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Crime/Courts

December 5, 2013

State chooses insurance for offenders

NORMAN — The state of Oklahoma has chosen Red Rock Insurance Company, an Oklahoma-based business, to provide liability coverage for offenders whose license plates were seized for failure to carry state-mandated auto insurance.

House Bill 1792 allows law enforcement to seize the license plates from uninsured vehicles and provide insurance coverage for the vehicle for up to 10 working days.

Once ticketed, the offender must pay for the cost of the temporary insurance, along with other required fees and fines, and purchase his or her own insurance before reclaiming the tag.

The Oklahoma Temporary Motorist Liability Policy provides coverage for bodily injury, death and property damage caused by a driver whose license plate was seized. The limits provided under this policy are the same as the minimum coverage required by law.

It is $25,000 for each person, subject to $50,000 maximum for each accident, with respect to bodily injury. The offender will be charged a temporary insurance rate of $10 per 24-hour period, with a minimum rate of $50, from the time a citation was issued until:

· The vehicle owner has obtained the state minimum mandatory insurance from an insurance carrier.

· The vehicle owner has obtained documentation from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety showing that he or she is able to pay for losses.

· The vehicle owner retrieves the license plate from the sheriff’s office.

Coverage only applies in Oklahoma. Coverage does not become effective if the vehicle is not in a driveable condition at the time of the citation and seizure of the license plate.

Even though the bill is currently in effect, the insurance portion of the law doesn’t begin until Jan. 1. Any driver whose license plate is seized by law enforcement before Jan. 1 will not be covered under the Oklahoma Temporary Motorist Liability Plan.

HB 1792 was modeled after a similar measure in Louisiana. The uninsured motorist rate dropped from 30 percent to 13 percent after the law was implemented there.

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