Drivers pay a lot for auto insurance in Oklahoma. The state’s high number of uninsured drivers pushes the average premium more than 20 percent above the national average. However, there are plenty of opportunities to cut that cost. All you have to do is shop around.
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Oklahoma’s Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
Oklahoma insurance minimums require drivers to have $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage. This is known as 25/50/25 coverage.
Why are rates so individualized?
On the whole, car insurance quotes are highly personalized, and there’s no way to say one company has the cheapest rates across the board. You’ll have to do some research to find the best options for yourself. Each provider uses its own proprietary formula to determine how much to charge you. They gather data about you, including the car you drive and how many accidents or infractions you’ve had recently, and use it to calculate your quote. On top of that, each one places a different weight on all those factors. To find out who offers you the cheapest car insurance, try to get at least three or four quotes and compare them.
How long does the quote process take?
Online quotes are pretty straightforward and take less than five minutes. Three quotes can take you as little as 15 minutes from start to finish. For each quote, you’ll simply answer a few basic questions about yourself and your vehicle, and then you’ll be presented with a fully customizable policy. If you have to get a quote over the phone, expect it to take 10 to 15 minutes. It might not be the most exciting way to spend your time, but the savings make it completely worth it.
What criteria should you look for when choosing insurance companies for price comparison?
Choose companies for their extremely high financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings, which you can pull from A.M. Best and J.D. Power, respectively. A.M. Best is a well-known financial solvency rating agency that grades companies on their long-term stability, and J.D. Power assesses customer satisfaction across many industries, including auto insurance. These factors are just as important as a low price. After all, when you get into an accident, the best car insurance providers should pay out without creating any unnecessary headaches for you. The worst are so financially unstable that they can’t pay your claim or may even already be bankrupt.
Why are Oklahoma’s rates so high?
Oklahoma’s average monthly auto insurance premium is nearly $40 above the national average, and that’s partly because the state is famously right in the middle of Tornado Alley. A greater chance of tornadoes and severe weather means a greater risk to insurers and, unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done about that. Oklahoma’s bigger problem, though, is the abundance of uninsured drivers. In 2013, lawmakers gave police the right to suspend vehicle registrations of uninsured drivers in an attempt to increase compliance with the law. But recent reports show this hasn’t been very effective. Insurers understand there’s a good chance an auto claim in Oklahoma is going to involve an uninsured driver, so they’ve raised their rates accordingly.
How can you lower your insurance rates?
There are a lot of factors that influence your auto insurance rates, but there are also a lot of steps you can take to lower them. One option is to move to a cheaper area. For example, in Lawton, Oklahoma, car insurance is about $30 cheaper a year than it is in Tulsa. Most people probably aren’t going to do anything that drastic, but there are still other options available to get a lower rate. You can consider limiting how often you drive or completing a safe driver course. Both of these things are doable and can make you eligible for some nice discounts from most insurers.
What if you’re not a full-time resident?
If you work in Oklahoma, you must register your vehicle in the state within 30 days of gaining employment. Non-residents visiting Oklahoma may maintain their out-of-state registration for the first 60 days, but longer stays require registration and compliance with state insurance laws. Non-resident full-time university students or active-duty military personnel are exempt from these laws and may maintain their out-of-state registration.
Is Oklahoma a no-fault state?
Oklahoma is a “fault” state rather than a no-fault state. This difference affects how drivers file a compensation claim after an accident occurs. If you live in a no-fault state, you must file with your insurance provider, regardless of who is considered at fault for the accident. On the other hand, you have three options if you live in a fault state: You can file a claim with your own insurance, file with the other driver’s insurance, or sue for damages.
What is SR-22 auto insurance?
This is a document that proves a driver carries the legal minimum required amount of car insurance as mandated by state law. Generally, those who have had their driving privileges suspended (for example, due to a DUI conviction, traffic violation or driving while uninsured) must file an SR-22 form in order to reinstate their license. Most states require drivers to have an SR-22 form on file, but Oklahoma is one of the few that don’t. However, drivers are still required to carry liability insurance.
Is going with cheap car insurance the best option?
The minimum coverage isn’t always enough. Consider these facts: The average driver files a claim for an accident once every 17.9 years, and the average cost of a disabling, nonfatal injury is $93,800. Imagine you get into a car accident and give another driver a serious injury – let’s say causing $50,000 worth of property damages. If you have the cheapest car insurance, you’ll have only $25,000 coverage, and your provider will pay only half. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. The injured driver is likely to sue, and you’ll end up having to cover the remaining costs. Cheap car insurance is really a gamble. If you purchase higher liability coverage limits from the start, you won’t face that problem. You can enjoy greater peace of mind if you pay an extra hundred dollars for more coverage instead of risking being responsible for thousands of dollars in damages some day.
What other coverage options are there?
Over one quarter of Oklahoma drivers don’t have insurance, so you don’t want to be without uninsured motorist coverage. Getting rear-ended is bad enough. Getting rear-ended and having to pay for the damages yourself is a nightmare. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance will pay for the repairs, so you don’t have to.
Underinsured motorist coverage goes right along with uninsured coverage. If you get into an accident with a driver who has only the bare-minimum insurance, their policy may not cover the full extent of the damages. Underinsured motorist coverage will pay the extra to ensure you receive full compensation.
What happens if you’re caught without insurance?
Driving without insurance in Oklahoma will get you a ticket, possible towing of your vehicle and suspension of your car registration, at the discretion of the police officer. If your tags are seized, you’ll be given a temporary tag that provides you with liability coverage for 10 days. You must purchase auto insurance that meets Oklahoma’s minimums within that time or else your registration will be revoked indefinitely. In order to reinstate your registration, you must provide proof of insurance and pay the reinstatement fees.
Is loyalty to an insurance company important?
As a general rule, no insurance company has your best interest in mind despite how friendly they may seem. Oftentimes, adjusters are trained to be friendly on the phone to gain your trust while they slowly work the file in such a way to protect their company’s best financial interest. This occurs even if the insurance company you are dealing with is your own. It does not matter that you’ve paid insurance premiums to them for 20-plus years or that the agent who sold you the policy happens to be your neighbor or best friend. Once an accident occurs, you become a claim file with a claim number, and a projected dollar figure exposure is attached to that file.
What is the main takeaway?
The only way to find out which insurance provider offers the best deal is to get quotes and experiment with the coverage limits. There are more potential savings out there than you think. If you can, it’s recommended to go with more than the minimum coverage. You won’t notice a big difference in your monthly premium, and you’ll be grateful you planned ahead if you get into an accident. Take a few minutes now and see how much you can save.
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Here’s Why You Should Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years, Even If You’re Happy With Your Insurance
Though it’s not widely known, insurers don’t just look at who you are or how risky your driving is when they consider your rates. They also pay attention to how much you’re willing to pay. This is known as “price optimization,” and it involves the analysis of a ton of personal data – your credit score, your online shopping habits, and even your social media activity – to decide how likely you are to shop for different insurance. What might be most surprising is that despite the loyalty discounts you’re probably going to get for sticking with the same company, customer loyalty may actually work against you because you might be “rewarded” with gradual price increases that aren’t offset by those loyalty discounts.
Shopping around every year or two is a good habit to get into because it shows your insurer you’re interested in the best possible deal. Your insurer will then keep your rates more competitive to keep your business. Besides, even if your insurer doesn’t use price optimization, your risk to insurers changes over time, so you may find that every year or two your rates drop as well. If you’ve had an accident more than three years ago but haven’t gotten a new quote since, you should most definitely consider getting new quotes; insurers can use your driving history for only the past three years.
More than 15 states have banned price optimization, but Oklahoma hasn’t yet. This means it’s up to you to make sure your rates reflect you as a driver, not how likely you are to shop for different insurance (or what you’re posting on social media).
During your search, you should keep an eye out for any discounts you may be eligible for, such as good driver discounts for not having any accidents or violations for a certain time. You may qualify for a student discount if you are under the age of 25 and can provide proof of good grades.
You also have options if you are a low-credit driver. In fact, it’s especially important to widen your search if this applies to you because no two insurance companies will have the same prices on equivalent policies. Look into companies that specialize in taking on high-risk drivers because you’ll generally get a better rate than you can find elsewhere.
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