name and address of each insured driver
- Policy limits
- Make and model of each covered vehicle
In addition to liability, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.
Penalties for driving uninsured
If you break the law and don’t buy Oregon car coverage, it could cost you. You could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills if someone crashes your car. You could also have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees.
|Number of Offenses||Fine|
Uninsured drivers who are involved in an accident are also subject to a one-year license suspension.
No pay, no play
Oregon has a “no pay, no play” law. That means uninsured drivers are treated differently when they get into an accident.
If you’re uninsured and get into an accident in Oregon, the law allows you to sue other drivers only for economic damages. That includes things like medical bills and car repairs. You can’t sue for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
However, this doesn’t apply if the uninsured driver was insured by a liability policy “within the past 180 days, and has not driven an uninsured vehicle within the year preceding the coverage lapse,” according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
The Oregon DMV has an Automobile Liability Insurance Reporting Program (ALIR) that has been tracking the insurance status of cars registered in the state since 1996. Police use the system to determine whether you’re insured, and the DMV selects vehicles at random and sends out notices asking for insurance verification from their owners.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. Almost 4 out of every 5 drivers in Oregon bought comprehensive coverage in 2011.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. Almost 7 out of every 10 drivers in Oregon bought collision coverage in 2011 , according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Uninsured motorist (UM) property damage
It pays for your car repairs after an accident caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. You can only buy this coverage if you also buy uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury.
It may duplicate your collision coverage, but it may be a good purchase if you don’t have collision, or if you have a high collision deductible, according to regulators.
How Claims Work in Oregon
Oregon uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance pays your medical and repair bills.
But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.
If you’re partially responsible, it reduces the amount you can get from the other driver’s insurer. Oregon uses “modified comparative fault” to sort this out. Here are the details:
If you’re more than 50% responsible for the accident: The other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay any of your bills. You have to completely rely on your own policy.
If you’re 50% or less responsible for the accident : The other driver’s insurer will pay your bills. But the amount they pay will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re 20% responsible for an accident, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay 100% of your bills. Instead, it pays only 80%, since you were 20% responsible. So in this example, if you have $10,000 in bills from an accident, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.
So what if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay your bills? You use your own policy. PIP coverage will help pay your medical bills. Collision will help pay your repair bills. But both of those coverages are optional. You’ll be on your own if you didn’t add them to your policy.
Oregon auto insurance rates
Oregon car insurance premiums are cheaper than average. The average cost of a policy in the state was about 11.2% cheaper than the 2011 national average.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Beaver State:
- Progressive: Snapshot
- Allstate: Drivewise
- The Hartford : Truelane
- Travelers : Intellidrive
Also, Oregon is home to a special kind of usage-based car insurance called per-mile insurance. This coverage is meant for urban motorists who drive less, because it breaks pricing all the way down to the mile a motorist drives. The company providing the program, MetroMile, was founded in 2012 in Oregon.
Oregon law rewards older drivers who maintain their driving skills. Auto insurers in the state must give a discount to drivers 55 and older if they complete an accident prevention course. To get the discount, complete any of the driver training courses approved in Oregon.
Oregon car insurance companies
Before you buy a car insurance policy, you might want to research the insurer’s complaint history. The state’s regulator lists figures online about formal complaints submitted against insurers that you can use to do this. You can view the state’s complaint data to see how many confirmed complaints have been filed about any Oregon car insurer.
Regulators can also follow up if you file an official complaint about an Oregon car insurer.
Car insurance for high-risk drivers
Have a lot of traffic tickets or accidents? You might have a hard time finding car insurance coverage. In Oregon, you can still turn to theWestern Association of Automobile Insurance Plans. You’ll be able to hook up with a car insurance carrier that can provide you coverage.
But beware, this is a last resort, and usually for high-risk drivers. That’s because prices will likely be higher for these drivers.
Coverage for carsharing
In carsharing programs, drivers get paid a fee to allow their personal vehicles to be rented out to other drivers in need of a car.
Oregon passed a state law in 2012 to regulate insurance for these types of programs. The law helps by basically turning off your personal policy when your car is being rented out. While it’s rented out, the car-sharing service’s policy takes over. This keeps the driver’s own private policy out of the picture.
In Oregon, these programs need to provide the following minimum coverage to vehicles when being used by a renter, according to officials:
- Bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage, not less than three times the 25/50 liability limits required by state law
- At least $15,000 in personal injury protection (the minimum required by law)
- At least 25/50 in uninsured/uninsured motorist (the minimum required by law)
- Comprehensive coverage
- Collision coverage
According to officials, your insurer cannot cancel or non-renew your policy because you participate in one of these programs. However, that only applies if the renting is conducted through a personal-vehicle sharing program and you don’t collect more than the annual cost of owning and operating the vehicle in fees.
Still, it’s probably best to check with your insurer before renting out your car through one of these programs.
Did You Know?
Electronic proof of insurance
Oregon is one of more than 30 states that allow you to use an electronic copy of your insurance ID card to prove to state officials that you're insured.