What you need to know before getting behind the wheel in Oklahoma
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Like most states, Oklahoma requires its 2.5 million drivers to carry auto insurance. Each year, car insurance costs Oklahomans an average of $888, which is 15 percent below the national average. If you don’t comply with Oklahoma’s auto insurance requirement, state authorities have the right to impound your vehicle. Read on to learn more about auto insurance in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma doesn’t require other types of coverage, like medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
In general, it’s a good idea to purchase coverage beyond the state minimum, and this is the case in Oklahoma. While it’s not mandated by state law, consider buying medical payments, UIM, collision, and comprehensive coverage. You’ll pay more in premiums, but you will save you money in the event of an accident, especially if you’re at fault.
|Type of coverage||Whose losses does it cover?||What does it cover?||The minimum limit we recommend||Deductible?|
|Bodily injury liability||Other party’s||Medical costs (injury or death)||$500,000||No|
|Property damage liability||Other party’s||Property damages||$500,000||No|
|Comprehensive||Yours||Vehicle damages from incidents other than collisions (e.g., weather, theft, vandalism)||Actual market value of your vehicle||Yes|
|Collision||Yours||Vehicle damages from collisions||Actual market value of your vehicle||Yes|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist||Yours||Property damages and medical costs if someone with insufficient or no insurance hits your car||$500,000||Yes|
|Medical payments||Yours||Medical costs (injury or death)||$5,000||No|
In 2020, Oklahomans spent an average of $888 on auto insurance. The average annual rate of liability coverage is $488, collision is $330, and comprehensive is $268.1
Factors like your ZIP code, age, vehicle, and coverages can significantly affect the cost of insurance. We’ve seen annual premiums dip as low as $249 and swing as high as $7,433. Purchasing only minimum coverage will lower your premiums, though you could end up paying more in the event of an accident.
Teen insurance tends to be priciest, with an especially high cost of insurance for 16-year-olds because of young drivers’ lack of driving history. To see your insurance options, all drivers in Oklahoma should get car insurance quotes from multiple providers.
Oklahoma requires drivers to carry proof of auto insurance.
|Penalty for driving without proof of insurance||Details|
|Jail time||30 days (maximum)|
|License suspension||Until you provide proof of insurance and pay the processing fee, up to $275 to reinstate license (separate from the fine)|
|Vehicle impoundment||The law enforcement officer issuing the citation may have your vehicle towed until you provide proof of insurance and pay fines and fees. Alternatively, instead of towing, the officer may seize your license plates and issue temporary plates. You have 10 days from the citation to provide proof of insurance, pay fines and fees, and retrieve your plates.2|
Oklahoma accepts both paper and electronic proof of insurance. Your insurer may provide digital proof of insurance on its mobile app, which you can also add to your smartphone wallet.
Oklahoma is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who causes the accident must pay for the other party’s property damage and medical treatments. (In no-fault states, each party pays for their own medical treatments). That’s why it’s wise to purchase medical payments coverage, even though it’s not required. Otherwise, you’re on the hook for paying these costs out of pocket.
Oklahoma has modified comparative negligence laws, with a 50 percent rule. In a lawsuit, the court determines the percent of fault each party holds for the accident. If you hold more than 50 percent of the fault, you cannot recover any damages in court.
If you hold 50 percent or less, you can recover damages, but your recovery will be reduced by the degree of fault. For example, if you hold 20 percent of the fault for an accident, you can recover 80 percent of your damages.3
UIM coverage helps to pay for damages if a driver hits you and they hold inadequate or no insurance at all. In Oklahoma, UIM insurance includes hit-and-runs.
The state does not require UIM coverage, but it’s a good idea to purchase it anyway. In Oklahoma, 13 percent of drivers are insured — over 338,000 individuals. This is 7 percent above the national average.4
UIM insurance is stackable, meaning you can combine your UIM coverage across multiple vehicles. When you stack UIM coverage, your limits multiply by the number of cars you have. For example, if you choose limits of $50,000 for an accident involving one person and $100,000 for accidents involving two or more people, and you have two cars, your limits will increase to $100,000/$200,000.
You can stack UIM coverage in Oklahoma, but only if your vehicles are on separate policies.
In Oklahoma, a DUI will stay on your record for 10 years. The state considers driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher an aggravated DUI. If a minor was in the car at the time of the DUI, the fines double.
Oklahoma allows 15 days for a DUI lawyer to request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety, which may save an offender’s license. Here are other DUI penalties based on your offense number:
|Offense number||1||2||3||4 and subsequent|
|Fine (not including $100 assessment fee)||$1,000 (maximum)||$2,500||$5,000||$5,000|
|License revocation||180 days (maximum)||1 year||3 years||3 years|
|Jail time||10 days to 1 year||1-5 years||1-10 years||1-20 years|
|Ignition interlock device||BAC under 0.15: Not required, but highly incentivized
BAC 0.15 and above: 18 months
|4 years following license revocation or until driving privileges are reinstated, whichever is longer||5 years following license revocation or until driving privileges are reinstated, whichever is longer||5 years following license revocation or until driving privileges are reinstated, whichever is longer|
|Restorative justice||Possible attendance at a victim impact panel program||Possible attendance at a victim impact panel program||Possible attendance at a victim impact panel program, 240 hours of community service||Possible attendance at a victim impact panel program, 480 hours of community service|
|Treatment/monitoring||Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment as the court requires||Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment as the court requires, possible residential inpatient treatment and electronic monitoring||Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment as the court requires, possible residential inpatient treatment and electronic monitoring||Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment as the court requires, possible residential inpatient treatment and electronic monitoring, supervision and period testing for at least 1 year5|
Oklahoma requires a driver and front seat passenger to buckle up. Enforcement is primary, meaning law enforcement can pull you over solely for being unbuckled. The fine for a seat belt violation is $20.
Additionally, Oklahoma requires a restraint system, like a car seat or booster, for children younger than 8.
|Age||Safety restraint type|
|0-2||Rear-facing car seat|
|2-4||Forward-facing car seat|
|4-8||Forward-facing car seat or child booster seat, unless the child is taller than 4’9”|
|8 and older (or taller than 4’9”)||Must wear a seat belt, strongly recommended for back seat6|
A violation of child restraint laws is separate from a seat belt violation and will result in a $50 fine, plus court fees.
The state recommends that children under 13 ride in the back seat and that children always wear seat belts, regardless of where they’re sitting. While seat belts are not required in the back seat, they save lives. The Governors Highway Safety Association examined 803 rear-seat fatalities that occurred in 2019 and found that wearing a seat belt could have prevented more than half of those deaths.7
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts your attention from the road, including the following:
In Oklahoma, texting and driving is punishable by a $100 fine. Enforcement is primary. The state also bans the use of handheld devices for teens with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses.
In Oklahoma, teens can start driving with a learner’s permit when they turn 15 ½. The fee to obtain a learner’s permit is $81.50. Teens must pass a written test and vision test, and provide the following documents:
Teens must learn to drive under supervision, according to the following laws and restrictions.
|License type||Learner’s permit||Intermediate license||Unrestricted license|
|Minimum age to obtain||15.5||16||16.5|
|Minimum amount of supervised driving||50 hours, 10 of which must be at night||None||None|
|Nighttime driving restrictions||10 p.m. to 5 a.m.||10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (except under supervision, or for activities related to work, church, or school)||None|
(licensed driver at least 21 years old must accompany teen driver at all times)
|No more than 1 passenger, except immediate family members||None|
|Minimum required holding period||6 months||6 months with driver education, 12 months without, or until age 18||None|
You have two years after an accident to file a property damage or personal injury claim. After that, an insurance provider doesn’t have to pay for the claim.
An auto insurance company can cancel a policy that has been in force for over 60 days only in the following circumstances:
In Oklahoma, insurance providers must notify you at least 10 days prior to the policy effective date before a midterm cancellation, regardless of whether you paid your premium.
Unlike cancellations, non-renewals mean that either you or your provider decided not to renew a policy once it expired. An insurance company must give notice before a non-renewal and explain why it’s dropping your policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a provider might not renew your policy for these reasons:
Insurance companies in Oklahoma must give you at least 20 days’ notice for a non-renewal.
Oklahoma allows for the self-insurance of a fleet of vehicles. To self-insure, you must own more than 25 vehicles and put up at least $100,000 in collateral.
The Oklahoma Department of Safety does not require any kind of annual inspection. This includes safety inspections, vehicle inspections, and smog checks.
An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility which verifies that you have motor vehicle liability insurance. In most states, you need to file an SR-22 after a license revocation or serious traffic violation, like a DUI. However, Oklahoma is one of six states that doesn’t require SR-22s.
Defensive driving courses teach motorists strategies for avoiding hazards and staying safe on the road. Some insurance providers offer discounts for drivers who take a defensive driving course.
In Oklahoma, completing an approved six-hour defensive driving course will remove two points from your driving record. The state allows for a points reduction once every two years. Courses are available in person and online.9
Because Oklahoma is a fault state, each party involved in an accident pays for damages based on their degree of fault. If a party doesn’t agree with the payout, they can file a lawsuit seeking uncompensated damages. There is no monetary or serious injury threshold for lawsuits, meaning a party can sue for any amount of losses.
Oklahoma has a damages cap, which limits recovery of non-economic losses (e.g., pain, distress, emotional suffering) in civil injury cases to $350,000. There is no limit for economic losses (e.g., medical bills, lost wages).
In Oklahoma, you must report an accident if it resulted in injury or property damage worth over $500, or if someone died. If the accident involved injury or death, you must report it immediately. For accidents resulting in property damage only, you have six months to report them to the police. Failure to report an accident in a timely manner can result in a license suspension.
Unfortunately, like nearly all states, Oklahoma allows insurance companies to discriminate based on credit score and gender when determining your insurance premiums. If you have a low credit score, it’s possible you’ll pay more for auto insurance. Additionally, men should expect to pay more than women for auto insurance.
A total loss means a vehicle cannot be safely repaired or the repairs will cost more than the state’s threshold. In Oklahoma, if repairs cost more than 60 percent of the vehicle’s actual market value, it’s a total loss.
For example, if your car’s actual market value is $10,000 and repairs will cost $6,000 or more, it will be declared a total loss. Your insurance provider will pay you the car’s market value unless you have new car replacement coverage.
When you move to Oklahoma or purchase a car there, you have 30 days to register your vehicle with the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC). If you fail to register your car, you’ll accrue a fine of $1 per day until you reach the maximum fine of $100. Here’s how to avoid that fine:
For additional information, refer to the following websites:
|List of tag agencies||https://wa1.dps.state.ok.us/dls/motor_license_agents.php|
Here’s how to reach Oklahoma’s Motor Vehicle Services (MVS), its version of the DMV:
|Office||201 W. Fifth St., Suite 400
Tulsa, OK 74103
|Hours||Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
|Online inquiry form||https://oklahoma.gov/tax/contact/motor-vehicle.html|
If you need to get a copy of your title, it’s usually faster to go through your local tag agent than the OTC.
|Contact method||Oklahoma Insurance Department|
|400 NE 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
The average cost of car repairs in Oklahoma is $378.89, which is 1 percent lower than the national average. The average cost of labor is $158.57, and the average cost of parts is $220.32.
In 2020, there were 378 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 Oklahomans, a rate 35 percent higher than the national average and the eighth highest in the country. The following areas are hotspots for car theft, and residents may pay higher premiums as a result:
|Metropolitan statistical area||Number of motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|Oklahoma City, OK||362|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||295|
In 2019, Oklahoma had a rate of 640 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, which is 11 percent lower than the national average.
You’re an expert on driving in Oklahoma. For your other destinations, check out our state driving guide to learn about DUIs, tickets, car accidents, and more.
State Farm and GEICO tend to offer cheap car insurance rates in Oklahoma. If you or a family member is a military member or veteran, USAA also offers cheap options.
On average, Oklahomans spend $74 per month on auto insurance, or about $888 a year.
Oklahoma does not offer low-income car insurance. Only three states — California, New Jersey, and Hawaii — provide government-sponsored insurance programs to help low-income people afford auto insurance.
In most cases, it is illegal to live in Oklahoma and hold auto insurance from another state. When you move to Oklahoma, you have 30 days to switch your insurance and register your vehicle. If you intentionally keep your car registered in a state where you no longer live, you’re committing insurance fraud.
In the event of an accident, your insurer may refuse to pay for the claim, leaving you on the hook for thousands of dollars. Additionally, you can face the same penalties as driving without insurance at all, which include a $250 fine, a separate $275 processing fee, 30 days imprisonment, and license suspension and vehicle impoundment until you provide proof of proper coverage.
There are some exceptions to the in-state insurance requirement. If you are a college student from another state who is studying in Oklahoma, you can usually keep your auto insurance from your home state. Military members can keep their vehicles insured in the state of their legal residence, even if they are stationed in another state for long periods of time. Individuals who own multiple homes and split their time between them should register their vehicles in the state where they spend the most time.
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. Consumer Federation of America. (2014).
CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE/COMPARATIVE FAULT LAWS IN ALL 5O STATES. MATTHIESEN, WICKERT & LEHRER, S.C. (2022).
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. The Institutes. (2022).
2014 Oklahoma Statutes. Justia. (2014).
Laws. Oklahoma Highway Safety. (2022).
Rear Seat Belt Use: Little Change in Four Years, Much More to Do. Governors Highway Safety Association. (2019).
What’s the difference between auto policy cancellation and nonrenewal?. Insurance Information Institute. (2022).
Point System. Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. (2022).