Do you have enough auto insurance to avoid Oklahoma’s strict penalties?
Oklahoma requires drivers to maintain certain types of car insurance.
Despite the requirement, roughly 13.3 percent of drivers in Oklahoma are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
In this article, we’ll take a look at car insurance requirements in the Sooner State, including what to do if you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
Car insurance requirements in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law requires anyone who drives a motor vehicle or motorcycle in the state to carry liability insurance with the following requirements:
- $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
- $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people involved in an accident
- $25,000 for damage to another person’s property
This insurance coverage is commonly referred to as “25/50/25 coverage.”
Although most Oklahoma residents purchase car insurance to comply with the state’s insurance laws, there is an alternative. You can deposit $75,000 with the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety will provide you with a certificate of deposit, which will serve as your proof of insurance.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Oklahoma
As a driver in Oklahoma, you’re required to provide proof of insurance upon request from a law enforcement officer. If you don’t have insurance, you can be hit with the following penalties:
|Fine||Imprisonment||License suspension||Reinstatement requirements|
|Up to $250||Not more than 30 days||Immediate license and registration suspension||Proof of insurance; $300 reinstatement fee; $125 administrative fee|
The most severe consequence of driving without insurance, however, is that uninsured drivers who cause an accident are personally liable for all of the damages that result.
If you don’t have the money in your bank account to satisfy a judgment against you, the other driver can obtain a court order that allows them to garnish your future wages and sell many of your assets.
The bottom line: Be sure to purchase and maintain the required auto insurance.
Optional insurance coverage in Oklahoma
The minimum liability insurance required in Oklahoma may not be enough to cover a serious car accident, leaving you personally liable for the damages that exceed your policy limits. For this reason, many people choose to purchase additional liability insurance.
Along with additional liability insurance, drivers in Oklahoma have the option to purchase the following types of coverage:
- Comprehensive coverage provides coverage for losses other than those caused by a collision (for example, vandalism and falling objects).
- Collision coverage provides coverage for damage to YOUR vehicle caused by an accident with another vehicle or an object.
- MedPay provides coverage for medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by you or the passengers in your vehicle as a result of an accident involving an uninsured driver.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by you or the passengers in your vehicle as a result of an accident involving a driver who has insufficient insurance to cover the damages.
All policies are not created equal.
A comprehensive coverage policy from one insurance provider may exclude damages caused by weather, whereas a comprehensive coverage policy from another insurance provider may cover damages caused by weather. Be sure to review the specific language of a policy before purchasing it.
Does insurance cover someone borrowing your car?
Liability insurance follows the vehicle in Oklahoma. This means that if you let someone borrow your car, any accident they get into will be covered by your liability insurance. If the damages exceed your policy limits, the insurance of the person who borrowed your vehicle may act as secondary coverage.
Let’s look at an example:
Greg owns a Toyota Tacoma truck. He lets his friend Andy borrow his truck to haul a refrigerator to the dump. On the way to the dump, Andy runs a red light and crashes into a Ford Escape. The Ford Escape suffers $10,000 worth of damage. Additionally, the driver of the Ford Escape suffers a whiplash injury in the crash and sues Greg and Andy for $35,000.
Greg’s liability insurance would cover the damage to the Ford Escape ($10,000). Greg’s liability insurance would also cover the driver's injury up to Greg’s policy limits ($25,000). Andy’s liability insurance would cover the remaining damages caused by the injury ($10,000) as secondary coverage.
Options for receiving compensation after an Oklahoma car accident
Oklahoma follows a fault-based insurance system. This means that the person responsible for causing a car accident is also responsible for paying the damages.
If you’re involved in an accident in Oklahoma that’s not your fault, you have 3 options for recovering damages:
- File an insurance claim with your own insurance company (in this situation, your insurance company will turn around and pursue reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company);
- File a third-party insurance claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company; or
- File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.
If the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance, you have two potential options:
- File a claim under your uninsured motorist policy (if you have one); or
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.