The Oregon Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy

The Oregon motor vehicle exemption helps determine whether you can keep your car, truck, van, or other vehicle if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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The Oregon motor vehicle exemption helps determine whether you can keep your car, truck, van, or other vehicle if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here you’ll find information about the Oregon car exemption: how much it is, what types of vehicles it covers, how it works for married couples, how to find the applicable statute, and more.

(For more information about exemptions, including how they work and which ones you can use, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area. For information specific to the motor vehicle exemption, see our Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy area.)

The Motor Vehicle Exemption and Your Car

Oregon’s motor vehicle exemption plays a large role in determining whether or not the bankruptcy trustee can take your vehicle to repay your unsecured creditors.  If the equity in your car is less than Oregon’s car exemption, then the trustee cannot sell it. If the equity in your car is significantly more than the applicable exemption amount, the trustee is likely to sell your car to repay your unsecured creditors. For details, see The Motor Vehicle Exemption: Can You Keep Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? 

Keep in mind that even if your car is safe from the bankruptcy trustee, the lender may be able to repossess your car during or after bankruptcy. To learn more, see Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and If You Are Behind on Your Car Payments, Can Chapter 7 Help?

The Amount of Oregon’s Motor Vehicle Exemption

In Oregon, you can exempt up to $3,000 in equity in your car or other vehicle.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Exemption

As of July 1, 2013, if you are filing for bankruptcy in Oregon, you can elect to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the Oregon exemptions. To find the current amount of the federal motor vehicle exemption, see The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Oregon’s Wildcard Exemption Cannot be Combined with the Motor Vehicle Exemption

If the equity in your car is more than $3,000, you cannot tack on Oregon’s wildcard exemption to protect more value. The $400 Oregon wildcard exemption can only be used to protect personal property that is not covered by another Oregon exemption. However, you may use the wildcard exemption to protect value in an additional vehicle that is not covered by the motor vehicle exemption.

Can Married Couples Double Oregon’s Motor Vehicle Exemption?

Some states allow married couples filing a joint bankruptcy petition to double the listed exemption amounts. In Oregon, married couples filing jointly may double the vehicle exemption to protect up to $6,000 of value in a vehicle.

What Vehicles and Insurance Are Covered by the Motor Vehicle Exemption?

 The Oregon motor vehicle exemption can be used to protect one automobile, truck, trailer, or truck and trailer.

Checking Oregon’s Exemption Laws

You can find Oregon’s motor vehicle exemption at Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345(1)(d)(3).

You can find the Oregon statutes on the website of the Oregon State Legislature at www.leg.state.or.us. To learn how to find state statutes, see Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area. 

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