In Oklahoma, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage in order to ensure financial responsibility in an accident. This law helps to make certain that all drivers on the road will be compensated if they are injured or their property damaged as the result of another driver’s negligence, and that they will also be able to pay for losses if they are the one at fault.
Oklahoma requires only that drivers carry a basic liability insurance policy to pay for injuries and property damage. This policy must meet mandatory limits for each of the areas of liability coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability must have limits of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident to pay for injuries to all parties in the accident.
- Property Damage Liability must have a limit of at least $25,000 to cover the cost of damages to another person’s vehicle or any other property damaged as the result of an at-fault accident.
Mandatory insurance coverage protects drivers from lawsuits, in which an injured party can seek damages to pay for injuries, pain and suffering, loss of wages, and damage to property as well.
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Insurance companies in Oklahoma offer a range of coverage options that can expand the protection available to drivers.
While the bare minimum liability coverage is enough to drive legally, many drivers choose to increase those limits in order to protect from high costs associated with major accidents. Increasing liability limits is optional but one of the most common upgrades to insurance policies.
There are also a number of other coverage options that can be added to a policy to protect the driver, passengers, and vehicle itself.
- Collision Coverage – This coverage will pay for damages to the insured vehicle in the event that the owner is at fault in the accident and thus cannot collect damages from the liability policy of the other driver. This coverage can also be used in single-vehicle accidents where there is no other driver involved. A deductible usually applies to claims.
- Comprehensive Coverage – This optional coverage will pay for damage or loss due to most events that do not fall under the collision coverage guidelines – this includes things like theft, vandalism, fire damage, and damage from weather events such as hail. Comprehensive usually includes coverage for glass-only claims such as rock chips and cracks in your windshield. This coverage typically has a deductible.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – This protects you from drivers who either carry no insurance in spite of the law, or carry limits too low to cover all of the damage and injuries from an accident. It will cover you and your passengers for injuries and your vehicle from damage when you’re not at fault but there is insufficient liability coverage from the other driver. Coverage usually matches your liability limits.
- Medical Payments – This provides for extra medical and death benefits for you or anyone riding in your car regardless of fault. It can also apply to anyone covered by your policy that is injured by another vehicle as a pedestrian.
Providing Proof of Insurance in Oklahoma
Oklahoma drivers are required by law to carry proof of insurance at all times and present it both when registering a vehicle and when asked to do so by police during a traffic stop. Failure to provide proof can result in a number of penalties.
A driver caught without insurance may either have their vehicle towed or their license plate seized by the police officer at the scene, at the officer’s discretion under a new law that has been enforced since January 2014. When plates are seized, a 10-day temporary insurance policy is placed on the vehicle, and the driver must:
- Pay a $125 administrative fee for the plate seizure
- Pay a fine of $250 for failure to obey the financial responsibility law
- Obtain an insurance policy and provide proof in order to reinstate the plates
Additional penalties for driving uninsured can include:
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Suspension of vehicle registration and plates
Although drivers must still carry proof of insurance, Oklahoma also has an electronic insurance verification system known as the Oklahoma Compulsory Insurance Verification System (OCIVS). All insurance companies in the state report policy information including cancellations and new policies through this system, providing a record of which vehicles are in compliance with the law – and which are not.
A driver who is involved in an accident and is found at fault without insurance can be held personally responsible for all costs associated with the accident, including injuries and damage to property. Legal ramifications still apply even if the uninsured driver is not at fault.
Drivers may be required to file an SR-22 after an accident without insurance. This document certifies that the driver has the required liability insurance coverage, and is sent directly to the DMV by the insurance company.
Buying Car Insurance in Oklahoma
Oklahoma car insurance rates ranked as the 11th highest in the US, according to a 2017 study performed by Insure.com. Their annual average premium came in at $1476, compared to the national average of $1318.
The Insurance Commissioner’s website offers residents tips for shopping for car insurance and saving money. There is a rate comparison chart included that provides sample rates across top Oklahoma insurers as well, to help drivers compare companies.
Oklahoma allows the use of credit scores as part of the rating system for determining car insurance rates in the state. There are a number of other factors that can go into determining rates as well, including driving record, type of vehicle, and commuting distance.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Oklahoma provides a program for drivers who are considered to be high risk and have trouble qualifying for car insurance on the open market. The Oklahoma Automobile Insurance Plan is an assigned risk plan. Drivers who have not been able to obtain a policy can sign up for this plan in order to maintain the legally required coverage.
All insurance companies in the state are required to participate in the plan, which will assign high-risk drivers to a particular insurance company, allowing the risk to be spread out. These policies can be very expensive and are considered to be the last resort choice for drivers who are unable to get coverage any other way.
Teen Driver Licensing
Teens in Oklahoma pass through a multi-stage licensing program that allows them to develop driving skills over time. This graduated licensing program runs from age 15 through 18, which several levels of licensing, each with a set of restrictions.
Teens who are at least 15 years of age can begin driver education and drive only when with a certified instructor.
At 15 years and 6 months old, teens can obtain a learner’s permit if they are enrolled in a driver education program. Without driver education, a learner’s permit is not available until 16 years old. A written test and vision screening are required for the permit.
Drivers with a learner’s permit can drive only when accompanied by a fully licensed driver at least 21 years old.
The teen driver with a clean record can obtain an intermediate license when:
- They have held a learner’s permit for at least 6 months
- They have completed 50 hours of practice time behind the wheel, with 10 of those hours at night
- They have passed a road test
This license allows unsupervised driving, but there are still restrictions that must be followed:
- Driving is permitted only between the hours of 4:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., except for work, religious, or school purposes or when accompanied by a driver 21 or older with a full license. When accompanied by a licensed driver over 21, you are permitted to drive at any hour.
- Only one passenger is permitted unless the passengers are family members or there is a driver over 21 will a full license in the passenger seat
At 18 years old, as long as the teen has held an intermediate license for at least 6 months with a clean record, a full license can be obtained. At this time there are no further restrictions on driving privileges.
Teen drivers in Oklahoma are subject to the same financial responsibility laws as all other drivers, even during the intermediate licensing phase. For most teens, insurance is obtained through a parent or guardian, who can add the teen driver to their current insurance policy. A teen can stay on the policy of a parent or guardian even while away at school, as long as they maintain their permanent residence at home.
Teens who have moved away from home will need to meet the financial responsibility requirements through their own liability insurance policy.
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