To legally drive in Oregon, you must carry auto insurance in the amount mandated by the Financial Responsibility Law. That means purchasing liability and uninsured motorist insurance in the amount of 25/50/20, as well as no-fault insurance of $15,000. However, note that Oregon is not a no-fault state (covered under Personal Injury Protection).
The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) enforces the law through a verification program. Every month, it randomly selects vehicle registrations and asks the selected owners to provide their insurer’s name and policy number. If the DMV is unable to find your insurance information in the Automobile Liability Insurance Reporting (ALIR) system, you will be asked to submit proof of insurance. Alternatively, when a law enforcement officer pulls you over, a copy of your insurance ID card or a copy of your policy will suffice.
|Oregon Required Car Insurance Coverage||OR Required Min. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$20,000 per accident|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||$15,000 per person|
|Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
Oregon Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
You can fulfill your financial responsibility duty in Oregon by purchasing a policy that includes bodily injury, property damage, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage. They have to meet the minimum coverage amounts (limits):
Bodily Injury (BI): if you cause an accident in Oregon, your insurer pays out up to $25,000 for each person injured, and up to a total of $50,000 per accident for two or more people. For any medical expenses you are responsible for, BI pays in your place, up to the purchased limits.
Property Damage (PD): up to $20,000 per accident for any property damage you are at fault for in the crash. Things that fall under your PD include repair costs for the other driver’s car damage, or public properties such as mailbox and fences.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): also called no-fault insurance, PIP pays for your medical expenses when you are injured in a car-related accident, regardless of fault. The minimum PIP coverage will cover you up to $15,000 per accident. Under this limit, you also have these benefits:
- Income Loss: in case your injuries prevent you from working, you can claim up to 70% of the wages that you could have earned, subject to a maximum of $3,000 per month.
- Essential Services: even if you are unemployed at the time of accident, if the injuries are serious enough and prevented you from performing any essential daily activities (for example, house chores, taking care of family, and etc.) you are entitled to as much as $30 a day. However, note that it won’t cover the first two weeks of your disability.
- Funeral Benefit: this benefit kicks in when a covered person (for example, the policyholder or a household family member) dies from the accident. Your OR insurer will pay up to $5,000 for funeral and burial expenses, on top of the $15,000 limit.
Despite the PIP or no-fault coverage, Oregon is not considered a no-fault state. In other words, even with PIP coverage, you still retain full rights to sue the negligent driver for compensation of your loss. In other states, such as New York, you can only sue for economic losses such as lost wages and extra medical expenses. In Oregon, you can take the other party to court for both these quantifiable bills, as well as intangible harm like pain and suffering.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): up to $25,000 per injured person in your car, up to a total of $50,000 per accident if there were more than one person injured, UMBI is your defense against uninsured drivers. UMBI pays for your medical expenses up to the purchased limits in place of the uninsured motorist’s insurer – as if she or he had been insured in the first place. You can purchase UMBI in higher limits – however, availability varies by insurer. Note that your UMBI limits should never be higher than your BI on the same policy.
Optional Coverage in Oregon
Most insurance agents and government officials in the Beaver State will tell you that the bare minimum auto insurance will not fully cover you. Apart from purchasing higher limits, you may also want to consider including one of the following optional types of coverage to make up a more comprehensive policy:
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): Oregon motorists have the option to include UMPD into their policy. While UMBI covers your medical bills in case the at-fault driver is not properly insured, UMPD covers your property damage. This would cover taking your car to an auto body shop, and paying for a mechanic's labor and vehicle parts. Higher limits are available, as long as you also have higher PD limits. Your UMPD coverage amount can't be higher than your PD’s.
Physical Damage: physical damage insurance includes two coverages: collision and comprehensive coverage. In short, they take care of your car’s repair, covering damage from collision accidents to fallen tree branches, regardless of fault. There will be a deductible amount for each of these coverages. A deductible is the a portion of the expense that you agree to pay out-of-pocket before your insurer comes in, and the deductible amount you select will affect your coverage premiums.