Oregon law requires every person who drives in this state to carry automobile liability insurance in case of an accident.
What is liability insurance?
Liability insurance only covers damage you cause to another vehicle, its occupants, or a bicyclist or pedestrian, if the accident was your fault. Liability insurance will not pay for damage to your own car whether or not the accident was your fault.
Every liability insurance policy in Oregon includes Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP). PIP will pay for medical expenses up to $15,000 during the first year after you or your passenger are injured in a car accident, even if the accident was your fault.
You will get a ticket if you are caught driving without liability insurance. The penalty could result in fines, suspension of your driving privileges, and your vehicle could be towed. Until you get a ticket for driving uninsured, the Motor Vehicles Division (DMV) will take your word that you have valid liability insurance, but once you are convicted of driving without insurance, the DMV will suspend your privilege to drive in Oregon any time during the following three years that you fail to provide constant proof you have valid insurance.
After you have been convicted of driving uninsured, you will typically have to file for SR-22. Unlike a standard insurance policy, an SR-22 is a special high risk, high cost insurance policy that requires the insurer to notify DMV any time you allow the policy to lapse. The DMV will suspend your license when it gets notice your SR-22 has lapsed. To make matters worse, once you are suspended your insurance rates will go up and you will have to pay to reinstate your driving privileges when your suspension is over.
Here are two common ways people get in trouble for driving uninsured:
My friend told me I would be covered by his insurance when I borrowed his car.
Don’t borrow a friend’s car believing you will be covered by the owner’s insurance. Your friend’s insurance may not cover you if you have an accident while driving their car, whether or not the accident was your fault. If your friend’s insurance won’t pay and the crash was your fault, you will be personally liable for any injury you caused to the other car and its occupants. Even if the accident was not your fault, you could be cited for driving uninsured, and your drivers license could be suspended for up to one year.
Your best bet is to not allow others to drive your car.
The general rule is that insurance follows the car, not the driver. This means that your own insurance will be considered the primary coverage in case of an accident. So even if your friend has his or her own insurance, you will not be able to choose which policy the claim will be paid from. You could wind up paying for your friend’s negligence for years through increased premiums.