When you are involved or injured in a motor vehicle accident, one of the primary ways to recover compensation for your damages is by filing a claim with the insurance company. However, before you move forward with the claims process, you must understand how insurance claims work in Oklahoma.
This way, you can avoid being taken advantage of and fight for total restitution. When you have questions or are hoping to get a legal advocate on your side as you negotiate with the insurance company, contact an experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer at BDIW Law for help.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Oklahoma
According to Oklahoma auto insurance laws, every motorist is required to have auto insurance coverage on their registered vehicles. There are minimum amounts and types of coverage that are required as well. These include:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability protection coverage
- $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability protection coverage
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability protection coverage
While these are the bare minimum amount of coverage required under the law, it is essential to remember that purchasing higher limits can protect you in the event of an accident. If you only have the minimum amount of coverage and are found liable for causing the accident, you will likely have to pay a considerable amount of money out of your own pocket.
For that reason, it is generally recommended by insurance companies for drivers to increase the amount of coverage they purchase. To ensure optimal protection, you might want to consider increasing your coverage amounts as follows:
- Increase your bodily injury liability protection coverage from $25,000 per person to $100,000 per person
- Increase your bodily injury liability protection coverage from $50,000 per accident to $300,000 per accident
- Increase your property damage liability protection coverage from $25,000 per accident to $100,000 per accident
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What Is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?
Bodily injury liability coverage is designed to cover an injury victim’s medical expenses after a collision. The auto insurance company must cover the victim’s healthcare costs, but only up to the policyholder’s limits.
For example, if the injury victim incurred $100,000 in medical expenses, but the liable party only purchased the minimum of $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability protection coverage, the insurance company would only have to pay out of the $50,000. This means the injury victim could have up to $50,000 in excess medical costs.
What Is Property Damage Liability Coverage?
Property damage liability coverage is designed to cover the costs of vehicle repairs and personal property damages. However, the insurer is again only required to pay out up to the policy’s limits.
If the policyholder only purchased $25,000 in property damage liability coverage, but your vehicle has been totaled, it may be challenging to determine how much the insurance company is obligated to compensate you. For this reason, you may need to have your car accident attorney negotiate with the insurer on your behalf so you are not taken advantage of during this challenging time in your life.
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Other Auto Insurance Policy Terms to Know
There are several other auto insurance policy terms you should be aware of as you go into the insurance claims process. Some of the most notable include:
- Collision – This is an optional type of insurance coverage that protects your vehicle from collision-related damages, including hitting a stationary object, such as a telephone pole or street lamp.
- Comprehensive – This optional type of insurance coverage will protect your vehicle from weather damage, damage caused by wildlife, theft, and other non-collision damage.
- Roadside assistance – if your vehicle breaks down for whatever reason, roadside assistance can come out and fix minor damages, offer towing services, and even jump your battery.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage – Even though Oklahoma requires all motorists to carry auto insurance coverage, when they do not, underinsured or uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage will cover your medical expenses if you are involved in a collision with an under or uninsured driver.
- Gap coverage – If you are financing a vehicle and your car is totaled, gap insurance will cover the difference between the vehicle’s depreciation and the actual cash value of the vehicle. That way, you do not have an outstanding balance if your vehicle is unrepairable.
- Rental car reimbursement – Rental car reimbursement coverage covers the cost of a rental car until your vehicle is fixed.
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When Your Oklahoma Insurance Policy Pays After an Accident
Generally, since Oklahoma follows a fault-based insurance system, injury victims file claims with the liable party’s insurance company. This means your insurance policy should only pay out on a claim if you purchased no-fault protection or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or if you are responsible for causing the accident.
Be Cautious of These Common Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies lose money by paying out on claims. For this reason, you must be careful as you negotiate with insurance adjusters. Some of the most common ways insurance companies take advantage of claimants include:
- Delaying the processing of their claims
- Making insultingly low settlement offers
- Misrepresenting the policy terms or limits
- Making fast offers to trick claimants into settling for less than they deserve
What Happens if Your Insurance Settlement Is Not Enough?
It is not unusual for insurance settlements to lack sufficient coverage. When this happens, as long as the insurance company has upheld its obligation, you can do little to recover more from the insurer.
However, you do have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against the liable party. This allows you to recover damages you might not have been able to through an insurance claim alone, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Reduced earning potential
- Future medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Skin scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Oklahoma for Help Today
Dealing with the insurance company can be one of the most challenging elements of the car accident claims process. However, you must take action to protect yourself from being taken advantage of to get the most out of your claim.
Get help holding the insurance company accountable. Contact an experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer at BDIW Law for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. Schedule yours as soon as today when you fill out our quick contact form or call our office.
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