Car Insurance Done the SMARTWAY™

One of the most geographically diverse states in the country, Oregon is teeming with natural beauty and people who love to immerse themselves in it. It’s one of only three states with Pacific coastline, of course, plus there are the dense evergreen forests, deserts, volcanoes, many beautiful bodies of water, and more. Plus, Portland is a trendsetter in urban sustainability for the U.S.

As for the topic at hand—car insurance—Oregonians pay fairly mid-range rates relative to the rest of the country. But there are so many ways to save on the cost of coverage, and we’ll go over a lot of them over the course of this page.

The most important takeaway, though, is that comparison shopping for the lowest quotes on coverage tailored to your vehicle and driver’s lifestyle is the single best way to reduce your policy payments. We offer an innovative, carrier-neutral platform for doing just that. It’s a free, fast, and easy way to connect with quotes from Oregon’s leading auto insurance providers.

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Oregon Auto Insurance Rates

With so many potential insurers, where to turn for the best rates? J.D. Power ranked car insurance companies in the Northwest in 2016 according to a variety of factors, like average premiums, customer satisfaction scores, and policy and payment flexibility. It names the following three carriers the best in the region (see the full list).

  1. PEMCO Insurance
  2. The Harford
  3. GEICO

Of course, it can be a lengthy and tedious process trying to vet all the carriers and collect all those quotes. That’s where SmartFinancial comes in. Just answer a few basic questions and we deliver personalized quotes from many of Oregon’s leading insurance companies for you to compare.

To start now, entirely for free, select your hometown from the list below. If it’s not there, click here instead.

 

Legalities 101

As all states do, Oregon sets its own minimum car insurance coverage requirements. In the state, these include liability coverage, no-fault insurance (also known as personal injury protection, or PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage. More on all this shortly.

These laws are in place to protect you and every other driver from the burdensome and potentially devastating financial consequences of an accident. And by mandating coverage for everyone, it helps keep insurance costs down for everyone.

It’s all in recognition of an unfortunate fact of life: Sooner or later, most motorists are involved in at least one traffic crash. Below is some information about accidents in Oregon.

Oregon Driving Safety

In Oregon, the number one cause of accidents is failure to avoid a vehicle stopped ahead. It’s an important reminder to always maintain a safe following distance and remain alert. Phones away! Also, young and inexperienced drivers ages 15 to 20 are involved in one out of five crashes in the state.

Other leading crash causes in Oregon include failing to yield the right-of-way, running off the road, drifting outside the lane, and driving too fast for conditions. Remember, slow down when it’s raining, foggy, or other conditions limit visibility and vehicle control. Sometimes, the traveling at the posted speed limit is unsafe.

Find more info in the Oregon Department of Transportation’s 2015 Oregon Motor Vehicle Fatal and Injury Traffic Crashes Quick Facts (PDF).

Oregon Driving Safety Stats

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41,675
Number of people injured in a crash in 2015
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445
Number of people killed in a crash in 2015
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60
Number of motorcyclist fatalities in 2015

Driving Green

Oregon and its citizens proudly consider themselves the greenest of the green, and they have lots of initiatives across the state to back it up. Where driving is concerned, various avenues are available to eco-minded residents to save some money for adopting more sustainable practices. To name just a few:

  • Emissions Testing Exemptions

    In those areas of Oregon where emissions testing is required for vehicle registration and renewal, the requirements are waived for drivers of all-electric and low-speed vehicles. Note that most hybrid vehicles aren’t included in this, though

  • Environmentally Friendly Auto Insurance Discounts

    If you’re among the many people in Oregon who limit how many miles you drive by walking, biking, taking public transportation, carpooling, or by other methods, it can pay off! Many car insurance providers licensed in the state offer low-mileage discounts and cheaper pay-as-you-drive options. Also, most give discounts for driving an electric, hybrid, alternative fuel, or economy vehicle.

  • Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Loans

    The State encourages businesses, government entities, school districts, its nine Federally recognized tribes, and other groups to make greater use of alternative fuel vehicles. Through the Oregon Department of Energy’s Energy Loan Program, they can get long-term, fixed-rate loans for this purpose. It can be applied to things like purchasing AFVs or converting existing gasoline and diesel vehicles to run on alternative fuels.

Car Insurance Laws

Being a Minimalist

All motorists in Oregon must obtain an auto insurance policy that meets the following minimum liability coverage requirements: $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident.

They must also purchase at least $25,000 bodily injury per person and $50,000 bodily injury per accident uninsured motorist coverage. And, because Oregon is a no-fault state, drivers also need a minimum of $15,000 per person coverage for personal injury protection (PIP).

Being a no-fault state (as opposed to an at-fault, or tort, state), Oregon mandates PIP coverage. It pays for things like medical bills and lost wages, which state residents can’t seek through another party’s carrier; they must also collect PIP payments before filing any personal injury lawsuits. This system is designed to reduce litigation.

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$ 25,000
Bodily injury coverage per person

Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person

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$ 50,000
Bodily injury coverage per accident

Coverage for multiple people injured in a single accident

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$ 20,000
Property damage per accident

Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you

Maximizing Your Return on Investment

Some people look at auto insurance as just another cost, but others consider it an investment. Accidents happen, and minimum coverage limits required by law aren’t always enough to pay for all the consequences. All sorts of other car problems happen too, many of which aren’t covered by liability and uninsured motorist insurance.

There’s greater peace of mind and plenty of added financial protection to be had by taking out a car insurance policy with higher-than-minimum coverage and optional coverages that make sense for your vehicle and lifestyle. It’s nice to know that your insurance will be there for you no matter the costs incurred or the circumstances that lead to them.

Optional coverage in Oregon

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Medical Payments
  • Gap Coverage
  • New Car Replacement
  • Accident Forgiveness
  • Towing and Labor
  • Custom Equipment
  • Loss of Use
  • Travel Expenses
  • Rental Car

Despite the name, you don’t always have a choice in the matter when it comes to certain optional coverages. Lenders who provide vehicle financing generally require you to purchase extras like comprehensive and collision coverage to protect their own financial interests.

Don’t sweat the added costs of optional coverages! Offset them by reading our post called 12 Things You can Do to Lower Your Auto Insurance Premium.

Oregon car insurance companies

Allstate
American Family
Chubb
Country Financial
Farmers
Foremost
GEICO
Grange
The Hartford
Liberty Mutual
MetLife
PEMCO
Progressive
Safeco
Travelers

*This list of car insurance carriers is based on the ratings for the Northwest region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five key service areas: claims, price, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.

Car Safety for Oregon Kids

Oregon Car Seat Regulations

Appropriate child passenger restraint is essential to safely transporting kids. In Oregon, babies must be in a rear-facing car seat until they’ve reached both 1 year of age and 20 pounds of body weight. After these thresholds, they have to be in a forward-facing car seat until reaching 40 pounds or the upper size limit of the car seat in use.

From this point, they use a belt-positioning booster seat until they are either 4′ 9” tall or 8 years old and able to be properly secured by the vehicle’s built-in seat belts. That means the child can sit up straight against the seat back with knees bent over the front of the seat and have the lap belt lay across the upper thighs and the shoulder strap cross down over the shoulder and chest—not the face or neck.

Leaving Children Unattended in a Vehicle

For most people, it’s common sense not to leave a young kid alone in a car, van, SUV, or truck. Obviously, they can hurt themselves, plus they’re vulnerable. Also, there’s been a big push in recent years to increase awareness about the dangers of overheating in a vehicle—a risk that affects children and pets. The interior of a vehicle can get very hot very quickly if it’s parked in the sun or if it’s hot outside. This can lead to dehydration, heat stroke, brain damage, and death in kids and animals.

Oregon doesn’t have a specific law prohibiting leaving children unsupervised in an automobile. But if a kid were to come to harm due to being left unattended, authorities have precedent to use standard child endangerment and abuse laws to prosecute the parent or other caregiver.

Car Insurance FAQ

Is my credit score a factor when obtaining car insurance in Oregon?

If you have a good credit score, you’ll be happy to learn that yes, insurance companies consider it when calculating your premium. If you have a low score, it works against you. Insurers have found a correlation between lower scores and higher risk of filing a claim. Only three states prohibit carriers from referencing credit scores for this purpose: Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii.

Does Oregon offer a good-driver discount?

Good drivers are desirable auto insurance customers! Most carriers reward and incentivize safe road behavior with good-driver discounts based on a certain number of years without an accident (and often without a moving traffic violation, as well). Ask your representative about this, as well as other possible discounts that may apply, like:

  • Full Pay
  • Multiple Car
  • Multiple Policy
  • Good Student
  • Resident Student
  • Accident Free
  • Vehicle Safety
  • Anti-Lock Brake
  • Anti-Theft Device
  • Home Ownership
  • New Car
  • Passive Restraint
  • Utility Discount

Does Oregon allow the use of digital insurance cards?

It should come as no surprise that Oregon was an early adapter of this new tech trend! Rummaging around in your overflowing glove box is a thing of the past for state residents, who’ve been able to show a carrier-issued digital proof of coverage for years now.

What happens if my coverage lapses?

If you’re caught driving without insurance, the State may charge you fines, suspend your driving privileges, and tow your car at your own expense. Should you be prosecuted and convicted for driving without coverage, you’ll also be on the hook for court costs and be required to show proof of financial responsibility for 3 years. If you’re involved in an accident without coverage, expect a 1-year license suspension and having to show proof of financial responsibility for 3 years after it’s reinstated.

What are Oregon’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage limits under the state's driving under the influence (DUI) laws?

It’s against the law to drive in Oregon at the following BAC percentages:

.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
Any for under 21

Oregon’s driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) law includes a no-tolerance policy for underage drinkers. People under 21 years old who register any alcohol on a chemical test are considered to have failed it.

What are the chemical test refusal penalties in Oregon?

By driving in Oregon, you’ve legally consented to taking a breath, blood, or urine chemical screening test at the request of a police officer who arrests you for suspected DUII. Refusing to comply is admissible as evidence in court and results in on-the-spot confiscation of your driver’s license, issuance of a 30-day permit, and a 1-year suspension of driving privileges. However, if you have any drug or alcohol-related convictions on your record within the past 5 years, the suspension will be for 3 years. Refusal may also result in installation of an ignition interlock device.

What are the consequences of being convicted of a DUI?

Penalties depend on the number of previous drug or alcohol-related convictions on your record within the last 5 years and a variety of other considerations. Even for a first driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) violation, consequences may include suspension of driving privileges for at least 1 year followed by mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, fines and fees, compulsory completion of a substance abuse treatment program, and possible jail time or community service.

Eligible first-time offenders may have the DUI charge dismissed by meeting the terms of Oregon’s Driving Under the Influence Diversion Program.

Does Oregon offer driver improvement courses to reduce my insurance premium?

In Oregon, drivers age 55 and up can complete a State-approved Mature Driver Program to qualify for up to 15% off their premium for 3 years; they may also complete a refresher course within 1 year to renew the discount. Younger drivers may also be offered similar discounts by their carrier.

Is there any way I can reduce the cost of my Oregon car insurance?

Of course! We’ve already gone over a number of potential discounts and incentives you can look into, and these are great ways to save. Take on a higher deductible and you’ll get a lower premium, too. If you’re financially able to pay off an entire term of coverage upfront, it’s cheaper than paying in monthly installments. Also, don’t skip the crucial stage where you compare quotes from leading Oregon carriers to ensure you get the best deal possible on the levels and types of coverage you need.

What is uninsured motorist coverage and is it required in Oregon?

This is a type of coverage that pays medical-related expenses resulting from a traffic crash with an uninsured driver, or in the event of a hit-and-run accident. Uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory in Oregon at the minimum levels of $25,000 bodily injury per person and $50,000 bodily injury per accident.

9%
Uninsured drivers in Oregon
12%
Uninsured drivers Nationwide

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