oregon highway
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Traveling Oregon’s spectacular highways and byways comes with certain risks. Drivers need to protect their investments and Oregon law requires automobile owners to carry certain minimum insurance coverages.

According to Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services, more than 4 million registered vehicles occupy Oregon’s roads. A study conducted by the Oregon Department of Transportation recorded nearly 241,000 non-fatal and more than 3,480 fatal automobile crashes in Oregon between 2008 and 2017.

So, you can see why you need adequate coverage before you hit the road. Finding the best cheap car insurance Oregon has to offer for your specific needs requires a bit of research. When shopping for auto insurance, follow the advice offered by the Insurance Information Institute and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation:

  • Shop around and get quotes from several insurance providers. When you talk with agents, ask about discounts that might lower your premium rate.
  • Always research an insurance company’s financial ratings before buying a policy. Organizations such as A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody’s Investor Services and Standard and Poor’s Rating Information Services offer invaluable financial information about insurance companies’ ability to fulfill their claims obligations.
  • Once you find an insurer, research their rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB website publishes consumer complaints, which can help you determine the reliability of an insurance company.
  • Before signing a contract, use the insurance license lookup tool on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website to make sure the company you have chosen holds a valid license to sell insurance in Oregon.
  • Carefully review the amount of coverage you need. Oregon has certain minimum coverage requirements, and if you finance your vehicle, the bank may also require you to purchase additional policies.
  • Know which driver rating category applies to you. Insurance companies typically rate drivers with no traffic violations in the past three years as “preferred” drivers, which means they pose the lowest risk of filing a claim and typically enjoy the lowest premium rates. “Standard” drivers typically drive family vehicles and pose a moderate amount of risk to insurers. “Nonstandard” drivers include teenagers and young adults, as well as people with a recent history of traffic violations. Nonstandard drivers pay the highest rates, because insurance companies consider them high risk.
  • Consider purchasing an umbrella policy for added liability protection. Umbrella policies can cover some medical and property obligations if you exceed the limits of your liability coverage.
  • If insurance companies deny your applications for coverage, ask an insurance agent if you qualify for the Automobile Insurance Plan of Oregon, which provides coverage for high-risk drivers through the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans.

Best car insurance companies in Oregon

J.D. Power and Associates produces an annual report that rates car insurance companies using a 5-star system. The study focuses on six categories, including billing process and policy information, claims handling, customer interaction, overall customer satisfaction, policy offerings and pricing.  The top five Northwest region insurance companies in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study include:

  1. PEMCO Insurance, with 5-star ratings in all categories.
  2. USAA, which also scored five stars in all categories.
  3. The Hartford, which earned four stars in most categories and five stars for billing process and policy information and claims handling.
  4. American Family Insurance, which earned four stars in the billing process and policy information, overall customer satisfaction and policy offerings categories.
  5. State Farm, which earned three stars in most categories and four stars for customer interaction.

A.M. Best Rating Services rates insurance companies based on their financial strength and creditworthiness. Best gives USAA and State Farm an A++ (Superior) rating, its highest award. American Family earned an A (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best and PEMCO received a B++ (Good) rating. A.M. Best does not offer a rating for The Hartford.

Finding the right cheap car insurance in Oregon for you

When searching for the best car insurance Oregon drivers need to consider factors that may impact rates. Insurance companies rate policy prices based on a driver’s age, driving record, credit score and location, among other factors. According to The Zebra, a private organization that tracks insurance prices, Nationwide Insurance offers the best rates for people who are good drivers, with policyholders paying an average annual premium of around $640.

On average, Oregon drivers with low credit scores pay around $1,330 more per year for car insurance. The average annual rate for people with the worst credit can exceed $2,700 per year, so it pays to shop around if you fit into this category of nonstandard drivers. Based on The Zebra’s research, Country Financial offers the most affordable car insurance for people with poor credit, with annual premiums costing around $1,300.

Young people and folks with traffic accidents and speeding tickets on their driving records often pay through the nose for car insurance. For students age 16 to 25, Progressive comes out on top, with average 6-month premiums running around $855. Nationwide offers 6-month premium rates of around $990, the lowest among major companies, for people with at-fault accidents on their records.

Average car insurance costs in Oregon

In 2016, Oregonians paid an average of $622 for liability car insurance, $239 for collision coverage and $97 for comprehensive insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That adds up to nearly $880 per year.

In its 2019 Oregon car insurance survey, The Zebra breaks down the insurance costs of driving in Oregon. Insurers offering the lowest annual car insurance premiums include:

Driving safely and avoiding speeding tickets can help you save money on insurance premiums. According to The Zebra, Oregonians with:

  • No traffic tickets save nearly 20%.
  • No accidents save more than 36%.
  • Good credit save more than 49%.

People aged 16 to 25 typically pay higher rates for car insurance. And in Oregon, teenagers pay around $300 more per year than their peers in other states. But when parents add their kids to their car insurance policy, they often can save thousands of dollars. For instance, a 16-year-old Oregon teen on a stand-alone policy pays an average annual car premium of nearly $7,650, compared to more than $5,300 paid by a teen on a parent’s policy. Rates for teens do not start to drop considerably until they reach 19.

Nonstandard drivers typically pay much higher rates than preferred drivers do. Drivers with:

  • At-fault accidents on their records pay an average annual rate of around $2,120.
  • DUI convictions pay an average annual rate of nearly $2,500.
  • Speeding violations pay an average annual rate of nearly $1,700.
  • Bad credit pay an average annual rate of more than $2,660.

Auto insurance discounts in Oregon

Car insurance companies offer discounts to help you reduce your premium rate. Discounts vary by company, so ask about them when you shop for coverage. State Farm offers policyholders discounts for:

  • Maintaining an accident-free driving record for three or more years.
  • Completing a driver training program. Only drivers under 21 years of age can qualify for this discount.
  • Students under the age of 25 who make the Dean’s List.
  • People who insure more than one vehicle with State Farm.

Oregonians can earn discounts with 21st Century Insurance if they:

  • Install anti-theft devices on their vehicle.
  • Own cars equipped with safety devices such as air bags.
  • Own a home.

Farmers Insurance rewards customers with discounts if they:

  • Own vehicles that use alternative fuels, such as hybrid or electric cars.
  • Use electronic funds transfer to pay their premiums.
  • Pay their entire premium in a single payment.

State minimum insurance requirements in Oregon

Oregon requires car owners to have a liability insurance policy that covers:

  • At least $25,000 for the bodily injury or death to one person.
  • At least $50,000 for the bodily injury or death of more than one person.
  • At least $20,000 to cover property damage.
  • Personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest car insurance in Oregon?

Car insurance rates vary, based on factors such as age, credit score and driving record. However, according to The Zebra, Grange Auto Insurance offers the most affordable overall rates in Oregon.

What do I need to get car insurance in Oregon?

To get a quote for car insurance Oregon insurance agents need to know about your driving history, where you live, your credit score, your age and the type of car you want to insure.

Does Oregon require car owners to have insurance?

Oregon requires auto owners to carry liability insurance, as well as personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage.

Should I add my teenagers to my car insurance policy or get them separate policies?

Oregon teens can pay thousands of dollars more for car insurance on a stand-alone policy. To save money, it is best to add your teen drivers to your policy.