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Whether you live in the center of downtown Portland or a quiet oceanside village, all Oregon drivers are required by law to carry car insurance to operate a vehicle. Penalties for driving without insurance in Oregon can include fines, license suspension and increased insurance costs. And that’s not to mention the steep out-of-pocket costs that can stem from causing a car accident while uninsured. Considering the breadth of adverse outcomes, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Oregon car insurance laws before getting behind the wheel in the Beaver State.
Minimum insurance required in Oregon
Like many states, Oregon has minimum coverage insurance requirements. To fulfill this legal obligation, you must carry at least basic liability insurance to financially protect others should you cause an accident — this includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Drivers must also purchase personal injury protection (PIP), which can help pay for medical expenses and more for you and your passengers, as well as uninsured motorist coverage, which could step in to cover damages should the at-fault driver be illegally driving without insurance.
To give you a complete sense of Oregon car insurance laws, please see the bulleted list below for the minimum amounts needed for each coverage type. However, it’s worth mentioning drivers with DUIs or other serious traffic violations on their records may be required to carry higher coverage limits.
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $20,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection: $15,000 per person
- Uninsured motorist: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Penalties for driving without insurance in Oregon
From receiving a ticket for no insurance to license suspension and vehicle impoundment, the penalties for driving without insurance in Oregon could be severe.
Oregonians caught driving without insurance may be subject to fines. Fines could be between $130 and $1,000, depending on the court’s decision.
Punishment for driving without insurance might also amount to a suspended driver’s license for up to one year, or until the driver obtains the required auto insurance and provides adequate proof of insurance. Registration for the vehicle may also be suspended, and the car may be impounded.
If a driver’s license is suspended, they may be required to maintain an Oregon SR-22 form for three years after the incident. Insurance companies file these forms to provide proof of coverage for high-risk drivers.
When driving without insurance, Oregon drivers should be aware that fees are typically charged for reinstating a license, filing SR-22 forms, verifying insurance, retrieving a vehicle from impoundment and reinstating registration. However, drivers will only have to pay the fees that apply to their incident.
If an uninsured driver is at fault in an auto accident, the other driver may sue them to pay for the financial damages that they caused.
Getting into an accident without insurance in Oregon
In Oregon, driving without insurance can result in complicated situations. If the other driver has personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it could pay out to help cover their costs. However, if you are driving without insurance, the other driver could also choose to sue you for injuries and damages caused, court costs, wage garnishments and more.
In addition, you could face legal penalties for driving without insurance, including license suspension, fines, and getting a ticket for no insurance. Plus, the state will typically require you to carry an SR-22 form that your insurance company files with the state to prove that you have car insurance.
Frequently asked questions
Providing falsified information as proof of insurance could lead to an immediate license suspension and potentially worse consequences. Driving without auto insurance is often considered a misdemeanor, but lying to the state about proof of insurance may be punishable as fraud.
The average cost of auto insurance in Oregon is $1,415 annually for full coverage and $616 annually for minimum coverage. In comparison, the average cost in the U.S. is $2,014 annually for full coverage and $622 annually for minimum coverage.
While the state minimum is all that is required by law, many people choose to purchase more coverage. But knowing how much auto insurance you need may be tricky. All insurance policies have coverage limits, or an amount up to which you can receive a claim payout. For those concerned that the costs of an accident could exceed their insurance limits, extra coverage may be beneficial. Experts recommend seeking advice from an insurance agent to make sure you’re adequately covered.
Depending on the person’s auto insurance company and policy, you may be covered if you are listed as a driver on their auto insurance policy. However, this is not always the case and there are often limitations. Thankfully, there are policies designed for this situation called non-owner car insurance policies. In situations where you regularly use another person’s vehicle, this may be more feasible than being added to their policy.
The best car insurance company in Oregon will entirely depend on your wants and needs as a vehicle owner. One company may offer the best rates, while another may provide better customer service. So, it may be a good idea to make a list of your priorities before gathering quotes from carriers.