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Why Do I Have to Carry With Me an Insurance Identification Card?

Certain types of vehicles require that you as the operator carry with you in the vehicle or on your person proof that the vehicle is insured for the minimum liability coverage for the State of Oregon. The Oregon Identification Card for a private passenger car or pickup truck must have the following items listed on the face of the card:

  • Name of the Insurance Company,
  • Policy Number,
  • Inception Date of the Policy,
  • Expiration Date of the Policy, and
  • The Year, Make, Model and Vehicle Identification Number.

Technically, since auto insurance follows the car, not the driver, in the State of Oregon, the name of the driver doesn't have to appear on the card. However, car insurance companies will put at least the name of the principal owner of the policy on the card. Some auto insurance companies will also name or list all the authorized drivers on the card. In a big household, that might be impossible to list all authorized drivers on one little card. Plus, it is impossible for the insurance company to know exactly who you may lend your car to. It is not unusual for a law enforcement officer to question why your name doesn't appear on the Oregon Identification Card if you are not the principal policy owner.

These same Identification Card requirements apply to motorcycles as well. You must have with proof that your motorcycle is insured for at least Oregon State minimum liability limits. If you operate a recreational vehicle across highways or in certain designated areas, you must show proof to a ranger or officer that you ATV, snowmobile or dune buggy has liability coverage. It's not enough to have coverage. You must be able to physically prove it at the moment you are checked or stopped.

A motor home is subject to the same evidence of insurance requirements as a regular automobile. You must be able to locate quickly the Oregon Identification Card for your motor home when you are stopped by law enforcement or have an accident. The other party will want to see your ID card to write down the name of the insurance company, policy number and the year, make, model and vehicle identification number of your motor home to be able to make a claim. And you must do the same with the ID card of the other driver's automobile.

Commercial or fleet vehicles also must be insured to operate on Oregon highways. The liability limits may vary or exceed the minimum for regular private passenger vehicles depending on what you are carrying and how big your rig is. You must be sure you and all potential drivers are listed on the commercial auto policy. Each driver must know where the Vehicle Identification Card is located in the vehicle before getting behind the wheel. It's a good idea to check after every use of the commercial vehicle by other drivers that the documents for the vehicle, such as the Identification Card are still in an accessible location.

An Oregon Insurance Identification card is not the same as a binder. If you have a lender who wants proof your vehicle has full or physical damage coverage, an ID card won't provide for them the details necessary to prove the vehicle you have financed has the proper coverage and lists the lender as a security interest in the policy. A binder or declaration page must be issued to the lienholder as proof listing the coverages and their name and address.