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In the State of Oregon, driving without insurance is prohibited as ordered in statute §806.010. The law requires all registered drivers to own vehicle liability policies whenever they're on the road. Failure to do so will result in costly consequences as well as cancelled driving privileges. Breaking the law also subjects motorists to monthly monitoring by Oregon's Department of Transportation for three years.
Type of Penalty
|First and Subsequent Offenses|
|$260 Presumptive Fine; in case of court, $130 - $1,000 fines|
|License & registration suspension, possible vehicle impoundment|
|SR-22 for 3 years|
|Proof of compliance for monthly insurance verification for 3 years|
Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Oregon
As an Oregon driver, you are required to have liability coverage with the minimum split limits of 25/50/20. Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured Motorists coverage must also be included in your liability policy for your complete financial protection in the event of an accident.
A collision, however, isn’t the only time you’ll need proof of insurance. When you are halted at a checkpoint or pulled over for a minor infraction, you will also need to produce either your current insurance card, your current liability insurance binder, or a signed letter from your insurance agent vouching for your credibility as an insured motorist.
If you can't show the police any of the three, you will be convicted with a Class B violation which is punishable with fines and suspensions, and subjects you to monthly insurance verification (see below). These penalties are the same whether you’ve committed an insurance violation or the first time, or for the second time, and so on.
Fines in Oregon
In Oregon, the minimum financial sentence for driving uninsured is $130. It may escalate to a maximum of $1,000 depending on the situation in which you are caught driving without insurance. Two instances of getting caught driving insured are: getting cited for reckless driving and then were found out to have violated the insurance requirement at the same time; or if you may have caused a crash and failed to produce proof of financial security. If you're required to show up in court, the the court may choose to impose a higher fine on you.
Oregon also has the Presumptive Fine option, which is placed in effect when you decide to enter a Plea of No Contest. This means you are willing to pay to resolve the violation offense. All you need to do is send a written explanation to the court and pay the flat $260 fee. But if the court determines that the presumptive fine falls short in making up for the seriousness of your insurance violation and/or accident, your presence in court will still be required, and your financial sentence could be increased up to the $1,000 maximum.
If you are caught driving uninsured in Oregon, you will face the automatic suspension of your license and the revocation of your registration. Depending on the situation, the police officer may also order your car to be impounded.
Your driving privileges can only be reinstated once your insurance company files an SR-22 as evidence of your future financial responsibility. You must maintain your SR-22 for 3 years. If you are caught driving without insurance while involved in an accident, your license and registration will be suspended for a full year even if you are not at fault for the collision. Your carrier will also be ordered to submit an SR-22 for you, and you'll only be legally allowed to drive when your suspension period ends. If you allow your SR-22 to lapse within the 3 years, your driving privileges will be taken away again.
To reinstate your driving privileges will take some fees. In Oregon, you would need to pay $75 to reinstate for a suspension or revocation. Recovering your impounded vehicle also comes with either an administration fee related to the impoundment, or the towing and storage fees charged by the towing company. The police authority that ordered your impoundment is legally required to send you a written notice within 48 hours of the order, and you should be able to find the specified fee amount in the notice.
To make sure you're meeting the requirements of your SR-22, Oregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) has implemented an insurance verification program to monitor you for 3 years. Every month, you will be called by the ODOT to submit a Proof of Compliance – a receipt that attests that you have been faithfully maintaining your liability coverage since your driving privileges have been restored. Note that failure to make premium payments on time could cause your company to cancel your policy, and consequently your SR-22. This will result in the re-suspension of your license.
Every now and then, the ODOT also calls on motorists without prior insurance violations in order to verify that Oregon’s registered driving population stays insured. When you receive such a call, you will have to submit proof of insurance to the ODOT within 30 days.
Re-applying for Auto Insurance in Oregon
Probably the hardest consequence you would have to endure when you are convicted for driving without insurance is being labeled high-risk. It can be difficult to purchase an Oregon auto insurance policy if carriers aren’t willing to take the risk of covering you. If you find yourself being denied by insurance agencies in the standard market, you will be glad to know that Oregon is part of an association referred to as the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP) that can be a last option. You can ask any insurance agent to assist you in purchasing a policy through the Automobile Insurance Plan of Oregon (OR AIP).