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Last updated: July 6, 2023

Oregon Car Insurance Laws

When it comes to car insurance, Oregon’s laws are as unique as the city of Portland.

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Oregon is an at-fault state that requires personal injury protection (PIP), which is normally required only by no-fault states. If you’re injured in a car accident, PIP will cover your and your passengers’ medical costs, lost wages, funeral expenses, child care, and other essential services. But if you were any percentage at fault in the accident, you’ll receive less compensation in a civil suit.

That’s just a taste of how car insurance works in Oregon. Read on to find out more surprising information about auto insurance in the Beaver State.

Car Insurance Laws in Oregon

Here’s everything you need to know about auto insurance in Oregon, starting with what coverage you need.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Unless you qualify for any of the exemptions listed below, Oregon law requires the following auto insurance coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $20,000 per person
  • Personal injury protection: $15,000 per person
  • Uninsured motorist coverage/underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injury: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

Exceptions to this financial responsibility requirement include the following vehicles:

  • Any car not operated on public highways/premises
  • Electronic personal assistive mobility device
  • Farm trailer/tractor
  • Implement of husbandry
  • Motor-assisted scooter
  • Registered permanent antique vehicle
  • Snowmobile or Class I, III, or IV ATV
  • Special-interest collector’s items used for parades, club activities, and other events, but not primarily for transportation1

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Whenever you’re driving in Oregon, you must carry proof of insurance, an ID that says your policy’s effective and expiration dates.2 If you’re caught driving without insurance, it’s a Class B traffic violation. This is not technically a crime and not punishable through imprisonment or license suspensions, but you will face fines.

Fines for Class B violations in Oregon Standard Special zone
Presumptive $265 $525
Minimum $135 $135
Maximum for individuals $1,000 $1,000
Maximum for corporations $2,000 $2,000


Special zones include school zones, highway work zones, and safety corridors.

A presumptive fine is the amount you must pay before you go into court; the citing police officer will write it on your citation. However, the court can impose a higher fine upon conviction.

Fault System

Despite being an at-fault state, Oregon requires you to buy personal injury protection. (Typically, it’s no-fault states that require PIP.)

With PIP, a victim can recover their losses from property damages, medical costs, lost wages, and child care, so long as they were less at fault than everyone else involved in the accident. However, due to the state’s modified comparative negligence law, their compensation will be diminished by their percentage of fault.

Discrimination Laws

Although auto insurance companies in Oregon can take credit scores into account when issuing and pricing new policies, they cannot use credit information to do the following:

Companies are not allowed to deny coverage, refuse to renew a policy, limit coverage, or charge people more due to race, national origin, color, or religion. However, they can take into account age, marital/domestic partnership status, disability/partial disability, and gender, so long as their decisions are “based on sound underwriting or actuarial principles.” As a result, in Oregon, men pay more for car insurance, as do unmarried people and teen drivers.


Insurers must notify you before canceling or not renewing your insurance policy. You must get 30 days’ notice for mid-term cancellations, or 10 days’ notice if the cancellation is due to nonpayment. For nonrenewals, that window is 30 days.

Supplemental Insurance Coverages

Even though Oregon doesn’t mandate the following types of coverage as part of its minimum requirements, we recommend adding them to your policy to reduce potential future costs.

  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage: The state requirement covers only bodily injuries, not property damage. Note that this type of coverage includes hit-and-runs as well.
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage pays for your car’s physical damage in collisions, regardless of who caused the damage.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage pays for your property damages from noncollisions, such as auto theft, vandalism, or bad weather.

The Cost of Car Insurance in Oregon

In 2020, the last time the National Association of Insurance Commissioners released national data, the average cost of car insurance in Oregon was $952 — 9 percent lower than the national average.3 These factors may affect your rate:

  • Age
  • Credit score
  • Disability/partial disability
  • Domestic partnership status
  • Driving history
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Vehicle
  • ZIP code

Are Motor Vehicle Inspections Required?

If you’ve just moved to either the Portland metro or the Medford/Ashland area, you must get a vehicle emissions inspection from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to register your vehicle. Once you’ve registered it, you’ll need to get it inspected every two years to renew your registration.

You won’t need to bring any paperwork, or even make an appointment, for the test. Just visit one of the six stations and pay the testing fee of $25 for Portland or $20 for Medford/Ashland. You can find a station near you using these links:

  • Portland:
  • Medford/Ashland:



If your car fails the inspection, your fee will be waived.4

Texting and Driving Laws

In Oregon in 2021, there were 32 fatal crashes involving distracted drivers, representing 6 percent of all fatal car crashes in the state, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s why the state, as of Oct. 1, 2017, has made it illegal to use or hold mobile electronic devices while driving. If you’re caught and convicted of violating these “cell phone laws,” you’ll face the following penalties:

Punishment by offense number 1st that doesn’t contribute to a crash 2nd or 1st that contributes to a crash 3rd in 10 years
Type of charge Class B violation Class A violation Class B misdemeanor
Maximum fine $1,000 $2,000 $2,500
Imprisonment No No 6 months
Can the fine be suspended? Yes, if the driver completed an approved distracted driving avoidance class and shows proof to court within 4 months No No

That said, there are exceptions to these laws for noncommercial drivers ages 18 and older:

  • Using hands-free/built-in devices
  • Swiping or touching a device one time to activate or deactivate it
  • Parking safely in a designated parking spot when using the device
  • Calling for medical help when you are the only person available

Teen drivers under 18 can’t use electronic devices at all, even hands-free. Teen driver laws are often stricter than laws for those 18 and older, as teenagers lack driving experience.


Whether you’re driving through the crowded streets of Portland or a small town like Greenhorn, make sure you’re protected with Oregon’s basic car insurance requirements at a minimum. We recommend increasing your liability limits and adding supplemental coverage for full coverage car insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Oregon?

Insurance follows the car, not the driver, in Oregon. If someone else is using your car with your permission and they get into an accident, your coverage will apply.

How does auto insurance work in Oregon?

Auto insurance in Oregon works similarly to auto insurance in other states in some ways. For example, liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage are required. However, the state is unique in that it requires PIP for your party’s medical costs, lost wages, child care costs, etc. If someone else hits your car, PIP will cover your medical costs first so you can get compensated sooner.

Who is at fault in a rear-end collision in Oregon?

If someone rear-ended your car in Oregon and you were following all traffic rules, the other driver is at fault. Their property damage and bodily injury liability coverage, assuming they have it, would cover your and your passengers’ property damages and medical costs. If the other driver lacks insurance or insurance limits high enough to cover your losses, you could use your own uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage or collision coverage, if you have it.

What is the law for reporting a car accident in Oregon?

In Oregon, you’re required to report a car accident that includes any of the following:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • More than $2,500 in property damage to either someone’s vehicle or another type of property, like a fence
  • Vehicle towed away from the scene

If an accident includes a death or injury, you must call 911. File a police report within 72 hours of the accident, or you’ll face a fine of up to $300, according to Oregon Revised Statutes 811.725.


  1. Chapter 806 — Financial Responsibility Law — Oregon Vehicle Code. Oregon Legislature. (2021).

  2. A consumer’s guide to AUTO INSURANCE. DCBS Consumer and Business Services, Oregon Division of Financial Regulation. (2023).

  3. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  4. New to the Oregon and DEQ? – Vehicle Inspection. (2023).