If you’re involved in a car accident in Oklahoma, you’ll likely need to file an insurance claim to cover damages and injuries. Understanding Oklahoma’s auto insurance claim laws and regulations can help ensure your claim goes smoothly. This guide covers key laws, required coverages, the claims process, and tips for getting the best settlement.
Oklahoma Auto Insurance Requirements
Oklahoma is an “at-fault” state, meaning the driver responsible for causing an accident must pay for resulting damages. To drive legally, Oklahoma motorists must carry:
Bodily injury liability – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident. Covers injuries to others when you’re at fault.
Property damage liability – $25,000 per accident. Covers damage to others’ property when you’re at fault.
Uninsured motorist coverage – Same limits as your bodily injury liability unless rejected in writing. Covers your injuries caused by an uninsured driver.
Optional coverages like collision, comprehensive, rental reimbursement, and med pay can also factor into a claim.
Oklahoma uses “modified comparative negligence.” This means you can recover damages if you’re less than 50% at fault for the accident. Your payout will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you’re awarded $10,000 but were 30% at fault, your payout would be reduced to $7,000. If you are 50% or more at fault, you recover nothing.
Statute of Limitations
In Oklahoma, you normally have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. For wrongful death claims, the period starts on the date of death.
Lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations expires are usually dismissed.
The Auto Insurance Claim Process in Oklahoma
Follow these key steps after an accident:
Report the accident to your insurer promptly, even if it seems minor.
Cooperate fully with your claims adjuster by providing all relevant details, documents, photos, and video of the accident scene and damage.
Get a police report documenting the accident. This can help determine fault, especially if there are conflicting accounts of what happened.
Don’t admit fault or accept any settlement offer right away. Consult your adjuster first.
Get written estimates from reputable auto repair shops to give to your adjuster. You can choose any licensed shop.
Negotiate a fair settlement if the adjuster’s offer seems too low. Be ready to justify expenses.
Before accepting payment, review all documents and ensure you agree with the final settlement amount. Get any concerns addressed first.
Tips for Getting the Best Settlement
Follow these tips when settling an Oklahoma auto insurance claim:
Document everything. Take detailed notes during the process, including names/titles of insurance reps, dates, and claim-related conversations.
Understand coverages. Know what losses your policy covers before choosing repair shops, car rentals, etc. Review limits and deductibles too.
Keep repair and treatment receipts. Provide documentation for all accident-related expenses.
Act quickly. Delays can impact claim outcomes and increase scrutiny of your claim.
Negotiate politely. Adjusters respond better to courteous requests rather than demands or threats.
Consider an attorney. For severe or fatal accidents, hiring an attorney may get you a larger settlement.
Weigh settlement offers carefully. Don’t take the first offer. But also don’t reject a reasonable, well-documented amount.
Avoid insurance gaps. If your car is totaled, make sure there’s no lapse in coverage when you get a replacement vehicle.
Settling First vs. Third Party Claims
With a first party claim, you seek damages from your own insurer. For a third party claim, you seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Oklahoma law protects you from premium hikes and policy cancellation if you file a not-at-fault first party claim. But the at-fault driver’s insurer has no duty to provide a rental car or expedite claim payment.
An attorney can help negotiate third party injury claims.
FAQs About Oklahoma Auto Insurance Claims
Does the insurer have to use original manufacturer parts to repair my car? No. Insurers can use “like kind and quality parts” to restore your vehicle to pre-loss condition without betterment. You can pay the difference for OEM parts if desired.
Can I choose any repair shop? Yes. Insurers can’t require you to use a particular shop. But they may only guarantee work done at preferred shops.
What if I think the insurer’s repair estimate is too low? Get a written estimate from your chosen shop detailing all necessary repairs related to the accident. Provide this to your claims adjuster and request a supplemental payment.
How does the insurer calculate a total loss payout? Insurers owe actual cash value of the vehicle at the time of loss. This is determined by comparable sales, dealer quotes, or used car guidebooks. Modifications don’t necessarily increase ACV.
When must an insurer pay accident-related medical bills? Insurers aren’t required to pay medical bills as they’re incurred. For injury claims, they typically reimburse medical expenses as part of the final settlement.
Oklahoma requires liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. Collision, comprehensive and other coverages are optional.
Comparative negligence rules limit payouts if you are partially at fault for the accident.
Insurance claims must be filed promptly and accurately. Keep thorough documentation.
Be reasonable when negotiating claim settlements. Seek legal advice for more serious accidents.
First party claims won’t impact your premiums but third party claims have no guarantees.
Understand your policy, coverages and rights when filing any Oklahoma auto insurance claim.
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