Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Oregon: Do You Need It?

Uninsured motorist coverage is a legal requirement in the state of Oregon.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage isn’t just a good idea in
Oregon
—it’s part of the legally required minimum coverage for all drivers. 
The minimum amount of required
car insurance
coverage varies by state, which can be a little confusing. In Oregon, all drivers have to have a minimum amount of liability insurance and personal injury protection (PIP). 
Additionally, state law mandates that all Oregon drivers maintain uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. This is a little more robust than many other states’ requirements, but read on to learn why that’s not such a bad thing. 
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Oregon?

Yes
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
is required by Oregon law. Specifically, Oregon requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident for this type of coverage. You can get more if you want, but that’s the lowest amount you can legally carry. 
Oregon is one of 14 states that require all drivers to have this kind of coverage, and if you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver or a driver that commits a hit-and-run, you’re going to be really glad you have it.
Otherwise, you’re on your own to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more—which could constitute a huge financial burden.  
A bit of good news? Coverage is pretty inexpensive. Your price will vary depending on things like your zip code and driving record, but uninsured/underinsured coverage in Oregon is typically less than $200 a year and in some cases less than $100.

How uninsured motorist insurance works in Oregon

In order to understand how uninsured motorist coverage works in Oregon, let’s back up a second and touch on
Oregon’s car insurance laws
.
In addition to
liability insurance
that protects other drivers in an accident where you’re at fault, Oregon requires uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and
personal injury protection (PIP)
Uninsured/underinsured coverage ensures that your and your passengers' medical bills are paid for in the event of an accident caused by a driver with no insurance—and we all know how expensive medical costs in the US can be. 
Personal injury protection essentially supplements your health insurance in the event of an injury and also helps cover things like lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, and more. 
It’s important to point out that Oregon does not require uninsured/underinsured property damage coverage. This means that while your medical expenses will be paid for by your UM/UIM coverage, your vehicle damages won’t be covered.
For this, you would need to have
collision coverage
, which protects your car in any kind of collision, no matter who caused it. 

What’s available

The UM/UIM insurance required in Oregon falls into two categories: 
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM/UMBI) covers your medical expenses (and those of your passengers) after an accident with an uninsured driver.
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UIM/UIMBI) covers your medical expenses if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your costs.
Basically, these two types of coverages work together to ensure that your medical expenses are paid for in a variety of scenarios. If you get in an accident with a driver with no insurance, then the uninsured portion of the policy comes into play. 
If the driver who was at fault has insurance, but not enough to cover your medical bills, that’s when the underinsured motorist coverage can be utilized. Your PIP policy can also be utilized in both of these scenarios as well

What it covers

Generally, the UM/UIM coverage offered in Oregon will cover medical expenses for you and your passengers. But it does a little bit more than that. UM/UIM insurance coverage will also cover: 
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Long-term rehabilitative or nursing care
  • Medical devices such as wheelchairs
  • Pain and suffering
    (under some circumstances) 
We all know how expensive medical care can be in the states, and something like a severe car accident can not only cause physical injury, it can mean a serious financial strain as well. Having uninsured/underinsured motorist protection is a very smart move, even in states where it’s not legally required. 

How to make a claim 

After a car accident
, it’s vital (and typically legally required) to exchange information with the other drivers involved—including your current insurance information.
But if you or one of your passengers has been injured and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, then this is where your UM/UIM coverage will be used. 
Filing an insurance claim
with your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a fairly straightforward process. Contact your insurance company right away, and make sure you collect and keep thorough records of everything involved. 
Take notes and pictures at the scene, make sure you get police report numbers, and keep meticulous track of all your medical bills and receipts. The more diligent and thorough you are with your documentation, the easier your claim will be—and the quicker you’ll receive compensation. 
If your medical costs exceed the limit on your uninsured motorist insurance, then you’ll have to cover the remainder with your health insurance, PIP coverage, or through other means.  

Why it’s a good thing to have uninsured motorist insurance in Oregon

If you’ve just moved to Oregon from a state where the car insurance minimums weren’t as stringent, it might seem like a real pain to get more coverage than usual. But here are a few reasons why it’s vital to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Oregon: 

It’s the law

In Oregon, you’re legally required to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in order to drive—it’s as simple as that! Failure to meet the insurance requirements can result in some costly and unpleasant consequences, such as: 

At least one in ten Oregon drivers is uninsured

Even though it's illegal, there are still Oregon drivers out on the roads with no insurance at all—and that’s to say nothing of the ones who don’t have enough insurance.
For 2019, the
Insurance Information Institute
estimated that 10.7% of Oregon drivers were uninsured, and more recent data places that number at up to 13%. 
Another area where you’ll be glad to have UM/UIM coverage is if you have the misfortune to be involved in a hit-and-run accident. If the at-fault driver leaves the scene of an accident, there’s obviously not going to be any way to contact their insurance company to file a claim. In order to have hit-and-run coverage, you’d need to have either collision or a UM/UIM policy

One in five Washington drivers is uninsured

But that’s a whole other state, right? Well, yes. But
Portland
, the most highly populated city in Oregon, sits just on the other side of the Columbia River from
Washington State
.
Many people live in the
Vancouver, Washington
area and commute to the Portland area for work or come to Oregon to shop and dine sales tax-free. 
You’ll see a lot of Washington license plates on the road in Oregon, and when you take into consideration that one in every five of them is uninsured, it makes Oregon’s requirement of UU/UIM coverage seem like a pretty wise move. 

How to save on uninsured motorist coverage in Oregon

You may be required to get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Oregon, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot of money for the coverage you need. When you use super app
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