Ore. Licensing Law Shows Little Impact on Car Insurance Trends

The percentage of Oregon motorists driving without auto insurance rose only slightly between 2007 and 2010, according to a new report from the state’s transportation commission. Analyses of samples of accident reports showed that uninsured motorists were involved in 5.7 percent of crashes in 2007 and in 6.5 percent of crashes in 2010.

Oregon uninsured table

Click on table to enlarge

The authors of the report attributed the fluctuations to the recent economic recession, changes in the price of gasoline and high unemployment — all reasons that a consumer might become cash-strapped and willing to drop coverage.

The commission included the findings in an annual report on the effects of a 2008 law that altered the state’s licensing process.

Those changes introduced stricter requirements for getting an Oregon driver’s license or identification card, and lawmakers at the time were concerned about the possible effects those more extensive requirements might have on unlicensed and uninsured motorist rates.

Since there is no way to determine the exact amount of motorists on the road without insurance coverage, the commission looked at samples of accident reports and surveyed whether they involved uninsured or unlicensed motorists.

They found that the crash samples had an average of about a 6 percent uninsured motorist involvement rate.

That figure is much lower than what has been estimated by other sources. In 2009, an analysis of claims data by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) indicated that Oregon had an uninsured motorist rate in 2007 of approximately 11 percent, which is expected to have risen since that time.

Despite what might be common sense, getting car insurance without a license is actually a possibility.

Of the 217 crashes in the 2010 sample that involved an unlicensed driver, 15 percent of those drivers had coverage in place at the time.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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