Oklahoma Auto Coverage: Need vs Want

You are driving down the road and a dog runs out in front of you. Your first instinct is to swerve to avoid hitting the cute little puppy. So, you swerve – right into a semi-truck hauling a mobile home. The mobile home overturns and the home is completely destroyed. It takes out a couple of mailboxes and a couple more cars. Four people are injured and need medical attention.

Let’s see what kind of damage we have done:

Mobile Home – $50,000
Mailboxes – $200
Mutilated Vehicles – $35,000
Medical Expenses – $100,000
Having Enough Oklahoma Auto Liability Coverage – PRICELESS

The biggest question you should consider when shopping for auto insurance is, “When this happens to you, how much of the damages do you want your insurance to pay for?” I have only ever heard one answer – “I want my insurance to pay for all of it!”

Guess what? If you are carrying Oklahoma’s state required minimum auto insurance coverage, your insurance company is only going to pay for $50,000 of the medical expenses and $25,000 for property damage. You will personally owe an additional $60,200 to cover what insurance did not pay to replace the mobile home, mailboxes, and damaged vehicles. And you owe another $50,000 for the medical expenses that were not covered. So, you now need to write a check for a grand total of $110,200.

If you have the money in your savings account, it is no problem. Of course, your child may not be able to go to college or you may not be able to buy the lake house you have been saving for. If you own a home or business or other assets, the lawyers will be glad to put a lien on your home or take your motorcycles and boats. Of course, you could always sell your business to cover the expenses, but then you have no way to support your family. If you do not own anything, the lawyers will go to court to get a judge to agree to garnish your check until the damages are paid for – which should only take about 50 years.

Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if you had an Oklahoma risk manager who explained the coverage in detail so that you knew what was at stake and understood the importance of purchasing the higher coverage limits (sometimes only costing as little as $5 or $10 a month for all the vehicles on the policy!). You need more than an insurance agent trying to make a fast buck off of you – you need a personal risk manager who will spend time to understand the risks you personally need to cover. Contrary to popular opinion, insurance is not a “one size fits all!”

Oh, and my last word of advice? Never swerve to miss hitting animals. No matter how cute and cuddly Fido may be and how sad it is to injure an animal – if you hit an animal, the claim is considered a comprehensive claim on your Oklahoma auto insurance policy. If you dodge the animal and hit other vehicles or trees or run in a ditch, etc., the claim is considered an at fault accident and will cost you a lot more than a comprehensive claim.

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