Oregon Auto Insurance Rules

Portland, Oregon

Oregon is one of the nation’s safer states to drive in, with a particularly low rate of alcohol-related fatalities and a high rate of auto insurance coverage. Nevertheless, when an accident does occur, insurance issues loom large, especially if the accident can be clearly identified as one party’s fault. 

Following is an outline of Oregon’s auto insurance rules: 

Oregon’s “Fault” Auto Insurance System

Oregon is a “fault” auto insurance state. This means that, unlike the dozen or so “no-fault” states, you can claim liability against a driver you believe is at fault in either of two ways (or both) — by asserting a claim against his liability insurance carrier, or by suing him in an Oregon state court. If you hold an insurance policy that will allow you to file a claim in this situation (such as certain health insurance or auto insurance policies), you can try this option as well, as long as you don’t end up with a cumulative recovery that exceeds the value of your claim.

Mandatory Liability Insurance Coverage

In Oregon, you must purchase auto liability insurance with the following coverage limits before you will be allowed to drive legally on public roads:

  • $25,000 per victim in personal injury damages,
  • $50,000 in personal injury damages per accident, regardless of how many injured victims there are
  • $10,000 per accident for damage to property (typically a vehicle but perhaps other property as well).

Such a policy would pay up to $60,000 per accident — $50,000 for personal injury and $10,000 for property damage. Many Oregon drivers purchase liability insurance coverage with payout limits that far exceed these legal minimums.  

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist insurance will pay out if you have an accident that was caused by an uninsured driver, while underinsured motorist coverage will pay out if the value of your claim exceeds the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy limits. Oregon requires its motorists to carry both of these two types of insurance, with coverage limits of $25,000 per injured victim and $50,000 per injury accident. There is no coverage for property damage

Other types of insurance coverage are available that will cover your own losses if you are willing to pay additional premiums.

Penalties for Failure to Carry Appropriate Insurance 

Oregon applies the following penalties to drivers who fail to maintain minimum liability insurance:

  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license
  • Possible suspension of your car’s registration (so that no one can drive it during the suspension period)

Statute of Limitations

In Oregon, you have until the day before the second anniversary of the accident to file a bodily injury lawsuit, and six years from the same date to file a vehicle damage lawsuit. If you are a qualifying relative of the victim of a fatal accident, you have three years from the victim’s date of death (as listed on the victim’s death certificate) to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Don’t miss the statute of limitations deadline, because your claim will expire if you do.

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