Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Oklahoma: Do You Need It?

Oklahoma doesn’t legally require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need it.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
high percentage of uninsured drivers makes
uninsured motorist coverage
important, even if it isn’t a legal requirement.
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma does not require uninsured motorist coverage—but does that mean you don’t need it?
A 2021
Insurance Information Institute
study found that 13.4% of Oklahoma drivers were uninsured in 2019. Recent reports shared by Oklahoma’s Insurance Commissioner indicate that number has grown to 24% for 2022, placing Oklahoma among the top six states in the nation for uninsured drivers this year.
But why should it matter to you whether someone else carries the proper insurance or not? Because it means you have a much higher chance of being in an accident with an uninsured driver. Plus, Oklahoma’s requirements for minimum bodily injury coverage will likely only cover a percentage of your medical expenses.
All of this means you’re more likely to be in an accident with a driver whose insurance won’t be enough to cover your costs than one that will.
That’s why it’s important to include uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage in your auto insurance policy. UM/UIM coverage kicks in when an at-fault driver’s liability insurance or lack of coverage leaves you with unpaid bills and expenses. If you’re in an accident where an uninsured or underinsured motorist is at-fault, your UM/UIM coverage will pay for medical bills and expenses.
Luckily, even in a state like Oklahoma where more drivers choose to carry little or no insurance, UM/UIM coverage still only adds an average of $162 annually to your premium.

How uninsured motorist insurance works in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s car insurance laws
include the following:
Bodily injury liability coverage pays for medical bills, while property damage coverage pays for the other driver’s vehicle repairs if you cause an accident.
This is the only required auto insurance in Oklahoma, and, for those who choose to carry coverage at all, this is often the maximum they have. This means if your bills and expenses are higher than the maximum the at-fault driver’s coverage will pay—which will very likely be the case—you’re left responsible for those payments.

What’s available

Now that you know how important uninsured motorist coverage can be in Oklahoma, let’s see what types of coverage are available. Because it’s so important,
Sections 36-3636
of the Oklahoma Statutes require all insurance companies operating in the state to offer this coverage, and you must decline it in writing if you wish to forego coverage. In Oklahoma, UM/UIM coverage is offered in three forms or levels.
  • Drivers can match their UM/UIM coverage to the amount of bodily injury liability coverage they carry if they choose to carry more than the minimum required by law.
  • Drivers can choose a minimum of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident UM/UIM coverage.
  • Drivers can specify the amount of UM/UIM coverage they wish to carry over the required $25,000/$50,000 minimum.
While carrying
collision coverage
can pick up the slack when it comes to property damage costs following an accident, UIM bodily injury coverage is particularly important to have. Your own health insurance may cover the cost of medical bills, but only UIM/UIMBI will cover things like lost wages or funeral expenses after the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage is tapped out.
MORE: Oklahoma car accident laws

What it covers

UM/UIM coverage in Oklahoma pays for bodily injury damages to you, members of your family who live with you, and other passengers in your car who may be injured by:
  • An uninsured motorist
  • A
  • An insured motorist whose coverage is inadequate to cover your medical expenses
While UM/UIM can sometimes cover some property damage costs, its main purpose is to cover medical expenses for you and your passengers. You may be thinking that Oklahoma’s minimum liability coverage amounts will be sufficient, but remember, your and your passengers’ medical expenses following an accident may not be limited to just ER and surgical costs. These costs include, and UM/UIM insurance will help cover:
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Long-term rehabilitative or nursing care
  • Medical devices such as wheelchairs
  • Retrofitting your house to accommodate a disability caused by the accident
  • Services such as yard work or cleaning that you’re no longer able to do
  • Pain and suffering (under certain circumstances) 
In a worst-case scenario, UM/UIM can also cover the costs of funeral expenses. Especially when you’ve done your due diligence by ensuring you have adequate liability coverage to pay for damages you may cause in an accident, the last thing you want or need is to wind up being responsible for medical bills someone else caused. The small added cost of UIM coverage is almost negligible when set against the benefits it provides.

How to make a claim 

Making a UM/UIM claim on your policy can be a bit more complicated than a normal claim, but it’s still fairly straightforward. As with anything to do with insurance, the more documentation you can provide your insurer, the better. That means you should not only make sure you get contact and insurance information for all other drivers involved in the accident but also save all bills, paperwork, and forms associated with your expenses following the accident.
To begin the UM/UIM claim process, the first thing you’ll need to do is contact your insurance company and explain what happened. This is when you’ll be directed to provide all the documents you’ve saved, such as medical records, accident reports, and medical bills.
Remember, if your medical expenses exceed the maximum payout for your UM/UIM coverage, you’ll be responsible for making up the difference. That’s why Oklahoma provides residents with the option of carrying more than just a minimum of coverage.

Why it’s a good idea to buy uninsured motorist insurance in Oklahoma

Not many people look for ways to spend more money where doing so isn’t required. Since uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required in Oklahoma, it will represent an additional cost over that required to meet state minimums. Despite this small added expense, there are still many excellent reasons why you should opt to carry this coverage anyway. Here are just a few.

Up to one in four Oklahoma drivers is uninsured

You're reading that right—there’s a 25% chance that if you’re in an accident in Oklahoma, the other driver will not have insurance. 
It’s also more likely that an uninsured driver will attempt to flee the scene of an accident, leaving you responsible for all of your expenses following a hit-and-run. Obviously, if the driver responsible for the crash flees, you can’t file a claim with their insurance, which leaves you uncovered.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage,
personal injury protection
(PIP), or
medical payments coverage (MedPay)
are the only things that will allow you to avoid the out-of-pocket expenses that will follow an Oklahoma hit-and-run accident. That’s why this type of insurance is so important to have. 

$57,000 average cost for post-car-accident hospital expenses

The average cost for a hospital stay following a car accident is $57,000. Remember, Oklahoma law only requires drivers to carry $25,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage for each person. That’s $32,000 unaccounted for that your health insurance will have to cover.
This means you’ll be responsible not only for your deductibles but also for any damages still not covered by your policy. 

Oklahoma only requires $50,000 per accident bodily injury liability coverage

Even if $25,000 each is enough to cover medical expenses for you and one other person—which is unlikely—what happens if you have more than just one passenger in your car? Remember, each person’s average hospital bill following an accident is over $50,000, but Oklahoma’s minimum insurance requirement is only $25,000 per person for two people. 
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