First of all, Welcome! There are a number of things about car insurance you need to be aware of when you move to our State of Oregon and prepare to join us on the streets:

  • It is illegal to drive in Oregon without insurance,
  • Minimum insurance limits and coverages may be higher in Oregon than in the state you lived in before,
  • Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets,
  • You have 30 days to transfer your license to an Oregon license,
  • Oregon wants you to register your vehicle within 30 days of moving here, and
  • Your car must pass our clean air standards if you live in the Greater Portland area.

If you are moving to Oregon, you may find that this state has higher minimum insurance laws. You must have $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) for Bodily Injury, $20,000 for Property Damage, $20,000 Personal Injury Protection, and $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection. Many other states have lower limits and this can cause a bit of sticker shock. It is possible that the rates also reflect that there are more crashes, higher litigation costs, and differences in the cost of repairs here in Oregon compared to where you are moving from.


The law in Oregon requires you to transfer your license to this state within 30 days. You will need to locate the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and make an appointment to take a computerized exam. Yes, a test. If you have a valid license from another state and that state has a reciprocal agreement with Oregon, you will not need to take a physical driving test. If there is no agreement, you will have to prove your driving skills too.

You will need to bring documentation proving your Oregon address, your social security card or valid passport with an unexpired visa, an original birth certificate and your fees. Starting February 4, 2008, you must prove that you are a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or some other status that demonstrates that you are living here legally. If not, you will be denied even an ID card.

The Oregon DMV also states that you have 30 days to license and register your car. To do that, you will need to be able to prove your address (bring a piece of mail that has been sent to you at your new address), have your social security card or passport with an unexpired Visa, proof of insurance with valid limits in the state of Oregon, Certificate of Compliance from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stating that your car has passed certain tests for clean air (if you live in the DEQ zone of Portland, and your fees. Please see our Locate DMV section or visit their website for current requirements.

Oregon law states that all road approved motorcycles require everyone on the motorcycle to wear helmets. This applies as soon as you hit our freeways or back roads. You've got to have a helmet on and you must have valid insurance.

In this state, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is centralized and run by the State. You will handle all of your licensing and registering of your car in one place. Please see this link for the DMV nearest to you.

A certificate with a passing score from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) must be turned in when you register your car if you live in Portland or immediate surrounding areas. This test measures the limits of pollutants your vehicle emits to the environment and must also be completed at each renewal.

We hope that this helps answer some of your concerns about moving to Oregon. Welcome!