This page has all the information you’ll need to understand car insurance in Oklahoma. Keep reading to learn about required coverage, what the state’s “no pay, no play” law means for you, penalties for driving without insurance, discounts, and more.
Oklahoma is a “tort” state that requires all drivers to have insurance. According to state law, you’ll have to prove you have coverage when you:
Oklahoma law sets standards that all auto insurance policies must meet. Those standards require every policy to include a minimum amount of liability coverage. The following table breaks down the requirements.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$25,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident
$50,000 total for all injuries in an accident
|Property damage liability||$25,000 total per accident|
When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $50,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $25,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 25/50/25. You can buy higher minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s medical bills or car repairs. It only covers those costs for accident victims. To buy coverage for the driver, read the “optional coverages” section.
If you break the law and drive uninsured, it could mean some serious financial setbacks. If someone crashes your uninsured car, you could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills. You could also get your car impounded, your driver’s license suspended, and your license plates seized. On top of that, you could have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees:
|No. of offenses||Fine||License suspension||License plate confiscation||Other penalties|
|Any||$250||Until you prove you’re insured & pay $275 reinstatement fee||Until you prove you’re insured & pay $125 fee||Car impoundment|
If you’re uninsured and get caught, you have 10 days to get car insurance. In those 10 days, you’ll be covered under the state’s Temporary Motorist Liability Plan. The plan charges a daily rate, currently $10. It will cover you at Oklahoma’s minimum car insurance limits until you can get proper coverage. You’ll still be subject to all of the penalties for driving uninsured.
Oklahoma authorities can tell whether or not you have car insurance. They do so by using an online system called the Oklahoma Compulsory Insurance Verification System. This system puts a hard stop to fake insurance ID cards and other attempts at ducking insurance requirements.
Oklahoma has a “no pay, no play” law. That means uninsured drivers are treated differently when they get into an accident.
If you’re uninsured and get into an accident, the law allows you to sue other drivers only for economic damages. That includes things like medical bills and car repairs. You can’t sue for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
In Oklahoma, you can prove you have car insurance electronically. Officials gave the go-ahead for electronic proof of insurance in November 2013.
In addition to required liability coverage, there are optional coverages you can add to your policy. They’ll raise the your insurance bills, but you’ll be better protected. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state:
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. About two-thirds of Oklahoma drivers bought comprehensive coverage in 2011.
Comprehensive coverage may be more valuable in some parts of the state. The National Insurance Crime Bureau found that, in 2012, Oklahoma City and its surrounding metro area had the 15th-highest rate of car thefts of any city in the U.S. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, your insurer won’t pay to replace a stolen car.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. About two-thirds of Oklahoma drivers bought this coverage in 2011.
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after an accident. It does so when the driver who caused the accident either:
Although Oklahoma doesn’t require this coverage, you’ll have to reject UM in writing if you don’t want it.
Oklahoma UM policies only cover medical bills. To cover your property damage and/or car repairs, look into buying collision coverage.
It pays for the cost of renting a car after an accident.
It pays for towing and labor due to a mechanical breakdown.
It pays for medical bills of the insured driver or passengers hurt in an accident. It applies regardless of fault.
It pays the difference between an insurance company’s payment for a totaled car and the remaining balance on the car’s loan or lease.
It pays for the cost of replacing electronic equipment damaged in an accident.
Oklahoma has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the U.S. In the Sooner State, about 25% of drivers lack auto insurance, according to industry research. That means there’s about a 1-in-4 chance that when someone crashes into you, they will be unable to pay for your accident-related damages.
So be prepared. The following optional coverages will pay for medical bills for you, your family, and any passengers if they’re injured by an uninsured driver:
The following optional coverages will pay for repairing your car if it’s damaged by an uninsured driver:
If you don’t have any of those coverages, your medical bills and property damages might come completely out of your own wallet.
Year after year, Oklahoma is hit with harsh weather.
Tornadoes are a regular occurrence in Oklahoma, and they have the potential to destroy your car. That fact was on display after a set of tornadoes that hit the state in May 2013. Those tornadoes led to about 38,600 car insurance claims, which ended up costing insurers around $138 million.
Another weather event car owners may be worried about is hail, which can also seriously damage a vehicle. According to a 2012 report from the Highway Loss Data Institute, the average car insurance claim for hail damage is around $3,410 in Oklahoma.
Between 2008 and 2011, the Sooner State had 55,000 hail claims that cost insurers about $188 million. That figure was the 2nd-highest in the U.S. during that period.
If you want to protect your car from harsh weather, you need comprehensive coverage. Without it, any damages from hail, tornadoes, or other weather events won’t be covered by your policy.
Oklahoma uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance pays your medical and repair bills.
But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.
If you’re partially responsible, it changes how much you can get from the other driver’s insurer. Oklahoma uses “modified comparative fault” to determine payment. Here are the details:
If you’re at least 50% responsible for the accident: The other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay any of your bills. You have to completely rely on your own policy.
If you’re less than 50% responsible for the accident: The other driver’s insurer will pay your bills. But the amount they pay will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re 20% responsible for an accident, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay 100% of your bills. Instead, it pays only 80%, since you were 20% responsible. So in this example, if you have $10,000 in bills from an accident, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.
So what if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay your bills? You use your own policy. Medical payments coverage will help pay your medical bills. Collision will help pay your repair bills. But both of those coverages are optional. You’ll be on your own if you didn’t add them to your policy.
Compared to other states, Oklahoma auto insurance prices are about average. In 2011, the average cost of an Oklahoma policy was 3.3% cheaper than the national average.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Sooner State:
Oklahoma rewards drivers who keep up on their driving skills. According to state law, insurers have to give you a discount if you complete an accident prevention course. The course must be at least 6 hours long and approved by your insurance company. Once you get the discount, it’s good for 3 years.
If you want to see what a major insurance company’s policy document looks like, Oklahoma regulators allow you to do so. The Insurance Department lets you preview the policy documents used by the 10 largest car insurance companies in the state. With these previews, you can familiarize yourself with the policy specifics before you actually apply for coverage.
Is there a delay with your claim payout? Or is there another problem you want regulatory officials to know about? Regulatory officials provide an online complaint tool so that you can file an official complaint.
If you’ve had a hard time finding a car insurer who will cover you (usually because of marks on your driving record), you can still turn to the Oklahoma Automobile Insurance Plan. The Plan is the car insurer of last resort for the state’s high-risk drivers.
Oklahoma's outbreak of tornadoes in May 2013 resulted in 38,600 car insurance claims, which ended up costing insurers around $138 million. The average claim was nearly $3,600.