Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Oregon

Kailey Fralick

A half hour of your time could be worth hundreds in savings.

Oregon’s auto insurance premiums hover just above the national average, but new state laws may drive those costs even higher in the coming years. Luckily for you, there are plenty of savings to be found. Take me for example: With only a half-hour of research, I saved myself nearly $600 a year.

I got quotes for Oregon’s minimum coverage from five different insurers and found out GEICO was the best car insurance company for me at $337, but it may not work out that way for you, or anyone else. Insurance rates fluctuate considerably based on who’s getting the quote, what vehicles are being insured, and the location, so it’s impossible to say one company’s always going to offer the lowest rates.

Insurance providers all collect the same information, more or less, but they weigh those factors slightly differently, so prices vary a lot. I recommend getting at least five quotes to start with, and seeking out more is even better if you’ve got the time.

You can get most quotes online and those only take about five minutes or so. Some, like The Hartford, you’ll have to call and that takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep in mind you may have to sit on hold for a while before you can speak to a representative. In either case, you’ll be asked some basic questions about yourself, your vehicle, and your driving record. Then you’re presented with a policy to customize to your needs.

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Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Oregon

I got quotes from these five long-established companies and I’d recommend them to any Oregon resident due to their high customer service ratings and financial stability.

I chose these companies because they’ve all earned “excellent” or “superior” grades from A.M. Best, a top financial strength rating agency, and high customer service scores in the Northwest region from the latest J.D. Power report. That means you can trust them to make the claims process go as smoothly as possible — which is almost priceless

Insurer My quote
GEICO $337
State Farm $600
Farmers $616
The Hartford $784
American Family $920

When I compared quotes, I found a range of over $600, which is kind of crazy. GEICO was easily my best car insurance option, while State Farm was a distant second. American Family, however, was far from competitive. At GEICO’s price, I could probably purchase triple the minimum coverage limits and pay less than what some of the other companies quoted me — that’s a very good idea, by the way.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Insurance companies base your premium on your shopping habits as well as your risk. They look at your credit score, how long you’ve been with your previous insurance company, and your online shopping habits. Then they use that data to determine how likely you are to leave them and they adjust their rates accordingly. This is known as price optimization.

You’d think staying loyal would save you money, but the opposite is true. If you don’t shop around at least every year or two, your insurer may start charging you higher rates than they would offer a new customer with the same risk profile. But if you show it you’re willing to walk away for a better deal, it’ll offer a more competitive price. After all, accepting a lower payment is better for them than losing you to a competitor.

More than 15 states have taken steps to ban price optimization, but Oregon isn’t one of them. It remains to be seen whether the practice will eventually be outlawed, but for the time being, it’s up to you to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best possible rate.

Oregon’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Oregon mandates every driver carry at least $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $20,000 of property damage liability coverage. This coverage pays for damages to other people and property when you are found to be at fault in an accident.

Residents must also carry uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required in most states, but it’s undoubtedly useful coverage to have. If you get hit by a driver without insurance or the at-fault party flees the scene, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical bills. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage isn’t required, but it’s something you may want to think about as well.

In addition, Oregon is one of the few states that requires personal injury protection ($15,000 per person) to cover medical expenses following a crash. This is a no-fault coverage, which means you don’t have to wait around for your insurer to determine who was at fault before you can use it. It even covers you when you are at fault in an an accident.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

If you’re thinking about going with the minimum coverage, stop and consider these two statistics:

  • The average driver will file a claim for a crash every 17.9 years.
  • The average cost of a disabling, but nonfatal injury is $80,700.

Your $25,000 of mandatory bodily injury coverage isn’t going to be enough if you give someone a serious injury and you’ll be left draining your savings to pay for the remainder of the damages. And that’s not even considering what would happen if there were multiple people injured.

In my case, raising my coverage limits from the cheapest car insurance possible to $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 would only cost $20 extra a year through GEICO. I wouldn’t even notice the extra $2 I’d be paying each month, but if I got into an accident, I would definitely be grateful I had the extra coverage.

Consider adding underinsured motorist coverage as well. If a driver hits you and their insurance won’t cover the full amount, this coverage pays for the remainder of the damages beyond what the at-fault party’s insurance covers, up to your coverage limit.

Vehicle protection — including comprehensive and collision coverage — is typically required by lenders if you have a lease or loan on the vehicle, but it’s often worth the investment even if you own your car outright. It pays for repairs to your car following an accident, so you don’t have to. Collision coverage handles accidents involving another vehicle and single-car accidents while comprehensive coverage deals with theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and wildlife collisions.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Driving uninsured is likely to cost you more than the insurance itself. You’ll be fined and your vehicle may be towed, leaving you responsible for the towing and storage fees. If you’re involved in an accident, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year and you’ll be required to file and maintain an SR-22 for three years following the end of the suspension period.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

Many factors influence your premiums, and there are plenty of ways you can adjust these factors to work in your favor. I save on my insurance by only driving four days a week and paying my premium all at once. That earns me some pretty nice low-mileage and paid-in-full discounts. Check out our list below for ideas on how you can shave a few dollars off your monthly premium.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates


Why Are Oregon’s Rates the Way They Are?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Oregon $141
Gresham $159
Portland $150
Beaverton $138
Hillsboro $137
Salem $135
Bend $120
Medford $114
Eugene $113
Springfield $113
Source: Quadrant

Oregon’s minimum auto insurance coverage is higher than what most states require. Fewer than half of US states mandate uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection is an even less common requirement. These higher minimums contribute to the average state premium being slightly above the national average.

Unfortunately, Oregon residents may see their rates continue to increase in the coming years thanks to a new law effective January 2, 2016. This law is likely to increase the amount insurers have to pay out for a claim and that additional cost will get passed down to consumers through higher premiums.

The Bottom Line

Insurance rates are personalized for you, so there’s no way to say one company is the best of them all. The only way to find cheap car insurance that actually benefits you is to get some quotes and compare coverages. I recommend going with more than the bare minimum if you can. The extra you’ll pay in premiums is nothing compared to the damages you could be responsible for if you get into a serious accident, and the better your insurance, the less money that’ll come out of your pocket.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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