About Oklahoma Insurance Laws, Health Insurance and Regulations…
Over its many years as a state and a place of business for the U.S. insurance industry, Oklahoma has been victim to a large number of natural disasters, insurance reforms, and the introduction of regulations that have been criticized by insurers operating within the state. The Oklahoma Insurance Department is largely responsible for these regulations, which it enacts for the benefit of consumers. Though many regulations are designed to protect consumers from malicious business practices, these regulations are also meant to allow insurance companies to behave like the businesses they are.
According to the regulations established by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, all drivers in the state are required to insure the vehicles they operates, rented or otherwise. Regulations are in place to allow insurance companies to provide a wide range of coverage options to drivers, but all policies are also required to meet or exceed minimum levels of coverage. The minimum level of coverage a driver can carry in the state accounts for $25,000 for injury or death of one person; $50,000 for injury or death of two or more people; and $25,000 for property damage. Drivers are not required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
The cost of auto insurance in Oklahoma varies depending on the vehicle being insured and a driver’s history, but the state average for coverage is $2,197 per year, according to the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department does not require homeowners to purchase or maintain property insurance coverage. The agency does caution that lack of insurance protection could mean major financial losses for property owners. The state’s proximity to the coast puts it at risk of falling victim to hurricanes and tropical storms. Floods and strong winds can cause significant damage to a home, which insurance companies are not required to cover unless homeowners have policies that account for this damage specifically.
Per the Affordable Care Act, Oklahoma must host a working health insurance exchange. The state does have the opportunity to opt out of building a program itself, however, leaving this task to the federal government instead. Approximately 16% of the state’s population currently does not have health insurance coverage. A health insurance exchange is expected to bring insurance coverage to these people, who largely forgo coverage due to the expensive nature of policies. State officials have not yet determined whether Oklahoma or the federal government will govern a health insurance exchange in the state.
If Oklahoma does decide to build and operate its own exchange program, the Oklahoma Insurance Department will be tasked with establishing regulations that would govern the program and ensure that the insurance companies participating therein provide fair service to consumers.
Oklahoma Insurance Resources:
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner: John D. Doak
Oklahoma Department of Insurance Website: http://www.ok.gov/oid/
Oklahoma Insurance Licensing Info: http://www.ok.gov/oid/Licensing_and_Education/index.html
File Insurance Complaint: http://www.ok.gov/oid/Consumers/Consumer_Assistance/File_a_Complaint.html