Some people in Oklahoma buy car insurance without thinking too much about what the law requires and what their policy ultimately covers. If they get into an auto accident, they may be shocked to learn that they don’t have as much coverage as they believed. You don’t want to fall in that camp. Please check out our following guide to Oklahoma car insurance, review your own policy and consider whether it meets your needs.
Auto Insurance that Oklahoma Law Requires
You cannot register a vehicle in Oklahoma unless you have certain minimum levels of liability insurance, or “limits.” This insurance pays for any bodily injury or property damage that you cause in an accident. At a minimum, your insurance must cover:
- $25,000 for injury or death (per person)
- $50,000 for injury or death (per accident)
- $20,000 for property damage (per accident).
This insurance pays other people if you cause an accident, and you can buy higher amounts of coverage to give yourself added protection. Liability insurance does not cover your own car damage, medical bills, lost income and other losses. If you cause a crash, and your insurer must pay a claim, you should expect your auto insurance payments to increase.
Optional Auto Insurance in Oklahoma
Liability is the only type of auto insurance that Oklahoma law requires. If you get into a crash in Oklahoma that another driver causes, you typically would file a claim through that driver’s liability coverage to recover compensation for your losses. However, you can buy different types of optional coverage which can provide important protection if you should ever get into a crash. Those options include:
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage
Your insurer must offer this coverage. You can decline it. However, it is a good idea to have it. Here’s why: UM pays for your bodily injury damages such as medical bills if you get into a crash with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. So, if you have UM, you won’t be left on the hook in that situation. You would instead file a claim with your own insurer (and Oklahoma law prohibits the insurer from raising your premiums simply because you filed a claim). UM also covers family members in your household and passengers in your car at the time of the wreck. UM does not coverage property damage.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage
Many people in Oklahoma carry only the minimum amount of liability coverage. Given the cost of medical care today, you could quickly reach those limits if you are in an accident that another person causes. UIM basically fills the gap. It covers the difference between what the other driver’s insurance covers and your total bodily injury damages (up to the limits of your policy).
Collision and comprehensive coverage
Collision pays for damage to your car if you are in an accident – regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive pays for any damage to your car that is unrelated to an accident such as storm-related damage. Although both types of coverage are optional, it is a good idea to have this protection in case you get into a wreck with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, or if you have concerns about vehicle damage in some of the powerful storms that we get in Oklahoma every spring. Of course, if you have a car loan, the lender may require collision and comprehensive.
Medical Payments (Medpay) coverage
Medpay can cover minor medical costs if you are in a crash. Again, it does not matter who is at fault. This coverage may be helpful to cover initial treatment bills as you pursue a claim against another driver or file a UM claim.
Review Your Auto Insurance Policy Today
If you are not sure what your auto insurance policy covers, you should read through the Declarations page of your policy. If you have only liability insurance – and only in the minimum amounts required – you should strongly consider getting more protection. Check out the Oklahoma Department of Insurance website to learn more or read through this National Association of Insurance Commissioners guide.
Of course, if you get into an auto accident of any kind, you should make sure to contact an experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can review your insurance policy and help you to identify all sources of compensation available to you.