There is no reason to risk driving uninsured in this day and age. Getting insurance for your vehicle should be an utmost priority. The consequences of failing to get insurance for your car can be very costly in the long run, especially in states like Oregon.
Oregon is one of the 22 states that electronically monitors vehicles in order to verify their registration and insurance status. Each state has varied penalties for driving uninsured, but Oregon’s penalties are among the highest.
Oregon Car Insurance Law
In accordance with Oregon’s Department of Transportation, all drivers within the state are required to present proof of liability insurance when they register their vehicle. Oregon goes further than just requiring drivers to have insurance, like most states, they require vehicle owners and drivers to maintain certain types and amounts of insurance coverage. Every state insurance standard is different, but Oregon’s are among the strictest.
Oregon State’s Car Insurance Standards:
Oregon law requires these minimums in insurance coverage:
Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Property Damage: $20,000 per accident
Personal Injury Protection: $15,000 per person
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
What Instances Require Proof of Insurance in Oregon?
Apart from accidents such as a collision, there are many other times in which Oregon requires drivers to show proof of insurance. Any time you are stopped by police in Oregon you are required to provide your registration and proof of insurance. This would be for any police checkpoint or any other minor infraction you may be pulled for.
Types of items that prove you have insurance can change from person to person, but these are some of the things that you may show in order to prove insurance ownership:
A current insurance ID card
A current insurance binder or policy
A signed letter from your insurance provider or agent, on company letterhead
A certificate of self-insurance from the Oregon Department of Transportation
What Happens if You Fail to Provide Proof of Car Insurance?
Oregon has some severe penalties if you are unable or do not have proof of insurance. The law says failure to provide coverage is equal with a class B driving violation. These violations are the same as if someone had exceeded the speed limit over 21 to 20 mph or fails to obey a traffic signal. The penalties associated with this are hefty fines which can be up to $1000 and even can lead to a suspension in your license. Just like getting a ticket these violations can add up to even bigger fines and longer suspensions in the future.
Fines for Driving Uninsured ORS
The fine for driving uninsured ranges from a massive $1000 to a $130 slap on the wrist. Like most tickets the fine changes based on the situation in which you were caught without coverage. A minor speeding infraction would show a lower penalty than if you were caught without insures after running a red light or caused a traffic accident. These fines are always situational and can vary depending on how many time you have been pulled over as well.
Note: If you are required to go to court, the court may decide to impose heavier fines.
Oregon’s Presumptive Fine Option
In most cases, people take the presumptive fine option in order to resolve the violation. This option shows you have decided to enter a Plea of No Contest meaning you acknowledge you were at fault and will not need to go to court to plead your case. The fine when you take this option requires two things:
You will send a written explanation to the court
Pay a flat fee of $260
Note: In some cases, the court may that the presumptive fine option is not enough, often because of the seriousness of the accident or insurance violation, This may require you to show your presence in the court and pay a higher fine. Going up to $1000.
Suspensions for Driving Uninsured in Oregon
Fines are not the only form of punishment Oregon has for driving without insurance. Like many other states, call B driving violations can lead to suspension of your license, and Oregon is no different. The time of the suspension can vary from situation to situation. The max suspension can be up to a year and can be applied even if you didn’t directly cause the accident.
Depending on the severity of the situation you could be facing a $1000 fine, suspension of your license up to a year, and the impounding of your vehicle.
How to Reinstate Driving Privileges in Oregon After Being Suspended
After you have served your suspension time in Oregon you can start the process of applying for your license again. Before you do anything else your insurance company will need to file an SR-22 which will be proof of you having insurance and be considered evidence that you can provide financial responsibility in the future. The SR-22 has to be maintained for the 3 years without defaulting of any kind. If at any point during these 3 years it defaults your license will be suspended again and you will need to start this process all over again.
With the SR-22 that is filed with your insurance company, you will have to pay a $75 fee to Oregon. This fee is a reinstatement fee and its used to file all the proper paperwork and get you a new license.
If your car was impounded the next step would be to recover your vehicle. The first step will require notice from the police officer that ordered the impoundment of the vehicle. By law, they must send within 48 hours a release notice to both you and the impound lot. This will add additional fines such as a storage fee, for the time your car was heald, and a towing fee, of course, to pay for your car being towed. There also may be some impoundment administration fees. The grand total will be found on that notice sent by the officer.
To help prevent drivers from continuing to not having insurance in Oregon, their Department of Transportation has implemented an insurance verification program. This program is for those who have already had a suspension and have filed the SR-22. This monthly verification is part of that 3 year period which you are not allowed to have your insurance lapse. If it does your license will be suspended again.
This monthly verification works by requiring you to submit proof of compliance (a receipt that shows you are paying and maintaining coverage since recovering your car and license).
Note: if you fail to make premium payment quickly, there is a likelihood that your insurance company could end up canceling your policy and SR-22. In the end, your license will end up being re-suspended, until it’s done right.
Although Oregon is restricted on its insurance policies it is not the only state which views drivers insurance as a necessity. Driving uninsured in Oregon can be time-consuming and costly. With all the fines and potential of suspension, one would think it would be easier just to have insurance. It pays to have coverage, and if you follow the insurance coverage Oregon requires, and that was laid out above you can stay on the open road with peace of mind.