Home Insurance in Oregon

WRITTEN BY: Amelia Ciffone

UPDATED: MAY 24, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

Oregon is a state that has a relatively high crime rate, high home property values, and is at extremely high risk of property damage due to wildfire. Despite all this, Oregon boasts the cheapest home insurance rates in the nation. Gaps still exist in Oregon home insurance, as some common natural hazards like landslides can’t be insured through ordinary means. And, should you own or grow cannabis, it may be difficult to obtain coverage for this type of personal property.

  • Fun fact: one-fourth of all the llamas in the United States are owned by people living in Oregon!

Average Rates in Oregon

Oregon has the cheapest home insurance in the nation, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s 2017 findings. With $677 average annual premiums, it’s just over half the price of the national average for homeowners’ insurance, $1,211. Oregon keeps company with other cheap states for home insurance, like Utah and Idaho with average premiums of $692 and $730 respectively.

Across the nation there isn’t a large range of prices for renter’s insurance premiums. Still, premiums in Oregon are somewhat less expensive than in most states, with $165 premiums, compared with the national $180. This is the same average premium price for renters insurance in Washington!

Oregon Legal Insurance Requirements

Oregon does not require homeowners to purchase home insurance. Rather, home insurance is nearly always a condition of receiving a mortgage. Landlords can also their tenants to purchase renters insurance. Should you fail to obtain home insurance yourself, a mortgage lender can put you on their own preferred home insurance – this will usually be more expensive than if you had purchased a plan yourself.

Oregon’s Division of Financial Regulation describes Oregon home insurance as covering the following:

  • Damage to your home and unattached structures on your property (like tool sheds, guest homes, and fencing)
  • Damage of loss of personal possessions (including furniture, appliances, and clothing – NOT expensive luxury items like jewelry, antiques, or art collections, for which additional endorsements must be purchased)
  • Liability. Should someone be injured on your property or you damage another’s property through accident or negligence, this can help cover costs for legal and medical fees.
  • Additional living expenses incurred while a damaging event forces you to live away from your home for a time. This can include hotel costs, and even groceries.

In Oregon, the extent of your coverage (such as how many “perils” or damaging events are insured) will vary from policy to policy. However, standard home insurance in Oregon will NOT cover the following perils:

  • Floods: While not available through market insurance, flood insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program, if you live in a participating community
  • Earthquakes: Coverage for damage from earthquakes must be purchased as a separate endorsement
  • Landslides: Even endorsements for landslide-related damage is rare in Oregon, and you may need to talk to an insurance agent to find companies that offer it.
  • Cannabis related properties: Due to Oregon’s Recreational Cannabis Law passed in 2015, coverage for loss of cannabis (as personal property) is no longer an exception on the grounds of being illegal activity. However, many companies exclude for cannabis-related property, or else enforce limitations by categorizing cannabis as receiving tree, plant and shrub coverage, which is very limited in a homeowners insurance policy

Common Risk Factors in Oregon

Oregon’s rich and varied landscape – where ocean, forest, mountain, and volcanos all meet – puts Oregon properties at risk of facing numerous natural hazards. Some of the most dangerous are identified by Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development:

  • Wildfire. In 2019, data from the Insurance Information Institute ranked Oregon the 8th most dangerous state in the nation for wildfires, with 151,400 properties at risk. So far in 2020, these warnings have borne out. In the Almeda Drive fire alone, over 2,357 structures were destroyed, and as of September 23rd, 2020, 9 major fires still burned along the state. Basic home insurance, as well as Oregon’s FAIR plan available to those who don’t meet ordinary insurance requirements will insure for fire-related damages.
  • Landslides. According to Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, landslides are some of the most widespread, recurring, and damaging natural hazards properties face. They can be triggered by vegetation loss from fire, soil loosening during heavy rainfall, shocks from earthquakes, and numerous other factors. Unfortunately, damage from landslides is not covered by standard home insurance, and endorsements for coverage are few and far between
  • Volcanic-related disasters. Volcanic eruptions from volcanoes along Oregon’s Cascade Range, although covered by basic home insurance, represent just one type of volcano-related peril that properties in Oregon face. The active volcanoes in this range are linked to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, so that volcanic activity can also trigger earthquakes and tsunamis (plus related flooding) in other areas. Although you can purchase earthquake insurance as a separate endorsement in Oregon, it will not cover damage from tsunamis.

Insurance Demographics/Statistics in Oregon

There isn’t any one thing that determines the cost of your home insurance. Insurance companies consider a number of factors when setting their prices – among these is the value of your home, but also information ranging from the local property crime rates to how good your credit score is. Let’s dive deeper into how these factors can influence your home insurance rates.

Your Home’s Value

Nearly all of your coverage is based upon a percentage of the dollar amount of your home value. Insurance companies can calculate home value in two ways. With replacement cost, they will evaluate how much money is needed to completely rebuild your home from scratch, using similar materials and factoring in current labor costs. If you have an older home or a home with a great deal of pre existing damage, home value may instead be calculated in terms of actual cash value. This is like replacement cost, with deductions made based on depreciation of the home from wear and tear, age, and existing damage.

Oregon homes are relatively pricey. While the national average for home values is $248,857, Oregon’s is more expensive by about a third, with $374,639 average home values. Keep in mind as you search for home insurance that the sale price of a home is not the same thing as a home’s value. When you buy your home on the market, the sale price includes the price of the land your home is on – in Oregon, land costs are notoriously expensive. However, insurance companies consider land value largely irrelevant for the purposes of insuring your home, and therefore don’t calculate it into your home’s value.

Local Crime Rates

The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program compiles incident rates for property crime on a national level as well as state by state. In 2018, it found a 2.50% property crime rate in Oregon, after excluding auto theft incidents. This is quite a bit higher than the national average of 1.97%, and may translate to higher premium prices. Insurance companies protect both homes and personal possessions from property crimes like theft and vandalism – to offset losses in areas with high property crime rates, they may charge more for insurance.

Your Income and Education

Insurance companies are usually well-disposed towards customers with good credit ratings, and can offer them lower insurance rates. Population demographics associated with good credit ratings include those with higher incomes and with a college education. Oregon as a state has household incomes on par with the national average, averaging at $63,426 compared to the national $64,179, according to the Census Bureau. Oregon residents are slightly better educated, with 32.9% of people above 25 having a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the national rate of 32.06%.

Where to Purchase Home Insurance in Oregon

Understanding common perils and average rates in your state is only the first step towards finding your perfect home insurance plan. Next, you should compare the rates and plans of many different companies. Agilerates.com is in the best position to help, putting accurate quotes from a host of insurers at your fingertips. Even if you already own home insurance, it may be wise to shop around as your annual renewal time nears. According to the Pulse Whitepaper from iii.org, only 44% of homeowners compare prices of different insurers at renewal time, and only 17% do so online. That means more than half of all homeowners are leaving money on the table at renewal time. Use Agilerates.com online form to get matched with a local agent, get free quotes, and shop around!