If your driving record includes traffic tickets or accidents, you may be considered a high risk driver, and consequently have difficulty finding auto insurance in the “voluntary” market. “Voluntary” is the insurance industry term for the regular insurance market where insurers opt to cover drivers who they think are less likely to get into accidents. If you are denied coverage in the voluntary market, your “insurer of last resort” is the Automobile Insurance Plan of Oregon. They will arrange for you to obtain coverage. In Oregon – the “Beaver” state – all drivers must have liability auto insurance coverage in the minimum amounts of 25/50/20, coverage against uninsured motorists for 25/50, as well as Personal Injury Protection of $15,000.
What is the Automobile Insurance Plan of Oregon? (OR AIP)
The first thing to know about the OR AIP is that it is not an insurance company. It is an organization that allots high-risk drivers to existing Oregon auto insurers, based on the amount of policies that each company writes in the state. So for example, if Farmers Insurance Company has 10% of the auto insurance market in Oregon, then Farmers Insurance will be assigned 10% of the high risk drivers by the OR AIP. What this means for you is that you will get coverage, but you won’t necessarily be assigned to the insurer you want.
By means of this Plan, Oregon gets the maximum number of insured drivers on the road, while managing the potential losses they generate across all the insurers in the state.
Oregon AIP Eligibility
To be eligible for auto coverage through the OR AIP, you must be a licensed driver and have a vehicle registered in Oregon. In addition, you must certify on your insurance application that you have tried and failed to find coverage in the voluntary insurance market within the last 60 days. Any licensed insurer in Oregon can help you fill out the application, which you must make in good faith. That means fill it out accurately and completely.
You may NOT be eligible for coverage – even through the OR AIP – if you have an unpaid auto insurance premium, have failed to present your car for inspection by an authorized insurance representative, or if your car is an antique (over 25 years old). The good news is, if you pay the outstanding premium and/or present your car for inspection, you can apply to the OR AIP immediately. However, if your vehicle is an antique, you will have to find coverage through a specialized auto insurance company, not the OR AIP.
Oregon AIP Coverages
Oregon coverages for high risk drivers are mostly the same as for drivers in the regular insurance market – they just may cost more. Note that you’d be wise to consider getting more than the minimum coverages in order to protect yourself and your assets. Talk to your insurance agent about what levels of coverage are appropriate for your situation.
Once you receive a policy through the OR AIP, you will be covered for 3 years. This is a good time to focus on improving your driving habits, so that you build a clean record and become eligible for lower insurance premiums. Note that if you remain a high risk driver after 3 years, you may reapply for insurance through the OR AIP. If you are eligible for coverage, you will get it, but it may be with a different insurer.
The mandatory minimum coverages are shown in the table below. If you pay a higher premium, you can get higher amounts of coverage.
|Oregon Required Min. Limits||OR AIP Maximum Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$20,000 per accident||$50,000 per accident|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||$15,000 per person per accident||$15,000 per person per accident|
|Uninsured Motorist BI (UMBI)||25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||As high as, but not higher, than your BI limits|
There are also optional coverages that your assigned insurer may or may not offer you. One of the most important of these is Physical Damage (Collision and Comprehensive). You will have to bring your car for inspection so that the insurance company can determine a choice of coverage levels and premiums. You cannot choose a coverage limit for Comprehensive and Collision coverage, but rather you choose a deductible amount from among the choices of $100, $200, or $250. The coverage limits are equal to the actual cash value of your car, up to a maximum of $25,000 per accident. Another optional coverage is Uninsured Motorist Property Damage. You may buy up to $20,000 worth of PD coverage, with a $300 deductible, to protect your property from damage caused by uninsured drivers.
Click on the coverage names to learn more about them:
The state of Oregon is unusual in requiring drivers who are convicted of driving under the Influence (DUI) to carry limits of $50,000/100,000 bodily injury and $20,000 property damage. This will definitely increase your auto insurance premiums - yet another reason not to drink and drive!
Oregon AIP Premiums and Payment Plans
According to Oregon’s Division of Insurance, premiums for high risk drivers through the OR AIP are generally higher than those that are available in the voluntary market. This is because years and years of insurance claims data shows that high risk drivers tend to get into more accidents and therefore cost more to insure than average drivers. It pays to understand how auto insurers evaluate drivers, so that over time you may improve your driving record and qualify for lower rates in Oregon.
Once you are assigned an insurer through the OR AIP, you will have your choice of payment options. You may choose to pay the full annual premium up front, with your application, and be done with it. Or you may pay 40% of the annual premium as a deposit, and the remaining 60% within 30 days. The third option is to pay 40% of the annual premium as a deposit and the rest in 5 monthly installments. If you choose the installment plan, you will also pay a $4 installment charge per month.
If you choose an installment plan, be sure to make your monthly payments on time. A late payment is grounds to cancel your insurance policy, and without insurance you can’t legally drive. So stay on top of this!
How Do I Get Insurance through the Oregon AIP?
Oregon’s Division of Insurance refers you to a provider called the Western Association Automobile Insurance Plans at 800-227-4659 for information about the OR AIP. Approach any licensed insurance agent in Oregon, and they can answer your questions and help you to apply.
You may also call the Oregon Division of Insurance at 1-888-877-4894.