Oregon business insurance requirements

Before starting your business in Oregon, make sure you're covered with the right type of business insurance. We explain what's required and what's recommended.

Oregon Business Insurance

If you run a small company in Oregon, you know that risk is an inevitable part of doing business. In terms of your business’ success, minimizing those risks is just as important as identifying growth opportunities.

When all it takes is a single, costly liability claim to upend your capacity to operate, it’s smart to take all the proper precautions to protect your business. One of the best ways to safeguard your business is by making sure that you have the right types of insurance in place.

But what are the right types of Oregon business insurance and how do you obtain them? We’ll guide you through it. Let’s do this!

Mandatory insurance for Oregon businesses

When it comes down to it, protecting your small business with insurance is a relatively straightforward process. First, you decide on the type of insurance you need. Then, you conduct research to find the right insurer to partner with.

Ok, so what’s required? To legally operate in Oregon, there are two types of insurance policies that are mandatory. They are:

  • Workers’ compensation (if you have at least one employee)
  • Auto liability insurance

Workers’ compensation

Do you have at least one full- or part-time employee on your payroll?

If so, every employee is required to be covered under workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon.

Even in the safest businesses, accidents, illness, or injury can still occur. Should an employee get sick or injured while they’re at the workplace, your business, as the employer, is still responsible for the employee’s costs, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Workers’ compensation insurance can help you cover the costs associated with a work-related illness or injury.

It can help pay for:

  • Medical costs
  • Rehabilitation and retraining costs
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Death benefits

In Oregon, workers’ comp is regulated by the Workers’ Compensation Division.1 If you fail to obtain the necessary coverage, the penalty cost is twice the amount of what the premium would have been (minimum $1,000). Continued noncompliance could result in a daily penalty of $250 in addition to potential punishments and legal cases. So the real question is, can you afford not to have workers’ comp?

Auto liability insurance

Few activities carry more inherent risks than driving.

Whenever you or an employee gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, an accident could happen. Even minor accidents are costly. This is why all vehicles registered in Oregon are required to carry auto liability insurance.

How you use your vehicles for work, the type of vehicle you own, or how the vehicle is titled determines if you need a commercial auto policy or a personal auto insurance coverage. Some scenarios which will most likely require a separate commercial auto policy:

  • Vehicles that are owned in the name of the business
  • If you carry products or people as a key function of your business (e.g., a taxi service or a florist who delivers their arrangements)

However, if transporting people or products is not critical to your business function and you only use your vehicle to drive to and from job sites, your personal auto policy may be sufficient. For example a handyman or painter who uses their small van to go to and from projects. Talk to your auto insurance broker to make sure you’re sufficiently protected.

Regardless of what type of coverage you need, auto insurance can help provide the following coverage:

  • Medical payments (personal injury protection) for the driver and passengers
  • Uninsured motorist liability coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage

Oregon has required minimums including:2

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $15,000 personal injury protection

Recommended liability insurance for Oregon businesses

Just because a particular type of insurance coverage isn’t legally required by the state doesn’t mean it’s not vital to the success of your small business. In fact, there are several types of insurance that can help you significantly reduce your overall risk profile and protect your profits, including:

  • General liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Cyber insurance
  • Commercial property insurance

General liability insurance

General liability insurance is one of the best investments you can make. When you’re interacting with third parties (like customers) and things go wrong, general liability insurance coverage mitigates the associated costs. For instance, it can provide coverage for the costs related to the investigation, defense, settlement, and indemnification for damages related to liability claims.

Should an accident occur, general liability could help your small business cover the costs for third-party claims of:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal and advertising injury

Professional liability insurance

Sometimes referred to as errors and omissions (E&O), professional liability insurance helps safeguard professionals whose work involves providing professional services and expertise to their clients.

Even top-tier experts make mistakes. If a client claims that your advice led to their financial loss, they could hold you liable.

Should a client sue you for negligence, professional liability insurance can provide a defense and cover the cost involved in the actual or alleged negligence, related claims, and damages.

Cyber insurance

Every modern business has a web presence. As important as it is to marketing your company, the internet also invites additional risk. It’s filled with shadowy characters—many of whom want nothing more than to steal you and your clients’ data.

Cyber insurance was created to help protect your small business from the financial consequences of a cyberattack. Should a breach occur, it could help cover both the first- and third-party costs related to the incident. For instance:

  • First-party costs
    • Cyber extortion
    • Breach investigation
    • Customer notification
    • Credit and fraud monitoring
    • Business interruptions
    • Crisis management

  • Third-party costs
    • Legal defense costs
    • Judgments
    • Settlements

Commercial property insurance

Does your business own or rent an office or workspace? Odds are you do. If so, you need to protect that building, your equipment, and inventory. Without your physical assets, doing business may be impossible. Commercial property insurance can help pay for the costs of replacing or repairing your items should an accident occur.

A standard policy could help cover the following:

  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Explosion
  • Theft
  • Storms

Note: In most cases, it won’t cover major events like earthquakes or floods (unless those things are explicitly stated within the policy).

How to get your business insured in Oregon

Now that you’re aware of the various types of business insurance your small business needs—both to satisfy legal requirements and safeguard your enterprise—where do you go to obtain your coverage?

Here at Thimble, we’ve taken insurance and upgraded it for the 21st century. In just 60 seconds, you can get affordable general liability and professional liability coverage that covers you by the hour, day, or month. Being that you’re a small business, we tailor insurance specifically to when you actually need it, so you can spend your precious funds and time elsewhere.

Click “Get a Quote” or download the Thimble mobile app. Enter a few quick details and we’ll generate your free quote instantly. Make one last click to purchase your policy and the policy and any necessary Certificate of Insurance (COI) will be instantly sent to your email inbox.

In summary, the only types of insurance you’re required to have (if you fall within the required categories) are auto liability insurance and workers’ comp. But that’s not the only type of insurance you should have.

You also need to consider the importance of protecting your business with general liability and professional liability (amongst others). Luckily for you, Thimble makes it easy to get the insurance your small business needs.

You keep growing your small business in the Beaver State. We’ll make sure it’s protected.

Sources

Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division. Workers’ Compensation.

Oregon DMV. Driver Insurance.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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