Although the state of Oklahoma has a mandatory insurance requirement you might not realize it with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the US at over 25% of registered drivers in the state not having insurance. This unfortunately is reflected in insurance costs in the state making it the 15th most expensive state for car insurance, while it is in the bottom half of all states in population, density and congestion numbers.
Fault State Insurance Claims
Oklahoma is an “at fault” insurance state with a modified comparative fault rule set at 50%. If you registered a vehicle in the state you are required to show proof of insurance at the time of registration. An at fault state allows those involved in an accident a number of options to recover expenses from the accident. If you are carrying insurance, you can make a claim against your own insurance coverage, however this may impact your premiums in the future.
You can also make a third part claim against the suspected at fault person’s insurance company. After an accident make sure to get all the information to make a claim including the insurance company and policy number, contact information of the driver, a police report number. As one of the most popular at fault claim methods, following a proper procedure can often mean the difference between a settlement and nothing.
The third option, often used in minor “fender benders” is a simple negotiation between the parties to pay for the damage caused. Usually this direct negotiation is only used for property damage and very rarely in cases of injury.
The last option for an at fault insurance system is to hire an attorney and file a civil lawsuit to recover your expenses.
Mandatory Insurance Coverage
Oklahoma does require all registered drivers to carry liability insurance, which in the case of an accident covers the injury of yourself, a pedestrian or occupants of any of the vehicles involved in an accident. This insurance also has a portion to cover third-party property damage, but does not cover damage to your own vehicle from an accident. Generally insurers in an at fault state will want to ascertain who is at fault before making any settlements, if this cannot be agreed to in mediation or arbitration, they may deny claims, forcing a civil court action.
Mandatory insurance in Oklahoma includes the following liability minimums:
$25k personal injury or death of one person
$50k personal injury or death for multiple people in an accident
$25k to cover property damage
Although these are the minimums, most insurers will advise that you get insurance in the amount that will best cover you in an accident in the state, based on average claim settlements within the state.
UI/UIM Not Required, but Advised
There are a number of optional insurance coverages that you can opt for when signing up for auto insurance, however Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverages should be at the top of your list. As 1 in 4 drivers have NO insurance in the state, there is a 25% chance that any accident will involve someone without insurance and an even greater chance that the motorist will be underinsured. This insurance is not required, but in Oklahoma it can be the one additional insurance that can prevent financial disaster.
Other optional coverages that can often help prevent financial ruin include Collision and Comprehensive coverage to help provide payment for damage to your own vehicle when in an accident or from damage caused by vandals or extreme weather and in the case it is stolen. Other convenience insurance options include towing, gap coverage, medical payments and even custom parts and equipment coverage. Find out your needs with an insurer.
Oklahoma requires proof of insurance upon registering your vehicle and in traffic stops by law enforcement officers. This proof, provided by your insurer, will need to include the name of insurer, their address, their NAIC insurance number, the beginning and end dates of the insurance, your name and contact information, and the vehicle’s name, make, model and year under insurance.
The state also has a car insurance verification system that requires all insurers in the state to report your insurance coverage status to the DMV when it expires. If you are caught without insurance you could face a monetary fine, imprisonment for up to 30 days, license suspension and vehicle registration suspension. A new law also gives enforcement officers the right to remove license plates from vehicles on the spot when the driver is found to have no insurance. These measures, the state hopes to change the uninsured rate.