Auto Insurance Protection: What Drivers Need to Know

Oklahoma has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, according to an Insurance Research Council (IRC) study. In Oklahoma, every driver is required by law to purchase and maintain liability insurance, but buying insurance is complex and can be very confusing.

Oklahoma requires that a driver’s liability insurance include these minimum coverages per accident:

$25,000 for personal injury or death, per person;

$50,000 total for personal injury or death if multiple people were hurt in the accident; and

$25,000 for property damage.

Other types of auto insurance coverage are optional. However, two types of policies are often overlooked and underappreciated, but can make a big difference if you are in a collision: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist insurance.

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage? It protects you against drivers who are breaking the law by driving without insurance. If you are injured in a car accident and the driver at fault has no insurance coverage, you will be protected in your personal injury claim if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Without it, you may be out of luck.

What is covered by Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage? Uninsured Motorist coverage protects you, members of your family who reside in the same residence as you, and other passengers of the vehicle you are driving. This protection will cover expenses for personal injuries caused by an uninsured driver who is at fault. This coverage does not pay for property damages to your car, only personal injury, and possible reimbursement to you and your passengers’ lost wages.

Underinsured Motorist coverage essentially provides the same protections to the same classifications of persons. It covers expenses for personal injuries caused by an at-fault underinsured driver. Drivers are underinsured when the limits of their liability coverage do not meet the needs of a personal injury claim against them. This coverage also does not pay for property damages to your car, only personal injury.

Am I required to have these coverages? In Oklahoma, drivers are not required by law to carry these types of coverage. However, insurance companies must offer this coverage when they sell auto insurance. And, this is important: Because the insurance company is required to offer this type of insurance, they are required by law to have the purchaser sign a waiver if they choose not to buy Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage. If the insurance company cannot provide this waiver when it is requested during a claim, under state law, certain protections will be extended to the owner of the policy (e.g. additional damages may be collected).

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage can be very important to your personal injury claim should you be in a car accident. Drivers can trust our attorneys to know the ins and outs of insurance law – one of many reasons having the experienced team at Johnson & Biscone on your side is vital to receiving fair and just compensation.

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