Why You Shouldn't Drive without Car Insurance in Oklahoma
You must carry vehicle liability insurance to drive or own a car in Oklahoma.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Oklahoma include loss of your driver’s license, fines, jail time, towing of your vehicle, and seizure of your license plate.
Liability Insurance Requirements
Every person who owns a motor vehicle registered in Oklahoma, and every person who operates a motor vehicle registered in Oklahoma, must maintain a vehicle liability insurance policy. Your insurance policy must have:
A policy limit of at least $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in one accident;
A policy limit of at least $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more persons in one accident;
A policy limit of at least $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in one accident.
Click here to see the state law on policy limits.
The “policy limit” is the amount that the insurance company will pay for an occurrence arising out of an accident. That is, your insurance policy must state that your insurer will pay at least $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in one accident, and so forth.
If you are not a resident of Oklahoma, and your vehicle is not registered in Oklahoma, you still may not operate a motor vehicle in Oklahoma without complying with the Oklahoma compulsory insurance law. You may comply with the insurance law by:
Providing proof of insurance that is in compliance with the state in which the vehicle is registered, if that state requires liability insurance, or
Filing, with DPS, a certificate of an insurance company authorized to transact insurance in the state where the vehicle is registered, if that state requires liability insurance.
You must carry verification of your insurance policy in your vehicle at all times. If any law enforcement officer or Department of Public Safety (DPS) employee asks to see your insurance verification, you must show them your verification. If you are in an accident, you must show your insurance verification to any person who is “affected by the accident” and who requests to see your verification.
Oklahoma also has an online insurance verification system. This system can verify whether a particular vehicle is properly insured under Oklahoma law. Only authorized personnel of DPS, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, district attorneys, the courts, law enforcement personnel, and other entities authorized by the Insurance Department may access the system. If a law enforcement officer stops you, the officer must access the system, and check whether your insurance is current. If the system does not show that you have valid liability insurance, the office may give you a ticket.
In addition, Oklahoma has the Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Program. Through this program, law enforcement agencies may use cameras that can read license plates. By using these cameras, along with the online insurance verification system, law enforcement agencies can detect whether a vehicle is being operated without insurance. The state may use data obtained through the Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Program, to prosecute violations of the compulsory insurance law.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Oklahoma
If you drive without insurance, or own a vehicle without insurance, in Oklahoma, you can face the following penalties:
The state will suspend your driver’s license until you have obtained insurance. In order to have your driver’s license reinstated, you will have to obtain insurance, send insurance verification to DPS, and pay a reinstatement fee.
You may have to pay a fine of up to $250.00
You may go to jail for up to thirty days
The state can seize your license plate. To get your license plate back, you will have to obtain insurance, provide insurance verification to the law enforcement agency holding your license plate, and pay a $125.00 administrative fee. (If, within the second business day after you receive the citation, you can show that you had liability insurance at the time of the alleged offense, you do not have to pay the administrative fee.)
Your vehicle may be towed
If you can prove that you had liability insurance at the time of the alleged offense, the state must dismiss the charges against you. If you provide proof of insurance at least one business day before your first scheduled court appearance date, you will not have to pay any court costs.
To see the statute that defines the penalties for owning or operating a motor vehicle without insurance in Oklahoma, click here.
The Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion Program
In 2016, Oklahoma created the “Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion Program.” This program allows you to avoid some of the penalties for driving without insurance. The program works this way: If the district attorney chooses, he may “defer prosecution.” In deciding whether to defer prosecution, the district attorney is to consider the following:
Whether a deferred prosecution is in your best interest;
Whether there is adequate protection for the public, if the district attorney defers prosecution;
If you have had any other criminal complaints against you;
If you have any criminal complaints currently pending against you;
The strength and evidence of the criminal complaint against you for driving without insurance.
If the district attorney chooses to defer prosecution, he will first send you a letter. If the district attorney sends you a letter, and you do not respond, the district attorney may prosecute you. However, if you respond to the district attorney’s letter, you may enter into an agreement with the district attorney. The term of the agreement may last up to two years. During this term, you must agree to do the following:
Obtain current liability insurance
Comply with the state’s compulsory insurance law for the duration of the term of the agreement;
Not own or operate any vehicle in violation of the state’s compulsory insurance law for the term of the agreement;
Pay a fee to the district attorney’s office, or to the District Attorneys Council.
Don’t Drive without Insurance!
If you want to drive in Oklahoma, get an insurance policy. If you drive or own a motor vehicle without insurance, you could seriously harm others if you have an accident. You could cause serious hardship for yourself if you are prosecuted. Don’t drive without a valid insurance policy.