Oregon Car Insurance Requirements
In terms of car insurance laws, the state of Oregon works on a fault-based system. That’s surprising when you consider the fact that the Oregon statute requires drivers to carry not only liability insurance, but also personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. PIP and the UM are usually the domain of no-fault states. Nonetheless, if you want to drive legally in Oregon you must have a car insurance policy in place.
You can purchase cheap car insurance from any company licensed to sell policies in the state. That policy can be just enough to meet state minimums or one to which you’ve added extra coverages like collision and comprehensive. It’s up to you, as long as you meet state minimums.
In Oregon on those state minimums are:
- $10,000 per accident to cover property damage
- $25,000 per accident to cover injuries or death of a single victim
- $50,000 per accident to cover injuries or death of multiple victims
- $25,000/$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- $15,000 per accident of personal injury protection
The uninsured/underinsured motorist component works the same way as the bodily injury/death component. The only difference is that bodily injury and death liability covers people you harm. The UM component covers you if you’re harmed by someone who has little or no insurance.
Maintaining Proof of Insurance
Whether you purchase a cheap car insurance policy or the most expensive one, Oregon law requires you to maintain proof of that coverage and carry in your vehicle at all times. You have several ways to accomplish this including a carrier issued ID card, a physical copy of your insurance policy, or a signed letter from your insurance company or agent (on official letterhead).
Oregon utilizes several enforcement procedures to ensure they keep as many uninsured drivers off the road as possible. The most common enforcement measure is simply verification of insurance by police officers during traffic stops and accident investigations.
In addition to police officer verification the state also conducts routine audits of Oregon drivers on a random basis. If you are the subject of a routine audit you will receive a notice in the mail requesting you to send a copy of your insurance proof back to the state. As long as you have that proof you’re good to go. If not, you’ll have to get a policy right away and pay the fines due.
Insurance violations in Oregon carry a variety of penalties including fines, license and registration suspensions, and SR-22 requirements. You’re better off not finding out what those penalties are by simply buying car insurance and maintaining it as long as your car is registered.