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Before obtaining a registration for a vehicle in Oklahoma, owners must obtain proof of liability insurance. The state mandates specific minimums with regards to the amount of coverage required, before a vehicle may be legally driven. Vehicle owners should keep in mind that these minimums are exactly that, the bare minimum. Most insurance companies recommend a more comprehensive policy.
What Are the Regulated Minimums?
Auto insurance in Oklahoma must include policy limits of at least:
* $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person
* $50,000 for injury or death of two or more persons
* $25,000 toward property damage
Drivers must also always have proof of coverage in the vehicle. If an accident occurs, the driver must be able to provide insurance information to any parties involved in the accident.
What is Covered Under Liability?
Car insurance in Oklahoma must meet the minimum liability requirements, but it is important for drivers to be aware of what that entails. Liability coverage covers three basic categories:
1. Liability coverage for bodily injury.
2. Liability coverage for property damage.
3. Uninsured motorist coverage in the event the other party does not have insurance.
Essentially, this means that if a driver is at fault in an accident, the insurance company pays out damages up to the policy limits. Alternatively, if the driver is not at fault during a collision, but the other party does not have insurance, damages are still covered.
What is Covered Under a Comprehensive Policy?
While many drivers seek cheap car insurance in Oklahoma, more comprehensive policies offer greater coverage. Liability insurance protects other drivers on the road, while collision or comprehensive protects the policy holder. Collision protects the policy holder from costs incurred due to an accident, regardless of fault. Comprehensive protects the policy holder from other hazards that may damage a vehicle. Falling objects, theft, vandalism and broken glass are a few potential situations where comprehensive insurance bears the cost. The insured must choose a deductible amount, typically $250, $500 or $1,000, when choosing the policy.
Choosing an Insurance Carrier
Many companies offer car insurance quotes in Oklahoma. Some of the most commonly used are:
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many more companies offering auto insurance quotes in Oklahoma. These are simply some of the most well-known and top rated.
Understanding Car Insurance Ratings
Car insurance ratings in Oklahoma offer drivers a quick and easy way to compare different companies. Most auto insurance ratings in Oklahoma are broken down into four basic categories.
1. Different types of policy offered
3. Ease and accuracy of payments and billing
4. How easy it is to get in contact with the insurer
Choosing cheap auto insurance in Oklahoma does not always give drivers the type of coverage desired. Drivers must make sure they receive both the scope of coverage desired and the service to go with it.
Comprehensive vs. Liability
While Oklahoma only requires liability insurance, that does not protect vehicle owners from theft. The numbers are sobering. More than 10,000 automobiles are stolen each year in Oklahoma. With liability insurance, vehicle owners have no recourse if the police do not recover the vehicle. Owners are stuck with the entire replacement cost of the vehicle, and no help from the insurance company. Comprehensive insurance addresses the issue and gives drivers peace-of-mind.
Cost of Auto Insurance in Oklahoma
Oklahoma places at #2 on a comparison of average insurance rates nationwide. The national average is a mere $1,438, with Oklahoma drivers paying an average of $2,047. Several factors contribute to the high cost of car insurance in Oklahoma. Currently, uninsured motorist make up an estimated 24% of vehicles on the road. That affects the rates for both liability and comprehensive policies. Since the insurance company must pay out in the event of a collision with an unisured driver, they charge the insured a higher premium due to the tremendously high number of uninsured vehicles on the road. Officials take the issue seriously and are working to reduce that number significantly in the next few years. Increased penalties and fines are a few of the suggestions to make drivers take insurance coverage more seriously.
Another reason for the high cost is the weather. The storm seasons in recent years caused high losses. Last year, Oklahoma was hit by two major blizzards and numerous tornadoes. The prior year was the year of softball-sized hail stones. The weather caused considerable direct damage to vehicles, and also contributed to the number of accidents. Population density also affects insurance rates. While premiums are high statewide, the insured in rural areas enjoy significantly lower rates when compared to urban areas. Insurance companies charge based on the likelihood that a driver will be in an accident.
What are the Statistics for Drivers in Oklahoma?
Safe drivers make the roadways safer for everyone, but one unsafe driver can cause untold havoc. Drunk driving, in particular, is a continuing issue. Most drivers are in an accident once every five years. Each year, more than 230 people die in alcohol related car accidents. Some year's that number reaches above 300. Many more sustain serious and life-altering injuries. Car insurance policies protect drivers and passengers alike from the careless mistakes of other vehicle operators.
Don't Get the Minimum, Get the Best
With a cut-rate policy that only meets the bare minimum of the legal requirements, vehicle owners could still face significant financial liability. New cars frequently carry price tags well in excess of the $25,000 minimum property coverage amount required by law. If involved in an accident with a new car, the insured could wind up making up the difference between the policy maximum and the actual value out-of-pocket. Carrying higher policy limits costs more in the short-term, but it can be a life saver in the long-term.
Plus, medical expenses can quickly out-strip the $25,000 set aside for an individual. In the event of an accident, it is important to have coverage that actually pays out enough to limit an individual's potential liability. Automobile owners should never settle for the cheapest and most minimalist policy. Instead, find coverage that truly protects all parties if the worst should occur. Most accidents are fender-benders, but drivers must be prepared in case they are involved in something more serious.