In May 2006, House Bill 3115 was signed into law. Oklahoma joined the ranks of some 30 other States that have passed legislation that created some form of real-time,electronic insurance verification. The new law creates the ability for law enforcement to check the in-force status of an Oklahoma resident’s liability insurance policy, in real time, at the scene of an accident or traffic stop. This law became effective on January 1, 2009. The implementation was delayed due to the fact that the system was only about 60% accurate as of December 2008. In May 2009, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and five other law enforcement agencies went “live” with the the real-time insurance verification. It is expected that all law enforcement agencies will begin using the data-base as of July 1, 2009, in the State of Oklahoma.
So what does this mean for the drivers of Oklahoma? There are two groups of drivers. Those with valid liability insurance and those without. Gone are the days that someone can walk into an insurance agent’s office, buy a liability auto policy, obtain an insurance verification, not pay the next insurance premium due, or cancel the policy and still have a valid proof of liability insurance that shows coverage that is good for another five months. Law enforcement will be able to enter a tag number and get a report back on the car and the status of the insurance for that car. So, if a premium payment was forgotten, paid late enough for the insurance to lapse, or there wasn’t any liability insurance on the vehicle to begin with, The driver will be fined $211.50, their driver’s license and tag will be suspended, and the car will be subject to being impounded. The car will not be allowed to be moved until a licensed and insured driver can move the vehicle, if none is available, the car will be impounded which will require more money to get the car out of impound. You will also have to pay to reinstate your driving privilege’s at a cost of $300.00. This can only be done by showing proof of valid liability insurance which is the very thing that caused all this mess, expense, and headache to begin with!
Now for some good news for the drivers who maintain liability insurance on their personal auto’s. There is a benefit to you, from this new law. It is said that one in four drivers operating vehicles on the roads, streets, and highways of Oklahoma do not have any liability insurance on their vehicles. This number is verified by the Department of Public Safety. When the Department tested the electronic insurance verification data base, they knew that they had approximately 3.3 million personal autos that are registered with the State of Oklahoma. When they checked the number of personal autos with the data-base, the number of personal autos that showed up as having current, liability coverage was only about 2.6 million. This means that about 700,000 vehicles are driving on the road that do not have the required liability coverage in Oklahoma, today! The good news is that every one of the 30 States that have adopted some form of real-time,electronic insurance verification has seen a reduction of uninsured drivers. For every State that borders Oklahoma, the premium for uninsured motorist coverage is less and in some States, much less, then it is in Oklahoma.
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It can be assumed that the reason for this is that the number of accidents that involve an uninsured driver is higher in Oklahoma then it is in the other States. Which means the cost of claims that come from drivers without liability insurance is causing the insurance carriers, doing business in Oklahoma, to charge more to cover the cost of uninsured motorist claims. With more drivers having carrying insurance, there will be less uninsured drivers and the rates for uninsured motorist coverage should start to come down. This will mean a saving for all Oklahoma drivers on their car insurance premiums.
As this law gets fully implemented, in Oklahoma. Hopefully, we will see a lowering of insurance premiums, less financial and emotional hardships taking their toll on Oklahoma drivers. There will be challenges with the new law, but Oklahoma will be a safer State to live and drive in.
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