How Much Car Insurance Do I Need in Oklahoma City?
When it comes to insuring the vehicle you drive every day, you want to make sure your coverage is both comprehensive enough to protect you and your vehicle and reasonably priced enough to protect your bank account. It can be a delicate balance to strike. The cheaper the insurance deals, the lesser your coverage, and vice versa (though many other factors also play into insurance rates).
Since not all coverage is technically required by law in Oklahoma, it is common for people to unknowingly have too little of it because they still meet the state minimum. Car accidents of any sort are incredibly expensive; those insurance add-ons you may have heard about are not just grabs for money. Especially in situations where the responsible party may lack sufficient coverage of their own, your insurance can be the only thing between you and bankruptcy after an accident.
What are Oklahoma’s minimum insurance requirements?
It is no secret that Oklahoma’s roads can be dangerous. We have several hundred fatal motor vehicle accidents a year. While we cannot totally prevent collisions from happening, we do want to mitigate as many risks and dangers as possible — including those beyond the physical. That is why every state, including ours, requires drivers of all sorts to have some level of auto insurance. Not only does this insurance help protect them and their loved ones if they’re injured in an accident, but it also protects any potential victims if the driver causes the car accident.
Like any other insurance, drivers must pay a premium for their coverage, depending upon the extent of the policy. To pay the least amount of money for your car insurance, you would get only the minimum coverage required by law. In Oklahoma, that means:
- $25,000 of bodily injury protection per person
- $50,000 per accident
- $25,000 in property damage protection
It may be tempting to go for that and that only — especially if finances are an issue — but the average car accident usually ends up costing way more than any of those minimums. Medical costs alone can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on your injuries. When your coverage doesn’t actually cover your damages, you end up paying out of pocket. Therefore, insurers recommend at least $100,000 for bodily injury, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 for property damage.
When someone’s reckless or negligent actions cause an accident with serious injuries, it is their insurance company that pays for the victim’s damages (and therefore anything remaining comes out of their pocket). This means both they and their insurance are likely to do anything possible to shift blame to the other party. With Oklahoma’s comparative negligence laws, the amount of damages a victim can recover is partially dependent on their share of blame. In fact, if someone is found to be more than 51% responsible for an accident, they can’t receive any damages at all, regardless of the severity of their injuries.
If your damages exceed the limits of your (or the at-fault driver’s) insurance coverage, going after the responsible party with an experienced personal injury attorney is your best bet for total compensation. Your health insurance can kick in to cover any medical expenses left over, but even that is not always enough — nor does it cover any property damage or non-medical bills. Personal injury attorneys fight on behalf of victims to make sure their compensation is as comprehensive as possible.
What happens if I’m hit by an uninsured driver?
While you are legally required to have car insurance, not every driver on the road follows that law. Others have the minimum requirement but nothing more, meaning likely not enough to cover the damages from a serious accident. Luckily, car insurance companies in Oklahoma must offer (although it is not required) additional, specific uninsured/underinsured coverage (UM/UIM) to protect victims in this very situation — namely, injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This coverage also protects victims in hit-and-run accidents who would otherwise have to pay out of pocket. It is important to note UM only covers personal injuries caused by the accident; a separate collision coverage you may also purchase covers any damage to your vehicle.
In an ideal world, insurance companies offering these coverages would make it relatively easy to actually use them as needed. If you are injured in an accident by an uninsured/underinsured driver or by a hit-and-run, you are meant to file the appropriate claim against those provisions, and then receive the necessary compensation. Unfortunately, the company’s own financial interests remain their priority, so they usually try to avoid paying any way they can.
With all these moving parts and every liable party trying to complicate and muddy the situation, victims can easily find themselves overwhelmed and taken advantage of without a legal representative on their side. After seeking medical attention and calling 911, finding a personal injury attorney should be anyone’s next step when they’ve been injured in any sort of accident.
Not only can your attorney make sure you’re treated fairly by the insurance company, they can also advise you on any further steps you may want to take regarding compensation. Experienced legal professionals are familiar with the dirty tricks insurance companies on all sides try to employ, along with anything the defendant may throw your way. They can tell you exactly how to gather evidence and build your case while also making sure you’re able to focus on rest and recovery.
The Oklahoma City personal injury attorney team at Cunningham & Mears takes pride in helping victims seek the justice and compensation they deserve. Whether you are an injured party in need of legal assistance or trying to better understand your insurance options, we are here for you however you need us to be. To schedule a free consultation, call us today or use our contact form.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More