Oregon Car Insurance Laws for Responsible Portland Drivers

Every Oregon driver is supposed to be covered by insurance. We all know that. Yet at least 8% of drivers involved in traffic accidents are driving without a valid insurance policy. Where does that leave the rest of us? Well, it could leave us needing the services of a good Portland personal injury lawyer for starters.

What are the insurance laws governing Oregon drivers? Well, according to Oregon Department of Transport regulations (ODOT), every Oregon driver not only must be insured, but they must also have certain minimum coverage for various liabilities.  For example, all drivers must have cover for:

  • Bodily injury and property damage cover of at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per crash for bodily injury to others, and $20,000 per crash for damage to other people’s property. Remember, these are the minimum amounts of cover required.
  • Personal injury protection in the amount of $15,000 per person to cover reasonable and necessary medical, dental and other expenses for one full year after a crash
  • $25,000 per person and at least $50,000 per crash for bodily injury claims in the event of a collision with an uninsured motorist

I don’t want to pay for expensive insurance. I’m a good driver. What happens if I don’t have coverage?

In the state of Oregon, having insurance is not an option. Drivers who opt to take the risk of driving without cover face a multitude of potential sanctions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Fines
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Having your vehicle towed away. In such an event, you will be liable for both towing and storage costs, in addition to whatever fines are imposed.

If you are convicted of driving without insurance, you will be watched very closely for three years. You will be required to file proof of future responsibility with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for those three years. If you don’t, your driving privileges will be suspended, and you could face another court appearance and more fines.

Let’s say you’re driving without insurance and you’re involved in a crash. Even if the accident is not your fault, your driving privileges will automatically be suspended for a full year. After the year is up, you will still have to file proof of future responsibility for three years, or your privileges will be suspended again. If, on the other hand, you’ve been involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, and you’ve been injured, it would be a good idea to call on the services of a competent Portland personal injury lawyer, to help guide you through the processes of filing a claim and/or dealing with insurance companies.

How do they know if I’m driving without insurance?

Every month, the Oregon DMV sends out a questionnaire to a number of Oregon drivers, asking them to confirm their insurance company name and policy number. It’s absolutely imperative that anyone receiving a request for this information responds in a timely fashion. If a driver fails or refuses to answer these questions, their driving privileges will be immediately suspended. In addition, the DMV will check the details of the policy numbers with the relevant insurance companies. If false information has been provided, the driver will automatically be required to provide proof of future responsibility for the following three years.

A reliable Portland personal injury attorney will tell you, driving without insurance simply isn’t worth the risk. Any Portland personal injury attorney can attest to the fact that anyone caught driving without insurance will pay a far higher price than if they had simply paid for the minimum legal cover in the first place. And for anyone who has been seriously hurt in an accident involving an uninsured driver, a compassionate Portland personal injury attorney will know that the uncertainty, frustration and fear suffered by the injured party is that much greater for having to deal with an unfair situation where their own insurance will probably have to cover someone else’s negligence.

The advice that any Portland personal accident attorney would give, as well as anyone in the Oregon ODOT, DMV, or any other Oregon law enforcement agency, would be to drive safe, drive smart, and drive insured.