Published: April 4, 2022Updated: August 16, 2022

Guide to Auto Insurance in Oregon

Your complete guide to Oregon car insurance and driving laws

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Oregon has nearly 3 million licensed drivers, all of whom must have car insurance to register or operate vehicles legally. Despite having higher insurance requirements than drivers in many other states, Oregon drivers pay lower insurance premiums than the national average.

If you’re a driver in Oregon, it’s important to understand what insurance you’re required to carry as well as the state’s various driving laws. In this article, we’ll cover Oregon’s insurance requirements, other state laws, how much you can expect to pay for car insurance, and more.

Required Car Insurance

Oregon requires all drivers to have four specific types of auto insurance in order to legally operate vehicles in the state.

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: All drivers must have bodily injury liability protection of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, which covers the cost of bodily injury to others in at-fault accidents.
  • Property damage liability coverage: All drivers must have property damage liability coverage of $20,000 per accident, which covers the cost of damage to someone else’s property in an at-fault accident.
  • Personal injury protection: Oregon requires all drivers to carry $15,000 of personal injury protection, which covers your resulting injuries, child care, and lost wages no matter who is at fault for an accident.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: All drivers must have uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, which covers your medical expenses if you’re in an accident caused by someone without insurance.1

Many states only require bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, so Oregon’s minimum requirements are steeper than those in many other states. However, drivers still aren’t required to have full coverage, which would include comprehensive and collision insurance (more on that below).

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

In addition to the required coverages, you can include several other types of coverage in your insurance policy. While these coverages aren’t required in Oregon, they can still protect you from financial loss, so you should consider them.

Comprehensive

Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car resulting from something other than a collision. Some examples of incidents that comprehensive insurance would cover are vandalism, weather damage, and theft.

Collision

Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle in accidents where you collide with another vehicle or object. Collision coverage applies to accidents you’ve caused.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in Oregon

According to the 2019 Auto Insurance Database Report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average rate of car insurance in Oregon was $990 that year. The average premium in the state is 8 percent lower than the national average of $1,070.47.2

The exact rate you’ll pay for car insurance depends on various factors, including the amount and type of coverage, the provider, and some of your personal characteristics. Based on these factors, you could pay between $500 per year for the state’s minimum coverage (the cheapest car insurance available) and, if you’re a young driver, upward of $2,000 for full coverage from certain insurance carriers.

Be sure to enter the same coverage limits when comparing rates, along with any relevant information about your driving record, like a speeding ticket or DUI.

Providers in Oregon

Oregon drivers have plenty of options for car insurance carriers. These are some of the insurance companies that serve the state:

  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Country Financial
  • Farmers
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State FarmTravelers
  • USAA

How to Lower Premiums in Oregon

Oregon’s average insurance premiums are already below the national average, but there are even more ways you can lower your premiums:

  1. Save with provider discounts. Most insurance carriers offer discounts on car insurance for having safety features on your car, having a clean driving record, paying for your policy upfront, and more.
  2. Bundle your policies. One of the most popular insurance discounts is your savings when you bundle multiple policies. For example, you’ll save money if you get your home and auto insurance from the same provider.
  3. Increase your deductible. In general, insurance premiums decrease as the deductible increases. You can save money by increasing your deductible, meaning you’ll pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.
  4. Lower your limits. Lowering your limits can reduce your premiums, so check your policy limits to make sure you don’t have more insurance than you need.

Proof of Car Insurance in Oregon

Oregon state law requires all drivers to have at least the minimum insurance requirements and carry proof of that insurance when they drive. If you’re asked for proof of insurance, you can present the insurance card that your insurance company gave you. That can be a physical or digital card, as almost every state (including Oregon) allows drivers to present electronic proof of insurance.3

If you’re caught driving without insurance, you’ll be charged a fine of $130 to $1,000, with $260 being the presumptive amount you’ll be expected to pay without an appearance in court. You’ll also need to carry proof of financial responsibility for three years.4

State Laws

If you live in Oregon, it’s important to understand the state’s various insurance laws and what’s required of you as a driver.

Fault System

A no-fault insurance law generally means that, regardless of who is at fault for an accident, each driver’s insurance coverage will pay their own medical costs rather than the at-fault driver’s insurance covering all damages. No-fault states also require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to cover their medical bills in an accident.

Oregon’s insurance laws are unique because they don’t necessarily fall under the at-fault or no-fault category. Like at-fault states, Oregon requires at-fault drivers to take responsibility for the damages they’ve caused, both property damage and bodily injury. However, like no-fault states, it also requires all drivers to carry PIP, which covers their own medical expenses in an accident.

Negligence Laws

How much a driver can recover after an accident depends on the state’s type of negligence laws. Comparative negligence allows accident victims to recover some money for injuries and damages, sometimes depending on their degree of fault. Contributory negligence, on the other hand, prevents victims from recovering anything if they acted negligently in any way.

Oregon has a modified comparative negligence law. Victims can recover losses as long as they don’t carry the majority of fault for the accident. The damages that someone can recover may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them.5 For example, if it’s found that someone is 25 percent at fault for the accident, their covered damages will be reduced by 25 percent.

Uninsured Motorists

As of 2019, about 11 percent of Oregon drivers are uninsured, meaning they don’t meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements.6 This rate is lower than the national average of 12 percent.

To protect insured drivers from financial losses, Oregon requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for their damages from an accident with an uninsured driver. Oregon allows drivers to stack their uninsured motorist coverage, meaning you can combine the limits from multiple policies to provide greater coverage after an accident.

DUI Laws

Oregon takes driving under the influence very seriously. If your blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.15 percent, you’re considered to be under the influence.

A DUI requires a minimum fine of $2,000 and a license suspension of at least 90 days (with limited privileges after 30 days). All drivers found guilty of a DUI must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for one year on a first offense and two years on subsequent offenses. A DUI in Oregon remains on your driving record for 10 years.

Seat Belt Laws

Like all other states, Oregon requires all drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt, regardless of their age or what seat they’re in. Oregon’s seat belt regulation is under primary enforcement, which means law enforcement can pull someone over and ticket them for not wearing a seat belt, whether or not they were committing any other offenses. This is different from a secondary state, where law enforcement can only write a ticket for a seat belt offense if there was also another citable offense.7

Distracted Driving Laws

States have begun cracking down on distracted driving, especially cell phone use. In Oregon, all drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving. Only drivers under age 18 are prohibited from all cell phone use, meaning someone over 18 could drive while talking on a Bluetooth device.

Oregon also has a texting and driving ban that applies to all drivers.8 If you’re caught texting while driving, you could face a fine of up to $1,000 on the first offense, $2,000 on the second offense, and $2,500 with possible jail time on subsequent offenses.

Teen Driver Laws

Ohio allows drivers age 16 and older to get provisional driver’s licenses as long as they’ve held learner’s permits for at least six months and had 100 hours of driving experience supervised by an adult age 21 or older. Alternatively, drivers can complete traffic safety courses, along with 50 hours of supervised driving.

While holding provisional licenses, drivers can’t have passengers under the age of 20, except for immediate family. After the initial six months, teen drivers are barred from having more than three non-family passengers under the age of 20.

For the first year of holding their provisional licenses, teen drivers can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. except when driving between home and work or a school event, or with a licensed individual at least 25 years old.

Once a driver turns 18, they are no longer required to carry provisional licenses. At that point, they can get unrestricted driver’s licenses (i.e., full driving privileges).

Statute of Limitations for Claims

A statute of limitations is the amount of time after an accident that someone has to file a lawsuit or a claim with their insurance company. Drivers in Oregon have two years to file personal injury claims and six years to file property damage claims.9

Cancellation/Non-Renewal Notification Laws

Cancellation is when an auto insurance company cancels an existing policy in the middle of a term, while non-renewal is when a company chooses not to renew a policy at the end of its term. Generally, insurance companies can’t cancel policies that have been in effect for more than 60 days unless the insured hasn’t paid their premiums, has committed fraud or material misrepresentation, or has had their license revoked or suspended.

Oregon requires insurance companies to give you 30 days’ notice of a cancellation, or 10 days in the case of nonpayment. If a company chooses not to renew your policy, it must give you 30 days’ notice.

Self-Insurance

Some states allow drivers to self-insure, meaning they don’t purchase traditional car insurance. Oregon allows drivers to self-insure, but only if they have a fleet of more than 25 vehicles and are a public body or federal agency. To self-insure in Oregon, organizations must have retained minimum earnings of $100,000 to $3.1 million, depending on the number of vehicles they’re insuring.

Car Inspection Requirements

Oregon doesn’t have any statewide inspection or testing requirements, but residents of some of its highly populated metropolitan areas must submit to testing. Portland residents must have their vehicles inspected and registered if they are from 1975 or later. Medford has a testing requirement for all vehicles that are 20 years old or newer. Both communities offer exemptions for newer-model vehicles, vehicles legally registered outside of the testing boundaries, heavy-duty diesel vehicles, motorcycles, low-speed vehicles, and fully electric vehicles.

SR-22s

An SR-22 is a certificate that drivers in some states must carry to prove their liability insurance, above and beyond an insurance card. These certificates are generally required for drivers who have violated certain laws, such as driving without insurance, with a suspended license or registration, or unsafely. Oregon requires drivers to carry an SR-22 in the following circumstances:

  • They’ve been convicted of driving without insurance.
  • They own a vehicle that was uninsured at the time of an accident.
  • They are trying to reinstate their suspended driving privileges.
  • They are applying for a probationary or hardship permit.

Defensive Driving

Some states require drivers to take defensive driving courses, which teach them safe driving practices to avoid hazards. States may require these courses when a driver has a certain number of points on their license due to driving infractions. Oregon doesn’t currently require defensive driving courses in any situation, but drivers may choose to take them. Some insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who have taken these courses, so there may be a financial benefit.

Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds

If you’re injured in an accident, you may have the right to sue the responsible party. Whether legal action is allowed generally depends on whether the accident is in an at-fault or no-fault state.

While Oregon has some characteristics of no-fault states, such as its PIP requirement, it’s actually an at-fault state, meaning there’s no injury or monetary threshold for legal action. Instead, each driver will pay for damages based on their percentage of fault in the accident.

Accident Reporting Requirements

Oregon requires you to file a police report for an accident that results in injury or death, more than $2,500 of damage to any vehicle, more than $2,500 of damage to property other than a vehicle, or a vehicle being towed from the scene. Drivers have up to 72 hours to report an accident; failure to do so could result in a fine up to $300.

Price Discrimination

It’s common for insurance companies to use factors such as your credit score or gender when setting car insurance rates. Some states have passed laws preventing price discrimination based on these factors.

Oregon prohibits insurance companies from declining your application and from canceling or failing to renew your policy based on your credit score. However, they may consider your credit score when setting your insurance premium. It is also legal for insurance companies in Oregon to consider a driver’s gender when setting insurance rates, so men pay more for car insurance there.

When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss?

In Oregon, a car is considered a total loss when the cost of damages exceeds 80 percent of the car’s actual cash value. The vehicle could also be a total loss if it can’t be repaired safely. If your car is declared a total loss, you should receive its full cash value from your insurance company, assuming you have the proper collision or comprehensive coverage.

Contact Information

If you live in Oregon, you may need to contact the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to register your vehicle, get a copy of your car’s title, or for some other reason. Below are a few different ways you can get in touch with your local Oregon DMV.

State Car Registration Information

To register a vehicle in Oregon, you’ll have to complete the following steps:

  1. Make a title appointment at your local DMV online at https://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/pages/appointments.aspx or by calling your local DMV.
    • Bend: 541-388-6322
    • Medford: 541-776-6025
    • Portland metro area: 503-299-9999
    • Roseburg: 541-440-3395
    • Salem metro area: 503-945-5000
    • Statewide Relay (TTY): 7-1-1
  2. Have a legal vehicle title and complete Form 6775 (https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Forms/DMV/6775fill.pdf) to bring to your appointment.
  3. Bring your documents to your appointment or mail them to this address:
    • Oregon DMV
      1905 Lana Ave. NE
      Salem, OR 97314

How to Get a Copy of Your Car Title in Oregon

The Oregon DMV can issue a replacement title if yours has been lost, destroyed, or damaged. To get a copy of your title, you must:

  1. Complete an Application for Replacement/Duplicate Title.10
  2. Pay a fee based on the year and miles per gallon of your vehicle, ranging from $101 to $192.
Vehicle description Fee to get a duplicate title
Model year 1999 or older $101
Model year 2000 or newer with 0-19 mpg $101
Model year 2000 or newer with 20-39 mpg $106
Model year 2000 or newer with 40+ mpg $116
Electric vehicle $192

How to Contact Oregon’s Insurance Department

If you have additional questions about car insurance in Oregon or a problem with your insurance company, you should contact the state’s insurance department.

  • Phone: 503-947-7980
  • Address:
    • P.O. Box 14480
      Salem, OR 97309
  • Website: https://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx

Cost of Car Repairs in Oregon

The average price of car repairs in Oregon is $393.59, with an average cost of $144.56 for labor and $249.03 for parts. The amount you’ll pay out of pocket for an accident depends on the type of insurance coverage you have and your deductible.

Crime and Fatalities in Oregon

If you live in Oregon, you likely want to know the state’s crime rates and the number of traffic-related fatalities. Remember that both crime and fatalities can affect insurance rates and create more risk for you personally.

Motor Vehicle Theft

As of 2020, Oregon has a vehicle theft rate of 391 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is about 0.39 percent. This is 36 percent higher than the national average. This chart shows the rate of vehicle theft in some of Oregon’s larger cities:

Metropolitan area Motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 490
Salem, OR 458
Grants Pass, OR 303
Eugene-Springfield, OR 286
Medford, OR 231
Albany-Lebanon, OR 205
Bend, OR 144
Corvallis, OR 103

Traffic Fatalities

Oregon has a traffic-related fatality rate of 489 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled as of 2019. This is about 45 percent lower than the national average, which is good news for Oregon drivers.

Recap

If you live in Oregon, it’s important to understand the state’s insurance requirements as well as its other driving laws. Remember that traffic laws vary by state, so if you’re planning to leave Oregon, be sure to research the state laws for wherever you’re traveling.

FAQs

Learn even more about Oregon’s auto insurance laws and requirements below.

Oregon requires all drivers to have bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage. These are the required minimum amounts for each type of insurance:

  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability coverage
  • $20,000 for property damage liability coverage
  • $15,000 for personal injury protection
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for uninsured motorist coverage

The average car insurance premium in Oregon is $990 per year, according to 2019 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. But remember, the rate you pay will depend on the amount and type of coverage you have, your deductible, and other factors.

Car insurance in Oregon follows the car, meaning that no matter who is driving, the policy that covers the car is the one that provides coverage in an accident. If you plan to use someone else’s car, make sure they have the required insurance.

Oregon is not a no-fault insurance state. While Oregon requires drivers to carry personal injury protection like no-fault states do, drivers are responsible for damages in proportion to their fault in the accident.

Yes, you need proof of insurance to register a car in Oregon, as is the case in most states.

Citations

  1. Insurance Requirements. Oregon.gov. (2022).
    https://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/pages/driverid/insurance.aspx

  2. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2022).
    https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  3. Is An Electronic Insurance Card Valid? Allstate. (Nov, 2021).
    https://www.allstate.com/tr/car-insurance/electronic-insurance-card.aspx

  4. Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. ConsumerFed.org. (2014, Jan).
    https://consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf

  5. Chapter 31 – Tort Actions. OregonLegislature.gov. (2021).
    https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors031.html

  6. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured: $13 Billion Spent in 2016 to Protect Against Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers. The Institutes Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 22).
    https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

  7. Seat Belts. Governors Highway Safety Association. (2021).
    https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/Seat%20Belts?state=Oregon

  8. Rules of the Road for Drivers. OregonLaws. (2021, Jun 26).
    https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_811.507

  9. Car Accidents: Statutes of Limitations. Enjuris. (2022).
    https://www.enjuris.com/car-accident/statutes-of-limitations.html

  10. Application for Replacement / Duplicate Title. Salem, Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services. (2022).
    https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/515fill.pdf