In Oklahoma, drivers are required by law to stop and share insurance details after an accident. Despite this, hit-and-run incidents are still prevalent. It’s essential for motorists in the state to be aware of the appropriate steps to take if involved in a hit-and-run. This knowledge is not only crucial for handling the situation calmly but also for understanding how such incidents might impact car insurance premiums. Familiarity with the Oklahoma hit-and-run statute, including whether a hit-and-run is considered a felony in Oklahoma, is invaluable in preparing for these unfortunate events.
Hit-and-runs in Oklahoma
A hit-and-run in Oklahoma is defined as an incident where the driver of a vehicle inflicts damage or injury on another vehicle or person and fails to stop and provide their personal and insurance information. Drivers are also required to provide medical aid if possible and call emergency services if there are injuries.
In the United States, hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon. In 2015, there were an estimated 737,100 hit-and-runs. Between 2006 and 2016, the Sooner State recorded 214 hit-and-runs that involved at least one fatality.
Oklahoma hit-and-run laws
In Oklahoma, a state governed by at-fault or tort laws, responsibility for accidents falls on the driver at fault. This means they are liable for the repair costs and medical expenses of the other party involved in the accident. Furthermore, in cases of a hit-and-run in Oklahoma, the at-fault driver may be subject to various criminal penalties. The severity of these consequences can vary depending on the specifics of the incident.
If identified and apprehended, the driver responsible for the hit-and-run could potentially face penalties including fines, license suspension and even jail time, in addition to being financially accountable for the damage they caused. This approach aligns with the Oklahoma hit-and-run statute, which aims to deter such incidents and hold accountable those who flee the scene.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, average car insurance rates are subject to change following an at-fault accident, including hit-and-run incidents. For a full coverage policy, the average insurance rate in Oklahoma is around $1,998 annually. However, drivers who have been involved in an at-fault accident typically see their rates increase to approximately $2,703 per year.
While specific data for hit-and-run cases is not available, it is reasonable to assume that if a driver is convicted of a hit-and-run in Oklahoma, their insurance premiums could rise even more significantly than after a standard at-fault accident. This potential increase is due to the increased risk profile associated with hit-and-run incidents and other charges the driver may have incurred.
3 things to do after a hit-and-run in Oklahoma
If you get hit by a driver and they do not stop, it’s easy to be stressed. Knowing what to do ahead of time could help you better handle the situation. First, make sure that you, your passengers and any other parties involved are not harmed. If anyone needs medical attention, call emergency services immediately. Then, experts recommend following these steps:
- Notify the police: If you’re able to safely move out of the flow of traffic, do so. Then, once you are in a safe place, call the police. Even if the damage is minor, law enforcement might still investigate the crash and try to find the driver responsible. An officer will likely ask you to recall any information you can about the vehicle and the driver that hit you, and they may also submit an official report.
- Record the damage: If you can, take photos of the damage, which could be helpful to your insurance company if you file a claim. Write down everything you remember about the incident, as your recall may diminish with time. Where and when the accident took place, how it occurred and details about the other driver and their car may be helpful.
- Call your insurance provider: The last call should be to your insurance company if you want to file a claim. An agent will help you start the claim process and let you know what information is needed. If your insurance company offers a mobile app or online portal, you may be able to file the claim from your phone or computer rather than calling.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
While there isn’t a specific coverage labeled as “hit-and-run insurance,” certain types of car insurance can offer financial protection in the aftermath of such an incident in Oklahoma. Here’s how different types of coverage can assist:
- Collision insurance: Helps cover repair costs for your vehicle, regardless of fault. This is part of a full coverage policy and typically comes with a deductible.
- Medical payments coverage: This type of coverage can contribute to your medical expenses resulting from a hit-and-run.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: Alternatively, this type of coverage may help cover medical bills if the at-fault driver is uninsured or not located. However, proving the uninsured status of the fleeing driver might be necessary — and not possible.
It’s important to note that a minimum coverage policy in Oklahoma does not offer financial protection for vehicle damage or personal injuries resulting from a hit-and-run. Minimum policies are instead focused on covering the costs you might be liable for in accidents where you are at fault. Understanding the scope of each coverage type can help you be better prepared for a hit-and-run in Oklahoma. Experts recommend speaking with an insurance professional to identify potential gaps in your current coverage.
Frequently asked questions
The best car insurance company depends on what you are looking for in a provider. For example, if you want great customer service, you might choose a different insurance carrier than someone looking for the cheapest policy. Shopping around and getting multiple quotes can be helpful before choosing a provider.
The average cost of car insurance in Oklahoma for full coverage is approximately $1,998 annually, while minimum coverage is $406. When compared to the national averages, Oklahoma’s full coverage rates are slightly lower, with the average across the United States being around $2,014 per year. However, for minimum coverage, Oklahoma’s average is significantly lower than the national average, which is approximately $622 per year.