The exact laws regulating car insurance can be confusing for many reasons. And one of the simplest reasons is this: The laws can be very different from state to state!
Like other states, Oregon has special laws that govern how much car insurance you must have, whether you have to report accidents you see, and what the penalties are like for driving without insurance. And Oregon also has the final say on which factors your car insurance carrier may examine to determine the cost of your premium.
Keep reading to discover the most important car insurance laws in Oregon!
What Are the Mandatory Car Insurance Requirements in Oregon?
Earlier, we mentioned how much the average cost of car insurance is for those who have only purchased minimum car insurance. That brings us to the next big question: What are the mandatory car insurance requirements in the state of Oregon?
Like most states, Oregon requires that drivers have liability insurance. Such insurance will only pay out when you are liable for an accident, and it will only pay to cover the personal and property damage that you cause.
Oregon also takes it a step further and mandates that drivers have personal injury protection coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. PIP insurance provides additional coverage for those injured in your vehicle during an accident while uninsured motorist coverage helps can protect you in the event that a driver who causes an accident does not have car insurance.
Below, we have a breakdown of how much of each kind of coverage you are legally required to have. Keep in mind that you can always get more coverage to give yourself additional protection.
Required Insurance Amounts:
Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 total
Property damage liability: $25,000
Personal injury protection: $15,000 per person
Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 total
What Factors Does Oregon Law Allow in Determining Your Premiums?
Earlier, we touched on the fact that car insurance carriers can use where you live as a factor to determine the cost of your car insurance. But what are the other factors they are allowed to use?
In Oregon, carriers are legally allowed to examine a number of driving factors and personal factors when setting the price for your car insurance. Here are the factors allowed in the state:
- Credit history
- Driving history
- Employment status
- Marital status
- Insurance history
- Zip code
You can personally change some of these factors over time, including your credit score and your home address. Alerting your carrier of these changes may ultimately reduce your car insurance bill each month.
What Is the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Oregon?
Now you know the minimum level of car insurance coverage required by the state of Oregon. But what will happen to you in the state if you are caught driving with no insurance whatsoever?
First, you must pay a fine. This fine can range from a minimum of $130 to a maximum of $1,000 at the discretion of the court (though not all cases make it to the court). Additionally, your car may be impounded and your registration suspended. You may also lose your license for one year or until you can prove you have met the insurance requirements for the state.
The court may require you to get and maintain an SR-22 form for a minimum of three years. This form certifies that you have met the insurance requirements of the state and will likely increase your premium.
Finally, you may be subject to many fees, including reinstatement fees, SR-22 fees, insurance verification fees, and impoundment retrieval fees. But all of this may pale in comparison to the money you owe for personal and property damage that you cause while driving without insurance!
Am I Required to Report an Accident in Oregon to Authorities?
When it comes to car insurance, here is a bit of irony: You need car insurance to help protect you in the event of an accident. However, filing a claim for an accident almost always causes your rates to go up. This is why some drivers hesitate to report accidents and file claims for minor fender-benders because they think the cost of repair will be lower than the cost of an increased rate spread out over months and years.
However, drivers are required to report accidents in some states. So what do the Oregon laws have to say about reporting car accidents?
In short, you must report accidents to the DMV in the following cases:
- If someone dies
- If the accident causes an injury
- If any vehicle has to be towed away
- If property damage (including damage to any vehicles) is more than $1,500
After you report an accident to the DMV, they will contact your insurance company. However, if the accident does not meet any of the above criteria, you do not have to report it.