Oklahoma, known as “The Sooner State,” has another distinction: the highest rate of uninsured motorists in the nation, according to the Insurance Information Institute. More than one in four vehicle owners do not have the state’s minimum liability coverage, putting all drivers at extra risk. However, the state has recently introduced an online insurance verification system designed to slash the number of uninsured motorists on the road. Read on to learn more about the right way to stay covered in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Vehicle Insurance Requirements
Failure to buy mandatory car insurance is closely tied to poverty; auto insurance is simply out of reach for some people. It may come as little surprise that in Oklahoma, the least-insured state in the country, one out of six Oklahomans lives in poverty, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures.
In an effort to lose its title as the least-insured state in the country, Oklahoma is cracking down with steep fines and penalties for drivers who fail to get required coverage. But according to the Consumer Federation of America, low-cost insurance for low-income people is another, perhaps more practical, solution.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Oklahoma?
All car and truck owners are required to carry at least the minimum liability coverage required by Oklahoma law. The only other option to insurance is posting a $75,000 bond per vehicle.
When Do You Need to Show Proof of Insurance?
Oklahoma drivers must give proof of insurance when registering a vehicle and at traffic stops.
State law requires the proof of insurance to include:
- Name and address of the insurance company
- The vehicle owner’s name
- The vehicle’s make, model, year and VIN (vehicle identification number).
- The policy’s start and end dates
What Oklahoma Requires for Vehicle Insurance
Oklahoma residents must have at least these minimum levels of liability insurance before they can register their vehicles:
- $25,000 per person for injury
- $50,000 for all injuries
- $25,000 for property damage
Alternatives to Insurance in Oklahoma
Drivers who don’t want to buy auto insurance can secure their financial responsibility with a $75,000 bond to the state DMV for each vehicle they register. High-risk drivers who cannot get auto insurance or a bond can call the Oklahoma Automobile Insurance Plan for assistance at 866-667-2827 or 405-842-0844.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Oklahoma?
Drivers caught without auto insurance in Oklahoma face harsh penalties:
- Fines of up to $250
- Up to 30 days in jail
- A driver’s license suspension
Oklahoma used to seize and impound cars if people were caught driving without insurance, but a new law allows them to assign temporary insurance without taking the plates or towing your car.
Reinstating an Oklahoma driver’s license involves:
- Completing the suspension period, which varies.
- Paying any court-ordered fines.
- Giving the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety an SR22 document from the insurance company.
- Paying reinstatement fees, which can vary.
The state’s Public Safety Office answers questions about specific fees and fines at 405-425-2424. Just give your full name, date of birth and Oklahoma driver’s license number.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need in Oklahoma?
Although Oklahoma requires minimum liability coverage, you may need to buy other insurance as well. Collision and comprehensive coverage, which offers crash protection for the owner as well as damage for other reasons, is typically required to lease a vehicle or secure a car loan.
Oklahoma Lack Vehicle Insurance? 25.9% National Average: 12.6 %
If you can afford it, experts say that it’s best to buy liability insurance in the amounts of 100/300 – that is, $100,000 per injury and $300,000 per accident. Considering the high rate of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma, you may want to get uninsured motorist coverage as well, which would cover you if you’re hit by someone without insurance.
For more on buying car insurance, see the MoneyGeek guide to car insurance 101.
Teen Drivers in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, teens follow a graduated driver’s license program designed to protect them while they’re learning to drive. You have to have your parents’ approval and proof of insurance for your car to receive a learner’s permit. According to the Oklahoma Department of Insurance, insurance companies may offer a lower rate for teen drivers if the owner agrees to a higher deductible. Drivers who reach the age of 18 can apply for an unrestricted license, allowing them to operate a car at any time.
How a Teen Affects Your Oklahoma Car Insurance Premium
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,979 increase This is a difference of 106%.
Average annual premium increase if a teen gets a speeding ticket for driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit:
Will Your Teen Get a Discount in Oklahoma?
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$256 saved
Compare Premiums from Oklahoma Insurance Providers
Do policy costs vary? Check out the annual average premiums for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Oklahoma:
|Oklahoma Farm Bureau||$1,934||$4,860||$12,608|
How Car Choice Affects Oklahoma Premiums
Since sports cars are associated with speeding, insurers consider them a higher-risk car -- and charge more to insure them.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Oklahoma
If you’re a nonresident student enrolled at an Oklahoma college or university (or the spouse or child of a non-resident student), you do not have to get an Oklahoma license if you hold a valid license from your home state.
If you’re an Oklahoma resident enrolled in an out-of-state school, you have to inform the insurance company if the vehicle will be used in another state for 30 days or more each year. Whether you need to change your license depends on the state, but you’ll likely need to match your new state’s insurance.
Oklahoma Teen Drivers vs. College Age Students
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$675 decrease This is a decrease of 17%.
Compare Annual Rates for Oklahoma Insurers
Each year, take a look at your policy before it renews to see whether you could get a better deal. Here are the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Oklahoma.
|Oklahoma Farm Bureau||$1,934||$4,543||$9,924|
Oklahoma College Drivers: Distance Discount
You may see a modest break in your family’s premium if your student lives 150+ miles away from home.
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
- $4,221 at home
- $3,920 at school
- $301 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $3,557 at home
- $3,358 at school
- $199 in savings
Which Cars Drive Up Your Premium in Oklahoma?
You can save money on your auto insurance premium if your college drives a sedan or minivan rather than a sports car.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$4,733
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$3,280
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Oklahoma
Military families and vets in Oklahoma will need auto insurance to register their vehicles with the DMV. Just by being in the military or having served, you can get a discount on car insurance in Oklahoma, either from one of the major insurance companies or a carrier focused just on serving the armed forces. AFI, USAA, State Farm, Geico and other carriers licensed in Oklahoma all offer military discounts on auto insurance and other policies, such as homeowner’s insurance. Some carriers offer additional discounts for buying two or more policies for different insurance needs.
The 22,000 active duty military personnel who are either residents of Oklahoma or stationed in the state are entitled to a reduced annual registration fee. Oklahoma offers an auto renewal system for online registration of your vehicle. If you need to garage a vehicle during deployment, ask potential carriers if you can suspend coverage and premium payments while your vehicle is not in use.
Oklahoma Service Members:
How Vehicle Choice Affects Your Premium
SUVs and pickups are more likely to be involved in rollover crashes, but according to our research, an older model SUV has less impact on your premium than a recent model sports car.
Military Drivers: How Premium Ranges Differ by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age Savings for Oklahoma
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Compare Average Premiums Available to Oklahoma Military Personnel
When you're looking for the most affordable auto insurance, it pays to shop around. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Oklahoma.
Seniors in Oklahoma
Oklahoma does not require insurance carriers to give discounts to seniors, although many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers 55 and older who complete an approved safe driving course. Other discounts may be available for low-mileage drivers and multi-vehicle owners.
Undocumented Workers in Oklahoma
Undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma can apply for a driver’s license if they qualify under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA). This means they must have entered the United States before turning 16, lived in the country at least five years and be younger than 31, among other things. Check with DACA and your local DMV for details.
Ridesharing Insurance in Oklahoma: Are You at Risk?
Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies (TNCs) recently came under regulation by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. State law now requires background checks on drivers, safety inspections of their vehicles and liability insurance.
If you’re a ridesharing driver, check with your insurance agent to make sure what your TNC policy covers. Most personal auto policies do not cover driving for pay, so you may need to buy ridesharing or gap insurance to be fully covered.
Car Accidents: How to File a Claim in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, the police are required to file an accident report where there is injury, death or property damage. The report is typically the first resource insurance companies turn to when evaluating a claim. If an accident happens, the Oklahoma Insurance Department advises you to:
- Stay calm
- Call the police
- Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver(s)
- Record the make and license numbers of all the vehicles in the accident
- Take photos of the accident scene if you can
- Get the names and contact info of all passengers and witnesses
- Don’t admit fault (the police and insurance company will determine that)
- Report the accident to the insurance company as soon as possible
- Ask the officer on the scene how to get a copy of the police report
In Oklahoma, you have up to two years to file a lawsuit in a car or truck crash if you are unsatisfied with an insurance company’s settlement.
Driver Safety: How Does Oklahoma Rank?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 17.7 fatal car crashes in Oklahoma per 100,000 people, as compared to 10.6 nationwide.
Toby Taylor, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, is well aware of those statistics. The office is trying to reduce those numbers, he says. Strengthening seat belt laws is top priority. “The office wants a law that would let police immediately stop a vehicle if they see (any) passengers riding without safety restraints,” says Taylor.
Drunk driving is another priority, Taylor says. The state has increased penalties for driving under the influence, including up to a year in jail for the first DUI. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety urge Oklahoma to better combat impaired driving by requiring ignition interlocks — a device which will turn off the motor if it detects alcohol on your breath – for all DUIs.
The state has also introduced an insurance verification system designed to reduce the number of uninsured motorists on the road, Taylor says. Police are aggressively pursuing verification at traffic stops. Oklahoma drivers who harbor any doubt whether they’re insurance is active, Taylor says, should verify it here before they drive.
Oklahoma Driver Safety Ranking
The driver safety table shows the different safety factors that contribute to your state's overall safety rank (in the green box). The overall safety ranking and the National Ranking column scores in each category (including crash fatality rates) are from safest to most dangerous, with 1st being the safest and 51st the least safe.
How did we create the safety rankings?
We created a traffic safety ranking of all US states plus the District of Columbia by combining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We looked at fatality rates by distance traveled as well as by population and gave more weight to behaviors that were riskier and preventable (i.e., drunk driving, not using a seat belt), as well as to accidents that involved more than one party (i.e., multi-vehicle).
|Driver Safety Profile||Number of Fatalities||Fatality Rate
The fatality rate is the rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled, except for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality measures, which are per measured per a population of 100,000.
Rankings are in order of safest to least safe. A state with the lowest fatality rate would be the safest, and thus ranked #1.
|Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities||170||3.53||31st|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||248||5.17||40th|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||77||1.60||47th|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||333||6.94||50th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||678||14.13||43rd|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Oklahoma: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
Oklahoma is one of the few states with an optimal bicycle safety law, one that requires all cyclists to wear helmets. It also has many other strong safety laws, including a complete ban on texting and driving. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety encourages the state to protect young drivers still further by prohibiting them from talking on cell phones while driving and extending young driver protections through age 17.
Safe Driving Laws – Oklahoma
|Mandatory seat belts||(partial)||Drivers and front-seat passengers must wear seatbelts; no primary enforcement for rear seat passengers.|
|Child passenger safety||Children under 7 must ride in an appropriate safety seat.|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||Zero tolerance for drivers under 21. The DUI limit for other drivers is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. A first-time DUI can result in more than $1,300 in fines and up to a year in jail; if a minor is present, fines up $2,000 and incarceration up to four years.|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||(partial)||Required on second and subsequent convictions.|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||Texting banned. Drivers with intermediate or learners permit may not use cell phone while driving.|
|Protections for young drivers||Age-based graduated driver’s license program (GDL) where young drivers progress in stages toward a full license. No unsupervised driving between 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.; restrictions on more than one passenger.|
|Motorcycle helmet law||(partial)||Required for all riders under 18.|
|Bicycle helmet law||No statewide law.|
Car Insurance Resources for Oklahoma Residents
A guide to buying auto insurance in the Sooner State.
State driver’s manual, including information on how to apply for a license, testing, fees and insurance requirements.
Frequently asked questions about auto insurance requirements in Oklahoma.
Provides resources on highway safety laws and campaigns.