Whether buying auto insurance for the first time or the fifteenth, you’ll want to do your research first. Not only should you make sure that you’re up to speed on your state’s requirements, but you should also shop around to ensure that you get the best coverage at the best possible price.
There are a few specific things that you should keep in mind if you’re looking to purchase car insurance in Oregon. This state has some unique rules and regulations, in addition to coverage options that you might not find elsewhere.
Luckily, we have done the homework for you. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Oregon auto insurance, what you need in order to be a legal driver, and the companies that can best provide you with coverage. While price is probably a big consideration, we also dive into things like customer satisfaction ratings and financial stability, so you know that your insurance company will be there for you if you ever need them.
So with that said, let’s jump into what you need to know about buying auto insurance coverage in Oregon, what you can expect to pay, and who offers the best policies.
Compare Car Insurance Plans in Oregon
Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Oregon
You have many auto insurance providers to choose from in Oregon. But whether you’re a brand new driver or have been on the roads for decades, you want to be sure that you choose the right company for coverage.
While your own preferences and experience may impact the choices that make the most sense for you, some insurance companies are simply better than others. This is why we have decided to rank our favorites in the state, and give you a place to start.
Based on quotes, consumer ratings, financial stability, and even popularity, here are our top picks for auto insurance in Oregon:
- Best Overall Satisfaction: American Family
- Best Customer Service: PEMCO
- Lowest Premiums: Liberty Mutual
- Great If You Have a Perfect Record: MileAuto
- Best If You Have a Less-Than-Perfect Record: Esurance
Oregon Auto Insurance Requirements
Legal requirements for minimum auto insurance coverage from one state to the next. Without this coverage, you are considered an uninsured (or underinsured) driver… which means you’re driving illegally each time you get behind the wheel.
In Oregon, you are required to carry a certain level of bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage. You’ll need to have valid insurance with these limits (or greater) every single time you drive a vehicle within the Beaver State.
Let’s take a look at each type of coverage and what they mean.
If you’re in an auto accident, there are two types of damage that can be caused. These include bodily injury and personal property damage.
As the name implies, bodily injury liability coverage is intended to cover a driver or passenger’s, well, bodily injuries following a car crash for which you’re held responsible. This coverage will pay for another person’s injury-related expenses, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgeries, and therapy. If more than one person is injured in the same accident, your policy’s liability coverage will be split between all parties, up to the maximum amount purchased.
On the other hand, we have personal property coverage. This is intended to replace or repair damages caused to someone else’s property, during an accident for which you are considered responsible. Property damage can include things like vehicles, buildings, structures, signage, and more.
Next is personal injury protection, or PIP. This coverage is intended for you, the driver, and your passengers. It protects you if you are injured in an accident regardless of fault; if the other driver is at-fault, this coverage will kick in after their liability coverage pays out. PIP coverage can also protect you if you’re injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle or even as a pedestrian, and can provide coverage for things like lost wages or household expenses while you recover.
Lastly, we have uninsured motorist coverage. This is insurance that you buy for yourself as a safety net. If you are in an accident where another driver is at-fault but they are uninsured or underinsured, this coverage will kick in to still protect you.
While Oregon requires you to purchase a minimum amount of each type of coverage, you’re actually able to buy more that than if you so choose. Depending on your assets, comfort level, and other factors, you may want to raise the limits of your auto insurance coverage to provide additional protection.
Regardless, though, here are the coverage minimums you are required to have:
|Bodily Damage Liability|
|Death or injury of one person in any one accident||$25,000 minimum|
|Death or injury of 2+ people in any one accident||$50,000 minimum|
|Property Damage Liability||$20,000 minimum|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||$10,000 minimum|
|Per crash for bodily injury||$50,000|
Failing to carry a valid auto insurance policy each time you drive makes you an uninsured driver. And uninsured drivers are illegal drivers, who can face serious penalties if caught.
You’ll be asked to provide proof of insurance when renewing your vehicle’s title, during a traffic stop, or after an accident, among other situations. If you are unable to provide proof of valid coverage, you will be cited (given a ticket).
If the problem is not having an insurance card on you, you can go to the court to provide proof of coverage and typically get your citation reduced or dismissed. However, if you truly don’t have valid coverage, you could be in a lot of trouble.
In Oregon, the penalty for maintaining minimum coverage includes a fine ranging from $130 to $1,000 (subsequent offenses will usually cost you more). Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year, and you’ll need to provide proof of coverage to request it back.
You’ll also be required to purchase and carry SR-22 insurance for up to three years following the conviction (more about that below).
While getting a citation for not having auto insurance coverage can be inconvenient and expensive, it’s not the worst thing that could happen. Getting in an accident is.
If you’re in an accident and the other driver is at fault, you’ll still likely be cited for lack of insurance coverage. This means a fine and (likely) losing your license. If you are injured, you may even be limited on damages you’re able to receive from the other driver’s insurance company if you were uninsured at the time of the accident.
However, if you’re in an accident and you are at fault–but don’t have adequate insurance coverage–the impact could be devastating.
You’ll likely be sued for personal injury and property damage expenses, which can easily total into the tens of thousands of dollars. If you cannot pay the other driver’s bills, they can come after certain assets, and even garnish your future wages. Not to mention, you’ll also need to pay out of pocket for your own medical bills or property damage, if applicable.
Proof of Insurance
Buying auto insurance is the first step. Carrying proof of that coverage on you every time you drive a vehicle is the second step.
Proof of insurance can come in the form of a physical card, printable PDF, or even a digital insurance card via an app. It will include identifying information such as the name of you and any other covered drivers, your policy number, dates that your policy is valid, and your covered vehicle(s).
In many cases, a law enforcement officer will be able to access your insurance status through a state database. This means that even if you cannot provide proof of coverage when asked, they will still be able to see whether or not you have said coverage. Even still, you are required by law to carry this on you every time you get behind the wheel, so be sure to have a physical card or access to a digital copy whenever you drive.
Average Cost of Coverage in Oregon
According to data provided by QuoteWizard, Oregon drivers pay $828.03 for auto insurance coverage annually. But how does that measure up to the rest of the country?
Across the U.S., the average annual premiums for auto insurance run $889.01. Oregon falls below this national average, making it a more affordable state in which to buy coverage.
Broken down further, we see that drivers in the Beaver State are paying an average of $584.13 per year on liability coverage alone. This is the state-mandated coverage that every driver is required to have, and includes bodily injury, personal property, PIP, and uninsured motorist.
Beyond that, Oregon drivers also pay an average of $226.83 for collision coverage and $93.87 per year in comprehensive coverage. In all, drivers in this state are paying around $69 per month in premiums.
|Total Cost Per Year||$828.03|
|Price Per Month||$69.00|
Now, it’s important to remember that the amount you will pay for auto insurance coverage could be very different. There are many factors involved in calculating your premiums, such as your age, your driving record, your address, your vehicle, your credit, and even your level of education.
Because of that, it’s important to shop around until you find the right insurance policy from the right company at the right price.
Cheapest Car Insurance in Oregon
Yes, I know… a good number of readers are here primarily to see where they can buy the most affordable auto insurance policy in Oregon. And hey, I don’t blame you! Why not save money where and when you can?
However, making a blanket statement about the “cheapest” insurance company is misleading because the results will vary for each driver. The companies offering affordable quotes for you might be the most expensive for your neighbor, and vice versa.
With that said, we wanted to at least try to answer the question. To do so, we used a sample driver to see which company regularly showed up as the most competitive option.
Our driver is 30-years-old, drives a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, and lives in Independence, OR. He has a clean driving record, good credit, and graduated from college. Here’s a look at how each company measured up when offering him a quote.
|Insurance Company||Annual Premium|
Now, here’s what it would look like if our sample guy lived in Lake Oswego instead:
|Insurance Company||Annual Premium|
Your own results may vary based on your personal factors, driving history, and your own location. However, if you live in Oregon, you might want to consider looking at Liberty Mutual and Esurance, as they might be your cheapest options.
Cost of Auto Insurance in Oregon
Some readers might be wondering, How much does auto insurance cost in Oregon? Unfortunately, the answer to that question relies on many variables, so it is impossible to answer in an article such as this.
Insurance premiums are affected by things like:
- Marital status
- Driving record
- Credit report
- Vehicle(s) covered
- Whether your vehicle is financed, leased, or paid in full
- ZIP code
- Whether you own or rent your home
- Miles driven each year and the purpose of those miles (work commute, pleasure, etc.)
- How much coverage is desired
Because of this, I simply can’t tell you how much insurance costs in this state–at least, not without knowing your own personal factors and preferences.
As we already mentioned, though, the average across the entire state (and including various levels of coverage) is just over $828. So, you can probably expect to be somewhere on either side of that number.
I’m sure you want to narrow that number down a bit more, though. That way, you have a better idea of how much you can expect to pay personally each year for liability coverage.
In an effort to accomplish this, we created four new sample drivers. They each represent a different type of insurance customer; while you aren’t likely a perfect match for any of them, there is probably one that you relate to more than the others.
By focusing on that driver, you can at least get a better idea of which companies may better meet your needs while being nice to your budget. You may even get a strong idea of what you can expect to pay in premiums each year.
Each of our four sample drivers lives in Salem, OR (zip code 97302). We chose this city because it’s on the lower end of average when it comes to the cost of auto insurance across the state. Keep in mind that if you live in a city like Sandy or Troutdale, you’re probably going to pay a lot more.
For this experiment, we have:
- Little Timmy: A high-risk driver stereotype, Timmy is 22, in college, and drives a 2012 Impala. He got two speeding tickets last year, has decent credit, and drives about 15,000 miles each year.
- John and Jane Smith: The parents next door, John and Jane are both 42-year-old college grads. They have a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox and a 2014 Toyota Sienna, drive about 16,000 miles a year each and have great credit. Jane had a little fender bender last year, though.
- Straight-Laced Sally: College grad Sally is 35 and single with excellent credit and a 2010 Camry. She drives around 10,000 miles a year and owns her condo.
- Grandpa Joe: Sweet and 65 years young, Grandpa Joe still drives his 1998 Civic about 8,000 miles a year. He has a clean driving record, good credit, a college degree, and owns his home.
Which one of these drivers (if any) is closest to you personally? Is there one that you relate to more than the others, even if it’s just due to a handful of factors?
Let’s see how they measure up in regards to state-mandated liability coverage (quotes provided by thezebra.com).
|Little Timmy||John & Jane Smith||Straight-Laced Sally||Grandpa Joe|
|Dairyland Insurance||$320||$186||$131||not given|
|Metromile||not given||not given||$80||$47|
|MileAuto||not given||not given||$75||$44|
As you probably already expected, Timmy — with his two speeding tickets and young age — will pay considerably more for coverage than anyone else. John and Jane Smith are also paying quite a bit, which may be due to factors such as Jane’s accident last year.
While there are so many considerations that go into auto insurance premiums, accidents and citations certainly play a role, followed by things like age.
Oregon’s Unique Car Insurance Rules
Each state is just a bit different from the next when it comes to auto insurance requirements. Beyond their unique minimum coverage limits, though, there are a few rules of which you should be aware, especially when driving in Oregon.
Following a DUI/DWI, a very bad accident (in which someone is seriously injured or killed), or even after being caught driving without valid liability coverage, you may be required to obtain an SR-22.
An SR-22 certificate is proof of high-risk coverage. Many states require an SR-22 to be carried for a number of years after certain violations occur. In order to obtain one, though, you’ll need to buy pricey coverage with an insurance company that acknowledges your high-risk status.
Credit is a Factor
Not all states will allow your credit score to be taken into consideration when buying auto insurance. Oregon, however, does.
Good credit typically means that you are responsible with your finances and, hopefully, other areas of your life. To an auto insurer, this increases the chance that you’ll be responsible behind the wheel, too. Conversely, poor credit may indicate a lack of responsible behavior, which makes you a higher risk to insure.
While insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on your credit score alone–or raise renewal premiums due to credit factors–it can be taken into consideration when offering you an initial quote.
This might be even more motivation to improve your credit score, regardless of where you stand!
So is Location
You can move 500 miles, 50 miles, or half a mile down the road … your auto insurance is likely to change. In fact, your location is one of the biggest factors when calculating the cost of your coverage, and moving from one ZIP code to the next can seriously shift your premiums.
Cities like Ontario and La Grande have some of the lowest average premiums in the state of Oregon, whereas cities like Portland and Gresham have some of the highest around.
If you have trouble buying state-mandated auto insurance coverage in Oregon, you may be eligible to apply for the Automobile Insurance Plan of Oregon, or AIPO. This state coverage program helps drivers who are unable to get a policy in the voluntary market due to previous accidents, citations, DUIs, or other factors.
Oregon’s program is one of a handful of states that make up the Western Association Automobile Insurance Plans. If you need auto insurance and cannot find coverage elsewhere, this association will assign you to an insurer within their network.
This will ensure access to minimum coverage, but keep in mind that you’ll probably pay a premium for it. Also, different states have their own requirements regarding policy renewals; if your insurer does not offer to renew your policy and you still cannot find voluntary market coverage, you’ll need to contact the WAAIP again to be reentered into their assigned pool.
Top Car Insurance Companies in Oregon
Curious about the most popular auto insurance companies in Oregon? Here is a look at the top five, and how much of the state market each one holds.
The highest market share is held by State Farm, with 18% of insured drivers, then Farmers with 12.9% of the market. Third place is Progressive–which is actually a combination of both Progressive Classic and Progressive Universal–with 9% overall. Fourth place is Safeco with 5.9% and fifth is American Family insurance with only 3.6% of the market.
Together, these five companies are responsible for insuring almost half the drivers in the entire state of Oregon.
If you ever need to file an auto claim, you won’t care which company was the most popular; you’ll be concerned with their customer satisfaction and reliability.
To determine these, we looked at ratings from A.M. Best and JD Power–two trusted consumer affairs companies. This allowed us to only see how customers view these companies, but also how these insurance companies compare to one another in terms of their financial security.
This company is the biggest auto insurance provider in the state of Oregon. Here’s a look at their ratings in customer satisfaction and stability:
- A.M. Best: A++ for financial strength rating and aa+ for long-term credit issuer rating
- JD Power: #4 in the region with a 3-star rating in overall satisfaction
Next up is Farmers with 13% of the Oregon market.
- A.M. Best: A for financial strength rating and A for long-term credit issuer rating
- JD Power: #5 in the region with a 3-star rating in overall satisfaction
This third-place market-share holder is actually two divisions combined into one. Though they cover a large number of drivers, they are not very highly-ranked by JD Power.
- A.M. Best: A+ for financial strength rating and AA for long-term credit issuer rating
- JD Power: #10 in the region with a 2-star overall satisfaction rating
As the fourth-largest insurer in the state, Safeco falls in the middle of the road for ratings.
- A.M. Best: A for financial strength rating and BBB+ for long-term credit issuer rating
- JD Power: #9 with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Don’t let American Family’s modest market share fool you–this insurance company ranks higher than all of the others listed here on JD Power’s satisfaction ratings and has good A.M. Best rankings to boot.
- A.M. Best: A for financial strength rating and A+ for long-term credit issuer rating
- JD Power: #3 in the state with a 4-star overall satisfaction rating
We tried to make this guide as helpful and comprehensive as possible, and hope you are now up to speed on all things Oregon auto insurance.
However, if you want to know more about driving legally in this state, requirements for you as a driver, or state-provided resources, you can check out the Oregon.gov site.
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