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Oregon Car Insurance Laws & State Minimum Coverage Limits

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Feb 15, 2018

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Oregon State FlagOregon state law requires that all drivers carry a basic car insurance policy that provides not only liability coverage, but a certain level of personal injury protection as well as protection against drivers who do not have insurance. All Oregon drivers have to comply with the insurance requirement in order to drive, and there are penalties for drivers who fail to carry a policy.

Mandatory Coverage

Oregon requires a little more than some other states when it comes to the required coverage on an auto insurance policy. Drivers must have minimum levels of several types of coverage in order to be on the road.

  • Bodily Injury Liability – Oregon requires a minimum amount of liability to pay for injuries or death in the event of an accident in which you are at fault. The required limits are at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident for all people injured in one accident.
  • Property Damage Liability – A minimum of $20,000 in coverage is required to pay for damage to the property of others in the event of an accident.
  • Personal Injury Protection – Oregon law requires $15,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to pay for medical expenses not otherwise covered. This coverage applies to you and anyone in your vehicle. The coverage is for up to two years after an accident.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – Bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident is required for uninsured or underinsured motorists, to pay for injuries caused by a driver who either has no insurance or does not have adequate coverage for the loss. Oregon does not require UM/UIM property damage coverage.

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Optional Coverage

In addition to the coverage the state requires drivers to carry, insurance companies in Oregon have a number of coverage options available.

First of all, increased limits are available on all of the mandatory coverage, and most drivers choose to carry higher limits due to the cost of car accidents, which can easily exceed the legal minimum. Additionally, there are other coverage options drivers can choose in order to add more protection to their auto insurance policy.

  • Collision Coverage – This option provides coverage for your vehicle when you are at fault in an accident. Without this coverage, your insurance company will not pay to repair your vehicle. Collision coverage is typically subject to a deductible.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Adding this option to the policy will cover the vehicle for most damage or loss that is not the result of a collision. Covered losses include theft, vandalism, fire, and weather damage. There is coverage, typically, for auto glass repair under this option, and a deductible usually applies.
  • Medical Payments – An additional layer of protection to cover medical related costs that are not covered by other benefits, this coverage protects you and any passenger in your car.

Proof of Insurance Laws and Penalties

In Oregon, you must present proof of insurance in order to register a car or whenever asked to do so by a police officer during a traffic stop. You must also present proof of insurance at the scene of an accident.

Failure to provide proof of insurance when requested can result in penalties. A driver who is convicted of driving uninsured can face:

  • Fines of up to $427
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Towing and impounding of the vehicle
  • Impound and reinstatement fees

Drivers who have been convicted of driving uninsured require SR-22 filings, and your driver’s license will remain suspended until this has been provided. The SR-22 is filed by the insurance company on your behalf with the DMV and must be continually in force for three years following the conviction. If your insurance is canceled for any reason, the DMV will be notified and your license suspended.

Oregon performs random insurance checks by mail. Drivers are selected to receive a request for proof of insurance and must comply immediately. If proof of insurance is not provided, the DMV will suspend driving privileges and require an SR-22 for a full three years.

Shopping for Oregon Insurance

Oregon auto insurance rates are slightly below average, according to a 2017 study by Insure.com. The state ranks 24 with an annual average premium of $1308, the national average is $1318.

Oregon drivers can find information on auto insurance companies to assist them with shopping for care insurance from the state’s Department of Insurance, which keeps records of complaints against all car insurance companies.

Oregon law allows the use of credit scores in determining auto insurance rates. This is just one of many factors that go into the calculation of insurance premiums, which can also be based on the type of car, the amount of driving time, and of course the driver’s record, which is generally the most important factor of all. Insurance companies in Oregon may weigh each factor differently, resulting in variance in rates for the same person across companies.

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Oregon High-Risk Insurance

Some drivers are considered to be high-risk because of difficulties in their past or on their driving record. Generally, high-risk drivers pay higher insurance rates, and in some cases, insurance may be very difficult to obtain. Luckily there is a plan available to help these drivers.

Oregon is part of the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans, which is a center designed to assist high-risk drivers with finding insurance. Drivers can contact the center and will be provided with contact information for an insurance company that will provide a policy.

Even through this plan, high-risk insurance is very expensive, so it is important that high-risk drivers work to maintain a clean driving record so that future rates will be more affordable.

Teen Driver Licensing

Oregon teens must pass through a multi-stage licensing program in order to develop driving skills and prepare for unrestricted access to the road. Each level has rules and restrictions designed to help keep drivers safe as they learn and improve.

Instructional Permit

At 15 years old, a teen can obtain an instructional permit by passing a written knowledge test at the DMV. With this permit, he or she can drive only when there is a fully licensed driver over the age of 21 in the passenger seat. In order for practice driving to count towards the required hours for your license, the supervising driver must have been licensed for at least 3 years.

There are two options for meeting the required driving hours:

  • Complete 50 hours of supervised practice as well as an approved driver education course
  • Complete 100 hours of supervised driving if you do not take a driver education course

Drivers with a permit may not use a mobile device at any time, even hands-free.

Provisional License

At 16 years old and after completing the required hours and at least 6 months with a permit, teens can take the road test for a provisional license. This allows unsupervised driving within the following restrictions:

  • For the first six months, there can be no more than one passenger under the age of 20 except for immediate family.
  • For the second six months, there can be no more than three passengers under the age of 20, except for immediate family. All passenger restrictions are lifted after 12 months or when the teen turns 18.
  • Driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. is prohibited except for employment or school purposes or if there is a driver over the age of 25 in the vehicle.
  • Use of a mobile device is prohibited, even hands-free, until 18 years old.

Full License

At the age of 18, teens can graduate to a full driver’s license without restrictions.

Teen drivers in Oregon must be enrolled in or graduated from high school at all times during the licensing process. Restrictions on driving privileges may be reinstated as the result of several tickets or accidents on the teen’s record.

Financial responsibility laws in Oregon apply to teen drivers as soon as they are issued a provisional license. Most teens are covered under the policy of a parent or guardian. They can remain insured under that policy even when away at school but will need to obtain their own policy once they have established a permanent residence away from home and are no longer in school.

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Review Information

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

4 Comments

  1. So, my insurance company automatically added my teenage driver to my policy and refuses to remove her without proof of insurance from another carrier. We have one vehicle and she is not driving right now. at all. are we required to have her insured even though she does not ever drive?

    Reply
  2. So I got pulled over in baker city Oregon, they asked for my insurance which I had full coverage on any vehicle. I live in Idaho and was on my way back and they impound my car because my full coverage doesn’t work in Oregon? Can someone explain? I need to know if the right thing was done and if I could have taken my car home instead of it being towed.

    Reply
    • Also there wasn’t insurance on the vehicle I was driving but isn’t full coverage suppose to fully cover so I wouldn’t get my car impounded.

      Reply
      • Hi Annie,

        It sounds like the car was uninsured. If you had full coverage on a different vehicle, that does not automatically cover any car you drive. Insurance generally follows the vehicle, not the driver.

        The bottom line is you need to have an insurance policy for each vehicle you intend to drive.

        Best,
        Eric Stauffer

        Reply

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